2012 3rd Degree Awards – The Thirds

Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the Fifteenth Annual 3rd Degree Awards. The 3rd Degree Awards were created in 1998, with the addition of the Spark award in 1999, and the Ember Award in 2006.

The “Thirds” consist of two major categories, FC Dallas awards and League Wide awards, and are based on regular season play. You can take a look at previous winners in our Award History.

2012 FC Dallas Awards

Napalm Award (MVP)

Blas Perez

It’s hard in a not-so-great year to pick a MVP, but I went back to the beginning of the year when Blas Perez carried this team.  If it hadn’t been for him FC Dallas would have been far, far worse this year.

Band-Aid Award (best mid season addition)

Julian de Guzman

An obvious winner, de Guzman was nothing short of fantastic after coming over from Toronto.  He was a massive part of the 2nd half resurgence.

Phoenix Award (best emergence or rebirth)

Fabian Castillo

Castillo went from part time bench player to key piece of the midfield.  Frankly I had wanted more this season from Castillo, but he still took a big step forward with 6 goals and 3 assists.

Spark Award (best rookie)

Matt Hedges

Another obvious winner, it’s a joke that Hedges wasn’t even in the top 5 of Rookie of the Year voting.  I didn’t expect him to win it, but not even getting top 5 says something about either national media and their dislike, or unawareness, of Dallas; or about the FCD front office’s inability to get the word out on what a great player this kid is… Or both.

Ember Award (Reserve MVP)

Bryan Leyva

Leyva led the FCD Reserves with 4 goals in 613 minutes played.  Unfortunately he was just dumped by the club along with a couple other home grown signings that didn’t break into the 18 much.

2012 MLS Awards


Chris Wondolowski, San Jose Earthwuakes

When a guy scores 27 goals it’s kind of a no brainer who the league MVP is.

Best Player

Thierry Henry, New York Red Bulls

As much as I hate the idea of an old European guy tearing up MLS, you can’t deny the skill and talent are still there for Henry even if the pace isn’t.  15 goals and 12 assists is tied for 5th in the league in both categories.  That’s impressive.

Best Defender

Matt Besler, Sporting KC

The best defender on the league’s best defense.  For me this was an easy choice.

Best Goaltender

Andy Gruenebaum, Columbus Crew

124 saves and a 75% save percentage.  It’s a tough call as Michael Gspurning and Jimmy Nielseon both have lower GAAs but play behind much better defenses.  Gruenebaum bails his defense out more and has to do a lot more work. 

Rookie of the Year

Nick deLeon, DC United

Austin Berry had a nice season, but not all that better than Matt Hedges expect that FC Dallas wasn’t as good as Chicago.  DeLeon had 25 starts for DC United with 6 goals and 4 assists helping them to 2nd in the East.

Best Mid Season pick up

Jairo Arrieta, Columbus Crew

Although he was signed in April he didn’t make his debut until late July.  Finished the year with 9 goals (and 4 assists) in 18 games, that’s a goal every other game. 

Trade of the Year

Marvin Chavez, San Jose Earthquakes for Allocation money from FC Dallas

Dallas wanted money and needed to dump cap, Chavez put San Jose over the top leading them with 13 assists.  Chavez was a big part of the Quakes winning the supporters shield.  Dallas, as far as we can tell, didn’t actually use the money they got for Chavez.

Pack Your Bags Award

Danny Koevermans, Toronto FC

When you’re 34, on the worst team in MLS, are a designated player, and blow out your ACL… that has to be the end of your career.  Doesn’t it?  Plus TFC already traded for his replacement in Eric Hassli.

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