OK, I guess by now we have all let the news sink in that Dwayne De Rosario has been named the 2011 MLS MVP and not our very own Brad Davis. (I put that photo up there just to kind of soften the blow for everyone if you had not heard.)
Personally, while I would have given the award to Davis (Don't get me wrong. Prick me, I bleed but it ain't red that's coming out.). However, there are multiple layers of good that come out of this.
First, I see this as a complete and total repudiation of the concept of "valuable" in favor of a straight Player of the Year. And I am totally in favor of that. I cannot stand each and every year, at the end of the season of any sport, this ridiculous conversation of how so-and-so is more "valuable" to his team than some other player is to his. The truth is that De Rosario is no more valuable to his team that any other high quality player. DC United, as has been pointed out, could have missed the playoffs without DDR, so what is his value anyway?
His value was that he was the best damn player in the league this season. That was his value. His numbers, which I will not repeat, but peruse them here if you want to, were astronomical, way better than anyone else in the league this season, even Davis. And furthermore, as no less of an authority that Du Nord pointed out the other day, it's time to seriously consider the case that De Rosario is the best player in MLS history. (Here's a fun little thought experiment. Imagine if DDR was an American and not a Canadian. Can you imagine how much better the USMNT might have been over the last decade with THAT GUY in the Red, White and Blue? He's got to be one of the best, if not the best CONCACAF players never to make a World Cup.)
Want to have a debate about who the best player in the league is? Now, that's worth some time, and it's fun. Though this year, the answer is without a doubt Dwayne De Rosario.
As for Brad Davis? Here's what I hope this vote does for him and all of us. I hope it forces everyone to take a long and hard look at who has become the best distributor of the ball, and creator of chances in Major League Soccer. He is the Xavi of MLS, and I do not invoke that name lightly. Brad Davis' inclusion in the discussion of the MVP, or Player of the Year, Award, sent a statement that the guy who makes the pass, creates the chance and runs the attack is a player to look at, even at the exclusion of those who score the goals. If Dwayne De Rosario had not had such a monster and unique season, then Davis would have won this award, and I don't believe it would have even been close. And that seriously heartens me about the maturity of those who cover and play this sport in the US.
And one other point, despite my argument in favor of this result, I also hope this vote seriously pisses off the team heading into the weekend. Dynamo are one well-motivated squad. But a well-motivated and pissed off Houston Dynamo? I'll take it. Personally, I hope they look across the field and see 11 guys who are all personally responsible for denying their vice-captain the MVP Award. Boom. Boom. and BOOM! Because, after all, three stars beats an MVP Award any day.