Chris Armas has every right to shout and be angry about the MLS coach of the year award, but he won’t be. (USAToday Sports)
By Michael Lewis
It happens every year in November.
The candidates I support don’t get enough votes to win a crucial race.
I get disappointed and frustrated.
I just don’t know what the rest of the voters are thinking, whether they are uniformed, stupid, ignorant or just don’t want to learn.
Oh, wait a minute. You thought I was talking about Tuesday’s election.
Outside of supporting something in sports or soccer, I try to stay away from political football. Instead, I am more concerned about political futbol, American style.
Today, that would be about the annual MLS awards, which sometimes hit the mark and other times just confound me.
Where do I start?
Hmmm, let’s try at the top of the ticket.
Please, Please can someone tell me why Bradley Wright-Phillips isn’t an MVP finalist? I keep hearing from here to eternity that he is underrated the most underrated player in the league. This election just rubber stamps it.
What does he have to do? Score 20 or more goals for the third time? Or perhaps become the first player to finish with at least 15 goals for five consecutive seasons?
Oh never mind. He accomplished both feats this year.
BTW, the five finalists are Atlanta United’s Miguel Almiron and Josef Martinez, D.C. United’s Wayne Rooney, Los Angeles Football Club’s Carlos Vela and the LA Galaxy’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
It is interesting to point out that while Ibra certainly gave his new team a boost, the Galaxy finished out of the playoffs. LA could have finished out of the postseason without him. As talented a player that Ibrahimovic is, he certainly deserves all the plaudits, but not in this case. He might have been valuable to his team, but most valuable in the league? Perhaps in publicity and videos going viral will help publicizing the league, but for this category, I care for what transpires on the field.
Sometimes these awards seem like a popularity contest.
Hey, don’t go away. I am not quite finished.
And how is Chris Armas not among the top candidates for the coach of the year? Yes, I know he inherited a very good team from a departed coach, Jesse Marsch, who left in June to become an assistant coach for RBA Leipzig. The Red Bulls nary missed a beat with Armas in charge and squeaked last Atlanta to capture the Supporters Shield on the final day of the regular season.
Yet, Tata Martino of Atlanta is a finalist (and rightfully so). And so are LAFC’s Bob Bradley and Sporting Kansas City’s Peter Vermes. That trio deserves to be in the spotlight, but so does Armas.
And then there was the comeback player of the year award. I don’t have any problems with the concept of the award but I have major problems with one of the finalists.
He wasn’t in the league last year. True, he came back from a tough injury, which was suffered while playing for another team (Manchester United) in another league (England Premier League).
Did the league need an award for Ibra? Doesn’t sound very kosher to me.
Now, the actual winner, Columbus Crew SC forward Gyasi Zardes, came back from injuries and a two-goal season to finish with an impressive 19 goals.
I realize these are just awards and won’t affect bigger issues to us, such as health care and national security, but to yours truly it has to affect the integrity of the league.
Perhaps it is time for MLS to look at itself in the mirror concerning some of these awards- to make sure the league has integrity even for its end of the season awards.