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Gonzalez: MLS Rookie of Year

Omar Gonzalez, a first-round pick from the University of Maryland who helped the Los Angeles Galaxy cut the number of goals allowed in half, was named MLS's rookie of the year. In voting among players, coaches, general managers and media, the 6-foot-5 central back finished ahead of D.C. United forward-midfielder Chris Pontius and Toronto goalkeeper Stefan Frei. Gonzalez started all 30 league matches and played 2,672 of 2,700 minutes for the Galaxy, which allowed 31 goals this season after giving up 62 a year ago.

Do you agree with the choice?

By Steve Goff  |  November 12, 2009; 2:27 PM ET
Categories:  MLS  
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Comments

Agree? No, I'd have preferred Pontius, but I can understand the selection. Gonzalez was a full-time starter and the Galaxy will play for a chance to go to the final.

Posted by: mmathai | November 12, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Pontius faded in the latter half of the season. Gonzalez didn't. Gonzalez deserved it.

Posted by: Ron16 | November 12, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Go Terps!

Posted by: Colm1 | November 12, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

He absolutely won it. Had a consistant impact throughout the season. Pontius started well but became inconsistant.

Posted by: marcool | November 12, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Pontius started well but became inconsistant.

Or, Pontius started well and tailed off as the team disintegrated around him.

potayto, potahto.

Posted by: daggar | November 12, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

re: "Pontius started well but became inconsistant.

Or, Pontius started well and tailed off as the team disintegrated around him.

potayto, potahto.

Posted by: daggar | "

In either case it undermines Pontius's case for rookie of the year.

Posted by: Ron16 | November 12, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

After the World Cup, I'd like to see a few friendlies featuring a back line of Gonzalez (6-5), Gooch (6-3), Clarence Goodson (6-4) and Chad Marshall (6-4).

If anything, we'd be dangerous on set pieces, and highly unlikely to give up a goal via header.

Posted by: joedoc1 | November 12, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Didn't Pontius score on Gonzalez in the first LA game?

Posted by: delantero | November 12, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Gonzalez had a clearly defined role in a clearly defined and well-understood system of play that did not vary from one day to the next.

Pontius not so much.

Posted by: OWNTF | November 12, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I was trying to think of a way to state my feelings, hit refresh, and OWNTF beat me to it.

Posted by: sitruc | November 12, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Playing Full time is Overated..

Posted by: Freddy_ADU | November 12, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

How Darrius Barnes wasn't even on the shortlist, after playing every minute of every game this year for the Revs, still baffles me.

Posted by: bwidell | November 12, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

How DCU, who had maybe one central defender on the roster on draft day, didn't draft Darrius Barnes (when he was still available in the 3rd round)...still baffles me.

Posted by: cwste1 | November 12, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

There were a lot of very good rookies. Gonzalez is a "safe choice" b/c his club could potentially win it all, he started every game, he has been a solid player.

That said...
--I think Barnes was a better defender. More consistent. Gonzalenz had some howler moments at times. To argue that Pontius tailed off when Gonzalez was consistent is very misleading b/c even late in the season Gonzalez had some moments that had you going "ugh!." Not many but still enough where you can argue that Barnes had a better individual season.
--I think Pontius, Cronin, Frei, and Zakunani were more important to their respective teams. A defensive middle of Berhalter and De La Garza is still a fine one for LAG that would have produced about the same results. Of course you'd prefer the bigger Gonzalez in there over the shorter De la Garza but he's no slouch--he had a fine season himself and is probably a better individual defender. OTOH, despite having other attackers, I don't see how DCU replaces Pontius, or a lot of midfield players how TFC replaces Cronin, or where TFC would be without Frei (they CUT Sutton). And it's convenient to discount Zakuani by saying "yeah, but Montero and Ljundberg were great" but again, on an expansion team--who did they have to replace him?

Gonzalez isn't an embarassing pick--he had a good season. He's starting for a team that could win it all--no slouch in that. But he's slow, he played in a system that emphasized defense with two of the best players in the league (Beckham and Donovan) with a great support system (Ricketts and Berhalter, Lewis, Klein--that's a lot of international experience and veteran savvy). And I don't think he was the best rookie or the most difficult to replace for his team.

Posted by: JoeW1 | November 12, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Second time in three years a former Maryland player won RoY.

Posted by: mercedeskk | November 12, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

RoY is a big "meh." I will predict that Frei, Cronin, Barnes, Pontius and Zakuani will have longer and more successful pro careers. Gonzalez is big and SLOW, he's going nowhere outside of MLS and as he gets older, he will get slower. Think a taller Bobby Boswell. Perfectly serviceable, but with none of the upside of the others mentioned.

Posted by: griffin1108 | November 12, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Good job Gonzalez. For a converted forward in high school, that is no small feat. He has a bright future and I hope he gets a chance at the MNT. VAMOS TERPS!!

Posted by: terptilldeath | November 12, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Good job Gonzalez. For a converted forward in high school, that is no small feat. He has a bright future and I hope he gets a chance at the MNT. VAMOS TERPS!!

Posted by: terptilldeath | November 12, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

To echo this, Omar still has additional updside. Plus, I think LA drafting of him and AJ was an inspired more from a team that was literally defense-free the previous season.

Posted by: M__N | November 13, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Omar Gonzalez might not be the fastest central defender in the world, but Brede Hangeland is slow. As is Oguchi Onyewu. And Sol Campbell never won a lot of 50-yard dashes, even in his prime. If Omar develops into the same sort of tall-and-strong-yet-not-very-fast central defender as these guys, the Galaxy and the USMNT will have something special on their hands.

Posted by: jhgodfrey1 | November 13, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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