The editorial staff at MLSsoccer.com is looking back over the year with our "Best of 2010" awards, running Dec. 13 through Jan. 2. Each day we'll hand out an award from a variety of categories culled from the storylines of Major League Soccer and the North American soccer scene.
This time around the focus calls on Foreign Player of the Year, where no Americans or Canadian-born players are eligible. There was a wealth of international talent on display this season, but none better than league MVP and FC Dallas mighty-mite David Ferreira.
At 5-foot-5, 153 pounds, FC Dallas attacking midfielder David Ferreira may be small in size, but his competitive spirit and need to succeed are quite gigantic.
His 2009 season – in which he scored eight goals and assisted in seven in 30 starts – was exemplary for any foreign player making the transition to the league’s physical style. But when FCD missed the playoffs, El Torito felt like he had let his club down.
“I prepared myself very well [in the offseason] because I felt a responsibility towards myself, the staff, and everyone that brought me to FC Dallas,” Ferreira told MLSsoccer.com last week on a phone call from his native Colombia.
A committed Ferreira proved to be a dangerous Ferreira. Orchestrating the FC Dallas attack through a combination of grace and power, he stung defenses for eight goals and a team-high 13 assists and led FCD to an MLS-record 19 consecutive unbeaten games.
His outstanding efforts were rewarded: Dallas made it into the playoffs, and Ferreira received the league MVP award. He's also the Foreign Player of the Year on MLSsoccer.com.
In the postseason, the midfielder again came through, tallying a goal and an assist while pulling the strings as FCD toppled Real Salt Lake and the LA Galaxy to reach the MLS Cup final. He scored another goal in the championship match to give his team the lead before ultimately falling to the Colorado Rapids.
“I committed myself, worked to the max … [and] with the help of my teammates and the coaching staff, we put together a great season,” Ferreira said. “All we needed was the title, but in general, the team did things well all year.”
With a record, a visit to the playoffs and an MVP award in the bag, Ferreira now sets his eyes solely on winning the MLS Cup.
“In 2011, I have to prepare myself better than in 2010 because of what we did, because of what I achieved with the team, because of all the accolades I earned,” he said. “It’s an even bigger responsibility. … If we get another shot, win the title, because I have that little thorn on the side for not having won it.”
Back lines throughout MLS, consider yourselves warned.
Second place: Omar Cummings[inline_node:323799]
The mere mention of Cummings’ name strikes fear into opposing defenders. Accompanied by strike partner Conor Casey, the speedy 28-year-old Jamaican erupted for an MLS career-high 14 goals in the Colorado Rapids’ surprise run to the 2010 MLS Cup championship.
Third place: Sebastien Le Toux
The Philadelphia Union’s French forward/midfielder used his silky-smooth skills and unbelievable workrate to bust out in 2010. A well-oiled attacking machine, Le Toux’s 14 goals and 11 assists – good for fourth in MLS in each category – threw him front and center into the talks for league MVP. The Union have themselves a star.
Honorable mention: Joel Lindpere, Álvaro Saborío, Fredy Montero