There's a funny thing that's happened around MLS. Players like DeRo, Donovan, Beckam, Henry and now maybe even Koevermans get the attention as the best offensive players in the game. While national attention on the Seattle Sounders tends to focus on crowd size, there is also a team here that put up the best offensive numbers in the league last year. The Rave Green tallied 54 regular season goals, joined by 21 goals in their 14 non-MLS matches. That number one offense lost only two players that put up significant numbers. While Neagle and Fucito combined for 13 goals (Regular Season, Playoffs, Open Cup, CCL) the Sounders return two fringe MVPs, will have some level of contribution from Steve Zakuani and of course added Eddie Johnson.
Those two MVP candidates lead the Sounder At Heart staff awards votes with a slight edge to Fredy Montero with 6 votes. Mauro Rosales was predicted by 5 and even Eddie Johnson got 1. Montero is even Jeremiah's pick for MLS MVP. Chris Coulter, our new provider of photos from SoundersPhotos, points out that if Eddie Johnson is as good as the front office thinks he can be his 2007 numbers can be repeated and impossible to ignore. The tight race exists because there is a general opinion that Rosales should be better in his second season in North American soccer, and if he shows improvements as the Sounder South Americans have in year two 2012 can be huge.
Into that mix of three that recieved votes by the staff one probably shouldn't ignore Alvaro Fernandez who took huge steps forward in 2011. Not only was he able to lurk on the back post and net some easy headers, his control under contact and integration into the team improved. As a young player he could still take another step forward and could hit double digits in league play.