MVP: It's David Ferreira (Edson Buddle finishes second)
TORONTO -- No surprise when David Ferreira popped out to pick up Major League Soccer's MVP trophy Friday afternoon at BMO Field. The FC Dallas playmaker was the clear frontrunner for the honor -- he got my vote -- and, also, Commissioner Don Garber inadvertently gave it away on his state-of-the-league teleconference the other day.
Ferreira, who scored the first goal in the Hoops' 3-0 romp over the Galaxy in last weekend's Western Conference final, received 20 percent of the vote among MLS players, coaches, GMs and media.
The Galaxy's Edson Buddle finished second, with 18.3 percent, and Landon Donovan was fourth, with 11.9 percent. San Jose's Chris Wondolowski (14.6) was third and Philadelphia's Sebastien Le Toux (8.9) was fifth. Strong arguments could be made for all five.
Ferreira, a 31-year-old Colombian who stands just 5-foot-5, 152 pounds, was most deserving because of the skill, vision and inspiration and exceeding class he provided to FC Dallas, which Sunday will become the last of the surviving original clubs to reach the MLS Cup final, taking on the Colorado Rapids (ESPN and Galavision, 5:30 p.m. PT).
“What he brings is a really true professionalism,” Hoops head coach Schellas Hyndman said. “Every team he's been involved with has found a way to find success. … He's a very quick thinker. I think he thinks ahead of the game. And even though he's 5-foot-5, he's a solid 5-foot-5. Thats why they call him the 'Little Bull.' He's hard to knock off the ball, and he's got a quick couple steps on you, so he'll get in front of you. He plays with a lot of courage as well. ...
“The one area that surpasses everything in a professional athlete is character. And talent can only take you so far; character can kp you there. And he exemplifies that.”
Ferreira has benefited from free reign on the field -- he's positioned between the midfield and the lone striker in a 4-1-3-1-1 formation -- that has given Dallas the full force of his abilities. He might be the best passer in MLS, and his ability to drift into unexpected areas and connect the speedy attackers surrounding him transformed the Hoops from a good MLS club into a great one.
“I don't think you replace a player like David Ferreira,” Hyndman said when asked whether Dallas could have made it to Toronto without him. “If I'm playing against FC Dallas, then that's what I'm going to key in on. … With our team the way it is today, I don't think we have an answer or a replacement for him.”
KEEPING FERREIRA HOME: Ferreira, who has made 35 appearances for Colombia's national team -- he was part of the winning 2001 Copa America side -- joined FC Dallas on loan from Brazil Atletico Paranaense last year, and the club has two more annual options in the loan deal. Hyndman said the Hoops are in talks to purchase Ferreira's rights, then sign him to a long-term contract -- one probably worth something close to Designated Player territory.
“I want to stay,” Ferreira said. “I'm very happy in Dallas. They've treated me very well. And I'd like to be there.”
FOLLOWING FOOTSTEPS: Ferreira's favorite player growing up was Carlos “El Pibe” Valderrama, the great Colombian playmaker who was MLS's first MVP -- in 1996 for the Tampa Bay Mutiny.
Ferreira is the ninth player from Latin America to win MLS honor and the fourth in the past five seasons.
A list of MLS MVPs:
1996 -- Carlos Valderrama (Tampa Bay Mutiny), Colombia
1997 -- Preki (Kansas City Wizards), U.S./Yugoslavia
1998 -- Marco Etcheverry (D.C. United), Bolivia
1999 -- Jason Kreis (Dallas Burn), U.S.
2000 -- Tony Meola (Kansas City Wizards), U.S.
2001 -- Alex Pineda Chacon (Miami Fusion), Honduras
2002 -- Carlos Ruiz (L.A. Galaxy), Guatemala
2003 -- Preki (Kansas City Wizards), U.S./Yugoslavia
2004 -- Amado Guevara (MetroStars), Honduras
2005 -- Taylor Twellman (New England Revolution), U.S.
2006 -- Christian Gomez (D.C. United), Argentina
2007 -- Luciano Emilio (D.C. United), Brazil
2008 -- Guillermo Barros Schelotto (Columbus Crew), Argentina
2009 -- Landon Donovan (L.A. Galaxy), U.S.
2010 -- David Ferreira (FC Dallas), Colombia)
ONE MORE AWARD: Garber will announce his Commissioner's Award at a banquet Friday night, but all the other honors have been announced. Here's a rundown:
MVP: David Ferreira (FC Dallas)
Coach of the Year: Schellas Hyndman (FC Dallas)
Rookie of the Year: Andy Najar (D.C. United)
Newcomer of the Year: Alvaro Saborio (Real Salt Lake)
Goalkeeper of the Year: Donovan Ricketts (L.A. Galaxy)
Defender of the Year: Jamison Olave (Real Salt Lake)
Comeback Player of the Year: Bobby Convey (San Jose Earthquakes)
Golden Boot: Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
Humanitarian of the Year: Seth Stammler (New York Red Bulls)
Goal of the Year: Marco Pappa (Chicago Fire), April 10 vs. San Jose
Save of the Year: Kasey Keller (Seattle Sounders), April 17 vs. Chance Myers (Kansas City Wizards)
Fair Play Award: Sebastien Le Toux (Philadelphia Union)
Fair Play Team Award: San Jose Earthquakes
Referee of the Year: Kevin Stott
Assistant Referee of the Year: Craig Lowry
G -- Donovan Ricketts (L.A. Galaxy)
D -- Nat Borchers (Real Salt Lake)
D -- Omar Gonzalez (L.A. Galaxy)
D -- Jamison Olave (Real Salt Lake)
M -- Dwayne De Rosario (Toronto FC)
M -- Landon Donovan (L.A. Galaxy)
M -- David Ferreira (FC Dallas)
M -- Sebastien Le Toux (Philadelphia Union)
M -- Javier Morales (Real Salt Lake)
F -- Edson Buddle (L.A. Galaxy)
F -- Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)