The Team Is The MVP
Posted by: Matt Gaschk
With so many players playing such significant roles for the Sounders, Sigi Schmid looks at the MVP description a bit differently than most teams.
As the Major League Soccer season winds down in the final month of the schedule, debate is churning around the league for Most Valuable Player candidates.
In recent weeks, individual performances have driven the Sounders FC to great team success. Which brings the question, who is the Sounders FC’s MVP?
Mauro Rosales had two assists to break the team record of 12 in a season in a 3-0 win over DC United. Fredy Montero netted a second-half brace to help the Sounders lift the Cascadia Cup with a 3-1 comeback win over the Vancouver Whitecaps. And on Tuesday, Osvaldo Alonso punched Seattle’s ticket into the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals with goals to close out each half in a 2-2 draw with Comunicaciones in Guatemala.
“Even though he doesn’t always score goals he’s still our most valuable player,” defender Tyson Wahl said of Alonso after the match. “I think if you asked most of the guys they’d say that. Even if he’s not scoring goals, he’s making a difference elsewhere.”
Nobody in the league has won more tackles than Alonso and he’s become a dominating force in the middle of the midfield for the Sounders in his three seasons. His career-high three goals in MLS play were also complemented by his two goals in the Champions League while maintaining the killer instinct on the defensive side that earned him team MVP honors last season.
Montero’s nine goals and eight assists are just off his pace from 2010 when he led the team with 10 goals and 10 assists. However, he is currently on a tear with three goals and three assists in the last five matches and the momentum from those matches could carry him to bigger and better success in the season’s final four matches. He’s also added goals in the US Open Cup and Champions League to put an exclamation point on his impact this season.
Rosales has five goals and 12 assists in his first MLS campaign and has gotten himself into the mix for the league MVP award. He willed the Sounders to victory over Sporting Kansas City with a gritty late-game performance that included a goal and an assist in the final minutes of the match, but has also been the motor to the Sounders attack throughout the year.
Alvaro Fernandez has been another cog in the Sounders machine that leads the league in scoring. His eight goals have pushed Montero for the team lead throughout the season while also spreading the opposing defense from wing to wing opposite Rosales.
Kasey Keller was the team MVP in 2009 and has seemed to elevate his game even further in this, his final season. He leads MLS with 15 wins and has also led the team on their path to the US Open Cup final and through the Champions League group stage.
Others have also made incredible contributions to lift the Sounders to second place in MLS at 15-6-9.
To Sigi Schmid, the answer to the question of who the club’s MVP is simple. All of the above and more.
“I think our team MVP is our team. Different people have stepped up at different times. Fredy’s scored some very important goals for us at key moments. Mauro Rosales has done the same and turned games for us. Flaco has come through at moments when we needed it. Lamar Neagle has come up with a couple of big game-winners for us. Ozzie came up big tonight. Keller’s made some great saves. The defenders have individually done well as well, Parke and Hurtado,” Schmid said. “It’s a team. We win as a team. We lose as a team. At some point somebody is going to want to say, ‘This is the MVP of your team.’ But I think the MVP of our team is our team.”