The nominations for the 2017 Landon Donovan Most Valuable Player award have been announced. The nominations are submitted by the clubs, with each club submitting up to 3 players. Players, technical staff, and selected media personnel will then start voting for their picks.
The list does not hold too many surprises for other teams. Atlanta United nominated their 3 designated players (Miguel Almiron, Josef Martinez and Tito Villalba) with good reason. The Chicago Fire nominated Bastian Schweinsteiger. New York City FC nominated reigning MVP David Villa, and Toronto FC nominated 2015 MVP and all-around unfair asset, Sebastian Giovinco.
Minnesota United, on the other hand, surprised me a little bit. Here are the three Loons nominated . . .
Okay, this one is the least surprising of the bunch. Ramirez has shown to the country that he was not just some flukey goal scorer in the NASL, but a very talented player that can compete at the highest level in the United States.
The California native has 14 goals on the season, and he is tied with CJ Sapong for the most goals by an American player this season. Superman has also added a couple of assists and has proven to many of his doubters (me slightly included) that he has a much more well-rounded game than previously thought.
Ramirez was a lock to be nominated since around April.
This is where I start to get a little more surprised. I am not saying that Bobby Shuttleworth is not at all qualified for nomination, I am just surprised the team is recognizing the stopper.
Bobby has kind of come out of nowhere this season. Acquired before the season began for Femi Hollinger-Janzen, I expected it to be a move to shore up the backup goalkeeper position behind the now departed, John Alvbage. Alvbage was injured against Atlanta and Bobby took control of the position.
Bobby is on track to start more games than he ever has this season, he has stopped the flood of goals that we all expected, and even has come up huge in many spots. His placement on this list is absolutely deserved, just surprised to see him recognized.
Ibson. He is such an enigma. He is capable of absolute brilliance, and capable of bringing nothing to the table. Sometimes in the same match.
This nomination was the most surprising. Partly because I have thought that Ibson could bring so much more during the match, and partly because I honestly was surprised he even made the leap to MLS. He seemed to disappear during the NASL season, but he may be more motivated now in the top league.
Ibson certainly has made an impact. He has started 27 matches, appeared as a sub in 2 more, and added 6 assists. The Brazilian midfielder was ranked 3rd in the league in “touch percentage,” which is the amount of time he makes contact compared to his teammates. He also ranks sixth in MLS with a 68.2% passing percentage. (All these stats coming from a wonderful writeup by the Pioneer Press’s, Andy Greder. You can read that here.)
He certainly has been everywhere on the field this season, but he has not been without his flaws. But at the same time, who hasn’t been without flaws this season?
If you want my opinion - and I know you do - I would have also thrown out names like Jerome Thiesson, Sam Cronin, or our captain and leader, Francisco Calvo. However, my personal pick is the main cog in offense, Kevin Molino. When Molino is not on his game, the offense just doesn’t seem to have the same rhythm and danger to it.
What do you think? Do you have any other players that you want to recognize? Have your say below?