Major League Soccer continued handing out awards Friday, and except for a minor honor bestowed upon teenager Freddy Adu, D.C. United was shut out.
Players and officials were a little irritated by the lack of recognition following a late-season surge that propelled United into Sunday's MLS Cup final against Kansas City.
United forward Jaime Moreno appeared to be the favorite to win the MLS most valuable player award Thursday, but MetroStars midfielder Amado Guevara was named the winner. Moreno then seemed a shoo-in for the comeback player of the year honor Friday after getting seven goals and a league-high 14 assists following offseason back surgery, but San Jose forward Brian Ching (12 goals after rupturing an Achilles' tendon last year) won it.
"I don't want to denigrate the guys who won because they had great years," United President Kevin Payne said. "Obviously, we believe Jaime deserved both awards, but the most important award is the one they'll give out on Sunday. We'll let the other teams collect the crystal; we'll collect the silverware," meaning the championship trophy.
Adu was honored for being involved in the MLS play of the year -- his spectacular run and goal against Los Angeles in May. He did not, however, win the rookie of the year award; that honor, to no one's surprise, went to New England midfielder Clint Dempsey.
Columbus's Greg Andrulis beat out United's Peter Nowak and Kansas City's Bob Gansler for coach of the year. Colorado's Joe Cannon was named the top goalkeeper and Columbus's Robin Fraser the best defender. Dwayne DeRosario of San Jose was honored for the goal of the year, a volley from the top of the penalty area against United in August.
The MetroStars' Eddie Pope (fair play) and Colorado's Chris Henderson (humanitarian) were also honored. The league's Best XI (essentially, the all-pro team) will be unveiled Saturday at a gala at Universal Studios.
Dallas in 2005
Dallas will host the 2005 championship game at its new stadium in suburban Frisco, Tex., MLS Commissioner Don Garber announced. The facility will open early next season and provide the club, which recently changed its name from the Dallas Burn to FC Dallas, a permanent home after playing at the cavernous Cotton Bowl for eight years and a small stadium with artificial turf in Southlake, Tex., for one season.
New England and Los Angeles have hosted the final three times apiece, and Washington has been chosen twice. Columbus was the site once. . . .
MLS will conduct its expansion draft next Friday to supply players for the new clubs in Salt Lake City and Los Angeles. Each of those teams will make 10 picks from a list of about 70 unprotected players. The current clubs must submit their list of 12 protected players early next week. No team can lose more than three players. . . .
Trade talks are beginning to intensify around the league, the biggest potential deal being a multiplayer exchange between the MetroStars and Chicago Fire, a source close to both teams said Friday. Among the players being mentioned is Chicago striker Ante Razov, one of the top scorers in league history. . . .
Ticket sales for Sunday's match surpassed 20,000 on Friday, ahead of last year's pace prior to the San Jose-Chicago final at Home Depot Center. Capacity is 27,000. United officials said they expect about 500 of their fans to attend the match. Thanks in part to Adu's presence, the number of accredited media has jumped to around 220 compared to 150 last year.