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Pat Onstad for "Fair Play" and other Rave Green Ironies and Oddities in the End-of-Year Award Nominations

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onstadShow of hands, all you legit journalists out there. After last Thursday, how many of you are thinking, "Wait! Wait! I didn't mean it! I want my vote back!"

My guess is at least a few of the folks who voted for Senor Belly Bump, Houston goalkeeper Pat Onstad, for the "Fair Play Award." Because if "fair play" is all about knocking down a player who's half your size in a fit of rage, you are using a different dictionary from mine.

(Of course, there are also those who are thinking, "Montero got what he deserved! Is it too late to vote for Onstad?" But I'm pretty sure I have nothing to say to you, Mr. Onalfo.)

And Pat? If you receive this award, you'd better at least have the decency to blush when you go onstage to accept it. And then, as penance for your behavior -- and for the love of all that is decent -- lay off the Grecian Formula.

I've also heard a few snorts of derision over the inclusion of last week's referee, Ricardo Salazar, on the "Best Referee" list. This one's a little more complicated. By MLS standards, Salazar isn't bad. Remember, again, he's the one who had the guts to red-card Beckham. He didn't give Columbus any advantage for diving. He ignored The Excavator. (Okay, that one may not have been good refereeing, but it made me like him more.) Heck, even Montero cleans up his act when Salazar's reffing because he knows play-acting won't do him any good.

In short, rather than being a bad referee, he just had a bad game. A really bad game. If he receives the award (which he won't -- I'd bet money that it goes to Alex Prus, our USOC final referee) he should be required to stand onstage and sing:

"So I had a bad day, I'm taking one down, I sang a sad song just to turn it around..."

That should be punishment enough that he'll never have a game like Thursday again.

ljungberg And Seattle has all three nominees for Newcomer of the Year: Kasey Keller, Fredy Montero and Fredy Ljungberg. All worthy nominees. (That photo is for the ladies who complained that it wasn't nearly big enough last time I posted it. If you'd like... Well, it would be a sacrifice, ladies, but I can go bigger. Because what it all comes down to is that my only goal in life is to make my readers happy.)

Must say that the best comment on this came from "carella211" over on the GoSounders post on this topic:

something tells me we won’t win a single award. not even the one with all sounder players. some voting bot from dallas will give it to jeff cunningham.

Admit it. If you've tried (unsuccessfully -- always unsuccessfully) to vote a Sounder in for any Blank-of-the-Week award over any player from FC Dallas, you just splurted coffee all over your computer screen, didn't you?

Other Sounders in the mix:

Goalkeeper: Kasey Keller
Fair Play: Kasey Keller
Defender of the Year (by which I of course mean VISA Defender of the Year. Which seems pretty appropriate, especially at this time of year, given that I feel a need to defend myself from my Visa on a regular basis): Jhon Kennedy Hurtado
Coach of the Year: Sigi Schmid

Awards begin tomorrow and will be awarded over time between now and the Cup. Finalists below.


Goalkeeper of the Year Finalists
Kasey Keller – Seattle Sounders FC
Donovan Ricketts – Los Angeles Galaxy
Zach Thornton – Chivas USA

Fair Play Finalists – Individual
Kasey Keller – Seattle Sounders FC
Pat Onstad – Houston Dynamo
Steve Ralston – New England Revolution

Comeback Player of the Year Finalists
Brian McBride – Chicago Fire
Ben Olsen – D.C. United
Zach Thornton – Chivas USA

Visa Defender of the Year Finalists
Geoff Cameron – Houston Dynamo
Jhon Kennedy Hurtado – Seattle Sounders FC
Chad Marshall – Columbus Crew

Adidas Referee of the Year Finalists
Alex Prus
Ricardo Salazar
Kevin Stott

Rookie of the Year Finalists
Stefan Frei – Toronto FC
Omar Gonzalez – Los Angeles Galaxy
Chris Pontius – D.C. United

Coach of the Year Finalists
Bruce Arena – Los Angeles Galaxy
Sigi Schmid – Seattle Sounders FC
Robert Warzycha – Columbus Crew

Newcomer of the Year Finalists
Kasey Keller – Seattle Sounders FC
Freddie Ljungberg – Seattle Sounders FC
Fredy Montero – Seattle Sounders FC

Volkswagen MLS Most Valuable Player Finalists
Jeff Cunningham – FC Dallas
Landon Donovan – Los Angeles Galaxy
Shalrie Joseph – New England Revolution