DaMarcus Beasley, Carlos Bocanegra, and Landon Donovan are some of the brightest lights in American soccer, enjoying strong seasons for their country.
The trio, all 25 years of age and younger, were named as finalists this week for the 2004 U.S. Player of the Year award. Sponsored by auto maker Honda, the prize winner will be announced next month in Los Angeles. The competition is based solely on the player’s impact on the national team, and is voted upon by the American soccer media.
Donovan is a slight favorite to win his third straight gong; the San Jose Earthquakes attacker joins teammates Kasey Keller and Claudio Reyna and former U.S. international Alexi Lalas as individuals who were named finalists in three years in a row. No one in the 13-year old history of the award has won the title three times. Donovan has scored five goals in 2004 for the national team, and as of late spearheaded the nation’s successful qualification for the final round of CONCACAF in the World Cup.
But Donovan’s friend and teammate Beasley could stop the run. The 22 year-old duo have been teammates both on the youth and full international levels, but Beasley really came into his own in 2004 both for club and country. His move to PSV Eindhoven looks ready to develop the speedy winger’s abilities that much more, and his four goals this year and constant presence has helped the United States to a successful season. The Nats have only lost once in the calendar year, a 1-0 loss to the Netherlands in Amsterdam this past February.
Bocanegra has been a strong figure in defense, grabbing a starting role in the center while scoring a dramatic equalizer against Poland in July. The Fulham man and California native has become an important and versatile factor for Bruce Arena, who has used Bocanegra centrally and on the left. Bocanegra was a finalist last year, along with Donovan and Brian McBride.
Original Article written by Aris Ohanessian