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 we're talking about the US National Team Player of the Year, and Landon Donovan walks away with the top prize.
His heroics against Algeria topped another remarkable year for Landon Donovan, but that certainly wasn't all he did.
In fact, he led the national team in assists, again. He led Bob Bradley's side in points, again. He even led them in goals, a feat he hasn't accomplished since 2007. (That all three of his strikes came on the world's biggest stage only adds to the achievement.) Donovan is getting awfully close to claiming the title of the best American field player of all-time... if he's not there already.
And this time, there was certainly some competition for the top US player. Clint Dempsey was gutsy and physical in South Africa, scoring against England and setting up Donovan's penalty kick against Ghana. Michael Bradley came into his own in 2010. Tim Howard was quintessentially tough while enduring seriously bruised ribs against England, and Steve Cherundolo made Bob Bradley look like a genius as he slotted the ageless Bundesliga veteran in when the chips were down.
GALLERY: Donovan in Images of the Year
But the award inevitably goes to Donovan for his work both on and off the field. Despite being squarely in his prime, he's also clearly starting to peer into his post-playing days. He grew more outspoken and became an ambassador for the sport, traveling to Zurich on behalf of the Americans' World Cup 2022 bid. His developing maturity will only help him improve as the face of US Soccer for years to come.
2. Clint Dempsey - For all his moments of brilliance (that goal against Juventus), the Fulham star's biggest attribute of late is his remarkable consistency for both club and country. He epitomized the Yanks' toughness in South Africa.
3. Michael Bradley - Donovan may be the American's offensive engine, but Bradley's tireless effort keeps the machine oiled. He didn't miss a minute in 10 matches and ran further in four World Cup matches than anyone in the 32-team field.