Tuesday, October 7, 2014

10 MVP Candidates

With the 2014 regular season winding down, let's take a look at 10 players who could make a case for the league MVP in no particular order:

1) Robbie Keane - Striker - LA Galaxy - Keane is third in the league in scoring, but the two players with more goals than he has have combined for 12 fewer assists. Keane has been a part of 33 goals in 28 games meaning he's accounted for half of LA's goals this season. More importantly, he has 5 game winning goals, and 6 game winning assists, meaning he's directly contributed to 11 of LA's 17 wins. Now 34, Keane is in the midst of his best season, and has the Galaxy on the brink of a Supporter's Shield.

2) Landon Donovan - Midfielder - LA Galaxy - Perhaps the sentimental favorite as Donovan enters the twilight of his professional career, Captain America is enjoying one of his most productive seasons. Donovan became the league's all-time leading scorer with 144 goals and distributor with 136 assists this year surpassing Jeff Cunningham and Steve Ralston respectively. His 19 assists are a career high and he's been at his best during LA's current 10-game unbeaten streak scoring 6 and assisting on 12 while LA is 8-0-2.

3) Obafemi Martins - Striker - Seattle Sounders - The Nigerian born striker leads Seattle in goals (17) and assists (10) as he has paired nicely with Clint Dempsey while propelling Seattle to a league-high 19 wins. Martins has been especially hot lately scoring 9 times in Seattle's last 8 games including four 2-goal games.

4) Clint Dempsey - Striker - Seattle Sounders - If we're going to mention Martins, we have to mention Dempsey as well as Deuce is right behind his striking partner with 14 goals and 9 assists despite missing time for the World Cup. Dempsey's numbers surpass anything he did in New England  in the early stages of his career and like Martin, he's been hot lately with 5 goals and 5 assists in his last eight games.

5) Jermaine Jones - Midfielder - New England Revs - This is going to be a bit of a reach since Jones has only been with New England for a short time, but when you consider what New England was playing like before his arrival (2-9-1 in their previous 12 games with their only wins coming against Chivas USA and Colorado) versus after his insertion into the lineup (6-1-0 with two wins over Sporting Kansas City and defeats of playoff contenders Toronto and Columbus), I feel he at least deserves a mention. Jones has 2 goals and 3 assists in his 7 appearances.

6) Jaime Penedo - Goalkeeper - LA Galaxy - No team has allowed fewer goals than the Galaxy this season and Penedo has played a large part in that with 8 shutouts and 12 other games where he's been scored on just once. If you take away a 3-game stretch in August where he was scored on 9 times, he's allowed just 18 goals in 23 games.

7) Bill Hamid - Goalkeeper - DC United - Hamid leads the league in save percentage and is tied for the league lead with 10 shutouts. Now in his 5th season with DC United, Hamid continues to get better and now has United on the verge of the Eastern Conference Title. He has 4 shutouts in his last 6 games.

8) Bradley Wright-Phillips - Striker - New York Red Bulls - New York has 49 goals on the season and BWP has almost half of them with 24. Wright-Phillips has 3 hat tricks (vs Houston, Chicago and Seattle), and scored 2 goals on 2 other occasions (vs Houston and Montreal). He can break the league's all-time single-season scoring record with 4 goals in his final three games. New York finishes the year with three straight at home taking on Toronto, Columbus and Montreal.

9) Dom Dwyer - Striker - Sporting Kansas City - Hardly a household name before this season, Dwyer broke out in a big way and is second behind Wright-Phillips with 20 goals helping keep Sporting afloat with the losses of Matt Besler and Graham Zusi during the World Cup. Dwyer is second in the league with 6 game-winning goals.

10) Lee Nguyen - Midfielder - New England Revolution - Nguyen leads MLS with 7 game-winning goals and has 6 goals and 2 assists in New England's last eight games. With 14 goals, Nguyen has set a club record for goals by a midfielder, and he has 5 assists to go along with those, good for second on the team behind Teal Bunbury's six. No other player on the Revs this season has more than five goals.

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