They already have the Supporters’ Shield salted away in the Home Depot Center trophy case, and on Sunday, they’ll be gunning for the MLS Cup (9:00 ET, ESPN, Galavision). Today, the Galaxy added two more honors to their 2011 collection: Bruce Arena won the Coach of the Year award, and midfielder David Beckham was named Comeback Player of the Year.
There was much grousing on comment boards and in the Twittersphere about Beckham’s qualifications as a comeback case, but Soccer By Ives helpfully pointed out that Becks ruptured his Achilles tendon in the spring of 2010, missed most of that season, then “came back and had MVP-caliber 2011.”
His season may have been just shy of “MVP caliber,” but, yes, Beckham qualifies for the category based on that explanation.
Others complained that DC United striker Charlie Davies, another nominee for the award, shouldn’t have been a candidate because he had never played in MLS before. He’s undoubtedly a comeback case, having suffered traumatic and multiple injuries in a near-fatal 2009 car crash.
These objections, and the nomination of Chicago striker Dominic Oduro, point up the vagueness of the award. (What was Oduro—who busted out for a career-high 12 goals for the Fire this season—coming back from? Mediocrity?)
In any event, Beckham takes home the award.
His manager edged Seattle gaffer Sigi Schmid and Sporting KC boss Peter Vermes for the coaching honor.
This one could have gone to any of the three with justification, but Arena won it for a season in which he led his team to a league-best 19-5-10 record, an undefeated season at home, an MLS-record-tying 17 shutouts, a berth in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals, and of course a spot in Sunday’s MLS Cup final. Not a bad year.
Tomorrow, the league will announce the Goalkeeper and Newcomer of the Year award winners.