With just 10 rounds remaining, we are dashing headlong into the business end of Major League Soccer’s 2013 season. So it’s time to begin seriously tracking the league’s awards.
Here is our current view of how the league’s Most Valuable Player race is shaping up:
1. Mike Magee:
His chances depend heavily on Chicago making the playoffs, of course, but there is precedent afoot. In 2011 Dwayne De Rosario captured the league’s top individual honor when his side did not make the playoffs. He was the only one among 17 MVP winners, but we know that it can happen.
Magee is currently the league’s co-leading scorer with 14 goals. More than that, his arrival into Toyota Park in a May trade from Los Angeles is proving the saving grace for Chicago’s 2013 season, one that was circling the drain before the veteran forward’s arrival.
Upon his arrival the Fire was 2-7-2, scraping the bottom along with D.C. Untied and Toronto. Magee has been nothing short of the difference between Chicago now being a team now in the thick of the playoff race and being, well, D.C. United or Toronto, neither of which is any threat to make the playoffs.
Chicago is 7-2-2 since his arrival, a remarkable turnabout. Magee has 8 goals and 2 assists in 10 MLS matches. (He was prolific in guiding the Fire into a U.S. Open Cup semifinal, too.) Overall, Magee’s 14 goals this year is easily a career-high.
2. Robbie Keane:
The Galaxy’s Irish international had a stronger case a few weeks ago, but injuries and international absences have limited his summer impact. Plus, the Galaxy wheels are all over the road right now, inconsistent and uncharacteristically unstable in the back.
There’s still plenty of time for Keane to make a big MVP push; it was about this time last year that he kicked things up a notch, absolutely carrying the Galaxy offense into the 2012 playoffs and, eventually, to a second MLS title.
He has contributed directly to 16 Galaxy goals (7 goals, 9 assists).
Also in the running: Vancouver’s Camilo, Montreal’s Marco Di Vaio, Portland’s Will Johnson, Real Salt Lake’s Kyle Beckerman.
(MORE: Tracking MLS Rookie of the Year; it’s all about the Colorado Rapids!)