Soccerstoriesbook's Blog


WHO WAS THE USA’S BEST PLAYER IN 2011?

Some 200 journalists from across the nation are submitting ballots to decide which U.S. National Team member will be the 2011 Futbol de Primera Player of the Year.

Sponsored by FDP, the exclusive radio broadcaster of the 2014 World Cup in the United States, the award–the most prestigious annual honor in American soccer–goes to the best player who appeared in at least three matches for the U.S. in the calendar year.  Those who qualified are Juan Agudelo, Jozy Altidore, Kyle Beckerman, Alejandro Bedoya, Carlos Bocanegra, Michael Bradley, Timmy Chandler, Steve Cherundolo, Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Maurice Edu, Clarence Goodson, Tim Howard,  Jermaine Jones, Sacha Kljestan, Eric Lichaj, Oguchi Onyewu, Michael Orozco Fiscal, Tim Ream, Robbie Rogers, Brek Shea, Jonathan Spector, Jose Torres and Chris Wondolowski.

First place selections receive three points, second place two points and third place one.

Past winners of the award, until recently known as the Honda Player of the Year:  Hugo Perez, 1991; Eric Wynalda, 1992; Thomas Dooley, 1993; Marcelo Balboa, 1994; Alexi Lalas, 1995; Wynalda, 1996; Eddie Pope, 1997; Cobi Jones, 1998; Kasey Keller, 1999; Claudio Reyna, 2000; Earnie Stewart, 2001; Landon Donovan, 2002; Donovan, 2003; Donovan, 2004; Keller, 2005; Clint Dempsey, 2006; Donovan, 2007; Donovan, 2008; Donovan, 2009; Donovan, 2010.  [October 21]

Comment:  Who would you vote for?  Let us know.

Last year’s vote from here got it wrong.  Donovan won, with Bradley the runner-up and Dempsey the third-place finisher.  Our ballot went to Donovan, Bradley and Cherundolo.  So we need your help before our ballot is submitted in the middle of next week.

Give us a post and list your three top choices, in order.  And feel free to do some lobbying if you so choose.  Bear in mind that the award is for a player’s body of work for the year, so take into account a candidate’s performance for his club as well as his contributions to the U.S. team.

Update:  Dempsey won the award for the second time after being named first choice on nearly half of the ballots submitted by the 202 U.S. journalists who took part.  Howard was second and seven-time winner Donovan was third.  [November 2]

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U.S. 1, ARGENTINA 1

Eighteen-year-old substitute Juan Agudelo scored from close range off a goalmouth scramble in the 59th minute and the U.S. National Team came back to tie Argentina, 1-1, in a friendly at the new Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, before a record sellout crowd of 78,936.

The Argentines, ranked No. 4 to the USA’s No. 19, thoroughly dominated the first half.  Held at bay by goalkeeper Tim Howard, who made a number of difficult saves, they finally broke through three minutes before halftime when veteran midfielder Esteban Cambiasso scored.  FIFA World Player of the Year Lionel Messi, a threat throughout the evening, weaved his way through the U.S. defense and pulled the ball back through the legs of U.S. defender Carlos Bocanegra for forward Angel Di Maria, whose shot from five yards was kick-saved by Howard, only for Cambiasso to run onto the loose ball and drill it home from seven.

The Americans managed to turn the tide, somewhat, in the second half, and nearly an hour into the game they got level.  Landon Donovan drove a free kick from the right to the head of Bocanegra, whose shot was fumbled by Argentine goalkeeper Mariano Andujar, and Agudelo, a New York Red Bulls rookie, was on the spot to squeeze a shot inside the left post from a yard out.  [March 26]

Comment:  The talk at the end of the game was about Agudelo and his second goal in three international appearances.  The Colombian-born kid has a way to go before he can be mentioned in the same breath with another very young opportunist, Javier Hernandez of Manchester United.  Chicharito has scored an amazing 14 goals in 21 appearances for Mexico since early 2010, including two in a 3-1 win over Paraguay the afternoon of the U.S.-Argentina match.

The talk should be centered on the USA’s starting defense of Jonathan Spector, Jay DeMerit, Oguchi Onyewu, Bocanegra and the newly added Jermaine Jones.   Turned inside out again and again, one has to wonder how this U.S. defense would fare against another top-level opponent, in a competitive match, away from home.