Arena, Beckham, Gonzalez named finalists for MLS awards
CARSON, Calif. (Monday, November 7, 2011) – LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, midfielder David Beckham and defender Omar Gonzalez were all named as finalists for postseason awards today by Major League Soccer.
For the second time in the last three seasons, Bruce Arena has been nominated for the MLS Coach of the Year award after leading the Galaxy to their second consecutive Supporters’ Shield. Arena, who surpassed Sigi Schmid on Sunday night to become the all-time leader in postseason wins amongst coaches in MLS, led the Galaxy to a 19-5-10 record this season for 67 points, which were one shy of the MLS record of 68, which was set by the Galaxy in 1998. The Galaxy also finished with the best goal differential in the postseason and are now one win away from winning their third MLS Cup. Since taking charge of the Galaxy in August 2008, Arena, who won the MLS Coach of the Year award with D.C. United in 1997 and with the Galaxy in 2009, has a 51-23-30 record and three consecutive first place finishes in the Western Conference.
Beckham, who finished second in MLS with 15 assists this year and has added three so far in the playoffs, is nominated for the Comeback Player of the Year award. Beckham missed most of the 2010 MLS season after suffering a torn left Achilles tendon on March 14 while on loan with AC Milan of Serie A. That injury forced Beckham to miss the 2010 World Cup and kept him out of action for more than six months before he returned for the final seven games of the 2010 season and that year’s playoffs. This year, in his first full season with the Galaxy since 2008, Beckham appeared in 26 regular season games, scoring twice and adding 15 assists to help LA win the Supporters’ Shield. He is just the third Galaxy player to be named a finalist for the Comeback Player of the Year award and could become the first of the three to win it.
Omar Gonzalez rounds out the Galaxy’s awards finalists, earning his second straight Defender of the Year nomination. The Galaxy’s Defender of the Year in 2010 and 2011, Gonzalez helped the Galaxy allow the fewest goals in MLS this season while equaling the league record with 17 shutouts on the year. Gonzalez, who was also a finalist for the award in 2010, played in and started 29 of LA’s 34 league games this season, scoring twice and adding an assist while being named to his second consecutive MLS All-Star Team. Real Salt Lake’s Nat Borchers and Jamison Olave are the other two finalists for the award, with the winner being announced on Wednesday, November 9. Those same three players were named finalists for the prize last year with Olave going to claim the award.
The Coach of the Year award, which Arena is nominated for along with Seattle’s Sigi Schmid and Sporting Kansas City’s Peter Vermes, will be announced on Monday, November 14, as will the Comeback Player if the Year award. In addition to Beckham, D.C. United’s Charlie Davies and Chicago’s Dominic Oduro are finalists for that award.
For an MLS-record seventh time, the LA Galaxy will play for MLS Cup. They will face the Houston Dynamo at The Home Depot Center on Sunday, November 20 in MLS Cup 2011 in a game that will be shown live on ESPN and Galavision. For more information about this game, please call 1-877-3-GALAXY or visit the club’s official website at www.lagalaxy.com.