FRISCO, Texas — MVP. Three letters whose sum has much more meaning than its parts — much like a team. Yet MVP is always applied to the individual.
As the MLS regular season heads into its final third, discussions about the league’s MVP are heating up. One name increasingly mentioned is David Ferreira.
The FC Dallas midfielder has six goals and seven assists, which ties him for fourth in the league. Three of those helpers have been of the game-winning variety, which ties him for second-most in MLS.
Ferreira’s numbers aren’t surprising considering that in 2009 he had eight goals and seven assists, earning a nomination for the league’s top newcomer.
This year, the 5-foot-5 Colombian is no longer an unknown commodity for opposing defenses—he has suffered more fouls than anyone else in the league—but he has been even more devastating in playing all but one minute for FCD. He will start again on Saturday when Dallas host Chivas USA at Pizza Hut Park.
“I think he’s starting to get a lot more recognition, probably a lot more this year than he ever has,” said FCD coach Schellas Hyndman. “He’s the most fouled player in the league and he’s probably been the most durable player in the league.”
During his club’s current 10-game unbeaten streak that has them as the hottest team in the league, Ferreira has been the driving force. The former Atlético Paranaense midfielder has five goals and three assists during the stretch.
“He’s a huge difference-maker,” Hyndman said. “I think when you look at MVP, you not only look at an MVP of what that player is doing but you also look at the expectations of that team. For us to be in the position that we’re in means a lot of people are playing well and that means he’s probably playing better as an MVP for this team than someone else on a different team.”
While Ferreira’s numbers thus far are on par with his goals and assists from last year, there remains some unfinished business—helping FCD return to the playoffs for the first time since 2007. That bigger picture remains his focus.
Still, being mentioned as an MVP candidate is cool, if humbling.
“It’s always an honor for any player to be mentioned as a candidate for an award like that,” he said through an interpreter after practice on Thursday. “I’ve been blessed this year to have the opportunity to do well.
"I also give thanks to my teammates. They have helped me play well. The team has done well and they have helped me become a better player.”
At this point, FCD’s foes center their defenses around limiting the 31-year-old’s touches on the ball. Several teams this year have been effective at exerting high pressure, which forces Ferreira further back on the field, thus limiting his effectiveness and role in the attack.
“It’s good to know that other teams are worried about me,” Ferreira said. “I still have that sense of responsibility that I have to figure out ways to beat other teams. [But] I think most of the opponents are not only thinking about me but the rest of the team with what we’ve been doing.”