Brad Davis may not get the headlines that most of the other candidates have gotten, but seriously, the Houston Dynamo midfielder is an MVP candidate for MLS in 2011. Where would the Dynamo be without him? He's been the rock of the team, while Houston's forwards can't stay healthy and the entire squad consists of role players. What were the expectations for this team coming into the season? They were pretty low, and now they have clinched a playoff spot. It's a team effort, to be sure, but the key to a successful season for the Dynamo was Davis.
While Davis is not a goalscorer, he is tied for the league lead in assists, with 15. Coupled with his four goals scored on the year, Davis has factored into 45 percent of his club's goals. In contrast, the other league leader in assists, David Beckham, has contributed to 36 percent of the Los Angeles Galaxy's goals this season. Unfortunately, Beckham's profile and the season the Galaxy have been having will probably leave Davis in the dark. While Beckham is having the best year of his MLS career this season, I think the Galaxy would still be a successful team without him. In contrast, without Davis, the Dynamo would be rooted to the bottom of the table.
Of course, there's no clear-cut MVP candidate and Davis is just one of the names being bandied about. He's an insider's star, someone who will fall behind the star power of Beckham, Dwayne De Rosario, Landon Donovan, Brek Shea and Thierry Henry. Seattle has a few MVP candidates of their own, and that will push Davis further down the list. But to me, there's no more worthy candidate. Again, players on the teams with the better records have better supporting casts. Henry has been terrific on the whole, but there's only so much he can do, and the Red Bulls haven't assured a place in the postseason yet. And De Rosario has played for three teams this season, and only one of those teams will make the playoffs. Davis is the captain of his team, and has set up the goals to get his team to an improbable playoff run. He may be an underdog, but he's my MLS Most Valuable Player for 2011.