This has already been the most successful season in Seattle Sounders history from a team perspective, but it could also be quite a year from the individuals as well. Obafemi Martins headlines a group of four MLS award finalists from the Sounders, who are still in the running for MVP, Defender of the Year (Chad Marshall), Coach of the Year (Sigi Schmid) and Comeback Player of the Year (Stefan Frei).
Although the Sounders have won their fair share of awards over the years, they have never had anyone named the MVP, top defender or best coach. Schmid has twice won Coach of the Year (1999 with the LA Galaxy and 2008 with the Columbus Crew) and Marshall has won two Defender of the Year awards (2008-09 with the Crew).
Martins' nomination is probably the most notable, though, at least in part because no other Sounders player has even been named a finalist. Martins got off to a bit of a slow start this year, scoring just one goal in his first six matches, but also showed a side of his game we hadn't really seen before. Despite coming to the Sounders known pretty much as a pure scorer, Martins was proving himself quite the playmaker and also had three assists in those early games.
The scoring came soon enough, though. Martins would finish the year with a career-high 17 goals -- plus two more in U.S. Open Cup play -- to go along with 13 assists. He was just the third player since 2001 to register 30 combined goals and assists in a MLS season.
That's not to diminish the accomplishments of the other three Sounders finalists.
Marshall was rated as the third best overall player in the entire league by Squawka and had 30 more interceptions than any other player. Schmid led the Sounders to one of the best seasons in MLS history and turned around a team that seemed to be in crisis at this point last year. Frei was a starter for the first time in three years and had his best season as a professional. All four have viable cases for bringing home their respective awards.
Volkswagen Most Valuable Player Finalists
Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy)
Obafemi Martins (Seattle Sounders FC)
Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution)
AT&T Rookie of the Year Finalists
Tesho Akindele (FC Dallas)
Steven Birnbaum (D.C. United)
Harrison Shipp (Chicago Fire)
Defender of the Year Finalists
Bobby Boswell (D.C. United)
Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy)
Chad Marshall (Seattle Sounders FC)
Coach of the Year Finalists
Gregg Berhalter (Columbus Crew SC)
Ben Olsen (D.C. United)
Sigi Schmid (Seattle Sounders FC)
Comeback Player of the Year Finalists
Charlie Davies (New England Revolution)
Stefan Frei (Seattle Sounders FC)
Rodney Wallace (Portland Timbers)
Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year Finalists
Steve Clark (Columbus Crew SC)
Bill Hamid (D.C. United)
Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
Newcomer of the Year Finalists
Stefan Ishizaki (LA Galaxy)
Jermaine Jones (New England Revolution)
Pedro Morales (Vancouver Whitecaps FC)
Awards Announcements Schedule:
Schedule subject to change
November 24: AT&T Rookie of the Year, Xbox Fair Play Individual and Team of the Year
November 25: MLS Defender of the Year, MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year, and Referee/Assistant Referee of the Year
December 2: MLS Coach of the Year, Comeback Player of the Year and MLS Best XI
December 3: Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year, Newcomer of the Year and Volkswagen MLS MVP
December 4: AT&T Goal of the Year, MLS Save of the Year