CARSON, CA - NOVEMBER 19: Could good ol' Dom win Coach of the Year? While this has absolutely nothing to do with the actual article, it's an interesting question to ponder as we look ahead to MLS 2012. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
You know, it's pretty hard sometimes to come up with ideas for articles. Especially when you have such a great writing team around you as we have here at DT.com. All the good ideas are always taken. In all seriousness, I have a huge amount of respect for all of the writers and readers of this blog, and am honored to provide yet another installment of Fusion's footy rants. No seriously, I love going on tangents in long drawn out sequences of writing. It's fun.
This time it's all about looking ahead to the season at-hand. There is a lot to discuss, even right now in the preseason leading up to MLS First Kick. So join me after the jump for some totally random guesses at how the Dynamo will fare, and how things could go. Also, as always, feel free to prove me wrong.
One of the things each preseason brings us as fans is a chance to take a shot in the dark at what could happen to our team in the months ahead. We get to peer into our personal crystal balls -- I happen to use a Magic 8 Ball (tm) if anyone is curious -- and try to put answers to the burning questions well before the questions are even truly asked. Without further ado, my thoughts on the upcoming season.
Well, so this one isn't really tough to call -- or is it? While last season proved Brad "MV" Davis should be the perennial MLS All-Star and Dynamo front-man for the Dreamsicles' Team MVP Award, it does not go without saying there are other players on this team who given an entire season with the club could make some serious waves. Moffatmania has already made a huge splash since his acquisition last season from Portland, but he has yet to really stake his claim as the permanent fixture at DM. After all, Luis Carmago became a huge piece of the puzzle, playing a quasi-CAM/DM/CM role and doing so with relative decency.
Even still, the real challenge to Davis' claim to the Team MVP this season will be our favorite USMNT hopeful, Geoff Cameron. If Cameron stays healthy, his contributions on defense cannot go unnoticed. Prior to his emergence as the team's primary CB going forward, the team struggled to find cohesion among the back line. We suffered agonizing defensive lapses both mentally and physically as teams ran roughshot at varying times in games, and Hall had to make either spectacular saves or bear the brunt of the backlash for poor defending. Where I think Cameron could really challenge Davis for Team MVP this year, however, is in runs going forward.
In most cases it's highly unusual for a CB to make runs forward on the attack, but Cameron's stealthy speed and decent moves off the ball can create nightmares for opposing defenses. His talent set can also put defenses on their heels as he provides yet another possible attacking option, freeing up Brad Davis for more crosses in the run of play. I think for this reason, we may be hard-pressed come the end of the season to select between Davis and Cameron for Team MVP, but I still, for this season at least, have to give the edge to Brad. He's just too damned good to give the nod to anyone else.
Now, this one is interesting. I feel Corey Ashe deserved this award without question last season. His play moving from MF to LB can't be understated. It was almost as paramount to the defensive improvements as was Cameron's move to CB. Even still, Ashe was solid at recovering from his mistakes, and I believe with another off-season under his belt practicing at LB, he could become a permanent force neutralizing offenses and their Left Wings and Left Mids. However, he won't be the one walking away with this award.
This season sees the return of Luis Carmago and Moffatmania, and I have to say one of these two will walk away hands-down with the Most Improved tag by the end of the regular season. I'm giving the edge to Carmago, as his potential is still higher than Moffat's overall, but I'll be damned if you still shouldn't "Fear the Beard". If Carmago can get the offensive flow right, he could keep defenses truly honest, and offer yet another means of feeding the ball up to our Forwards.
This one for me is easy. Nathan Sturgis has the tools, but I don't think he has the upside Kandji does. I see a huge possibility to stretch defenses if Kandji can find his form, and that is something the Dynamo have struggled with for a couple of seasons -- even pacey little Calen Carr couldn't break enough against MLS defenses. Kandji possesses the speed and ball control to slice through opposing defenses, and also the ball skills to feed to the trailing striker or out to Davis for a cross back into the box. The Dynamo with a run of play flow would be a scary thought, especially if the flow of play didn't go through Davis, but instead provided options all over. For this reason, I give the nod to Kandji and believe he will be our biggest impact move of the offseason going forward, even greater than any other signing we might eke out.
Best Cup Performance
So the Biggest Impact was easy, however this one may be the easiest of the bunch so far -- and that's saying something. I've not shied away from heaping praise upon the extremely high upside of the one named Dixon. He has good movement on and off the ball, good skills with his feet and extremely good control of the ball. He can provide all kinds of matchup problems for defenses, and better yet, he has that high octane energy everyone touted Danny Cruz for having. It's imperative Dom gives this kid time in the Cup matches upcoming, as I believe he can be the defining piece going forward which can make or break our runs at the CCL. I honestly believe he's due for a hat trick performance in the CCL, and when he does it, you can all bow before you superior overlord in orange, Fusion. I'll be the one wearing the "Dixon 4 Prez" shirt. They'll be $15, for any interested in one. (totally joking)
This brings me to my final prediction of the week, the most disappointing player of the year. It's a sad one to predict, because we always want to see any member of Naranja be successful, but invariably, someone must beat themselves so badly they find themselves wondering why they even chose the sport of footy to begin with.
Goat of the Year
The biggest Orange Goat this season will sadly be Bobby Boswell. I'd love for him to have a great season, but something in my gut says his age will catch up to him. Something says he'll be relegated by mid-season to the Eddie Robinson role, which while being valuable isn't exactly something to be proud of. He's lost too much pace, and he's already shown a knack for making bad decisions which can kill a defense. I hope I'm wrong, but it just seems inevitable to me.
So here's your chance. Who do you think deserves these awards for this season, before having seen anyone even player a regular season match? Do you think I'm dead-wrong? Feel free to voice your opinion in the comments. And don't be afraid to blast my opinions. I'm usually wrong anyways.