2006 3rd Degree Awards – The Thirds

The 10th Annual Awards

The 3rd Degree Awards were created in 1998, 
with the addition of the Spark award in 1999, and the Ember Award in 2006.
Award History
2006 FC Dallas
Napalm Award: Kenny Cooper and Carlos Ruiz (MVP)
In one of the closest MVP races in recent memory, we chicken out and go with the tie.  After careful consideration, and much back and forth, the arguments for both players won out. Ruiz has more points, Cooper has 6 game winning goals (to Ruiz’s 2).  Ruiz draws loads of attention, creates space for his teammates, and sets the tone; Cooper has relentless work rate, positive attitude, and the ability to play multiple positions.  Cooper’s 11 goals and 4 assists is nice total, Ruiz’s 13 and 5 made him a worthy candidate.  So they both get the nod.
Band-Aid Award: Marcelo Saragosa (best mid season addition)
Seven appearances and 3 starts filling in for injured or resting players in the midfield.  Kind of a no-brainer since the other candidate had a 2.50 GAA in 4 games.
Phoenix Award: Drew Moor (best emergence or rebirth)
After starting the year behind Clarence Goodson, Moor took advantage of Goodson’s stumble to get a lock down grip o the starting post and has been written in pen on the lineup sheet since.  1 goal and 1 assist don’t tell the story for this technically outstanding defender has the pace to outrun some of the best forwards in the game.
Spark Award: Dominic Oduro(best rookie)
3 starts and 13 additional appearances of the bench make him the only rookie with noteworthy playing time.  Only one goal, but showed some potential with mind boggling pace.
Ember Award: Arturo Alvarez (Reserve League MVP)
This is an award we should have created last year with the reserve league was formed.  Alvarez was the run away winner of the award with 4 goals and 2 assists in 8 games.  Beyond the stats Alvarez displayed absolute dominance of reserve games playing on both flanks of midfield.
  3rd Degree’s 2006 MLS Awards
MVP: Ante Razov, CD Chivas USA
14 goals (2nd MLS, 1st CHV), 8 assists (1st CHV), 5 game winning goals (2nd MLS, 1st CHV) but far more than stats, Razov took Chivas from MLS also ran to MLS contender.  His late season injury derailed them, re-enforcing his importance.
Best Player: Clint Dempsey, New England Revolution
US Player of the year should give you some idea of the talent here, but if you ever really want to understand how good this player is, spend a Revs game watching him move off the ball.  He’s a relentless machine of movement, possessed of flawless timing and anticipation.  He’s playing at another level.  8 goals and 4 assists in 21 games.
Best Defender: Jose Burciaga Jr, Kansas City Wizards
8 goals and 8 assists out of a defender? Are you kidding me?  And we’re talking about a defender who can and does actually defend.  How this guy is not getting more US Caps I will never understand.
Best Goaltender: Matt Reis, New England Revolution
His 141 saves is 33 and 40 saves more then the 2nd and 3rd guy, heck he had as many saves as Cannon faced shots.  His 10 shutouts tops the league.  His 1.09 GAA is beaten only by a guy who played 12 games and Reis played every minute of every game for the revs.  No question Reis is the best keeper in the league right now.
Rookie of the Year: Jonathan Bornstein, CD Chivas USA
As much as I think Sacha Kljestan will be the better player you just can’t argue with Bornstein’s numbers.  32 starts, 6 goals, and 4 assists puts him ahead of all but Juan Pablo Garcia and Ante Razov in Chivas USA point production.  Bornstein started games at left back and at left midfield, showing his versatility and varied skills.
Best Mid Season pick up: Dave van den Burgh, Kansas City Wizards
Brought in via discovery in the second transfer window, van den Burgh proceeded to grab 3 goals and 2 assist in 13 starts. Extrapolate that out to a full season and you get 9 and 6, which would have put him at the top of the KC point list.  Beyond that van den Burgh has brought tactical savvy to the Wizard midfield/forwards that was lacking since Preki retired.
Trade of the Year: Jeff Cunningham from Colorado to Real Salt Lake for Clint Mathis.
The Royals dumped a overweight and bloated Mathis and his overweight and bloated contract on Colorado and managed to get an league MVP candidate in return.  That is what we call a sweet deal in these hear parts.  Even though RSL didn’t make the playoffs, they are an immensely better side with the addition of Cunningham.
Pack Your Bags Award: Tony Meola, New York Red Bulls
Your team stinks despite making the playoffs. You’ve got a new coach who wants to make changes. You’ve got a bloated contract and a bloated belly.  You got outplayed by a younger and cheaper keeper who got all the minutes over the latter half of the season.  It’s time to pack it in Tony.

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