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NASR 2012 MLS Preseason Poll: Galaxy unanimous choice; Zusi & De Rosario leading Most Important Players

The North American Soccer Reporters unveiled today for the first time the Major League Soccer Preseason Poll, projecting the order of finish for the teams in the Eastern and Western Conferences during the 2012 season. As a part of the NASR poll, each of the voters also selected for each team a Most Important Player – the player that will have the greatest impact on the field or be the club’s biggest loss if unavailable to play (international call-ups, injury, suspension, transfer etc).

Finishing atop their respective conferences were the defending MLS Cup and Supporters’ Shield champion Los Angeles Galaxy and Sporting Kansas City. The Galaxy were the unanimous choice among the NASR members, receiving all 21 first-place votes in the Western Conference. Kansas City was just as clear cut of a choice as the top club in the Eastern Conference with 18 votes. The defending MLS Cup finalist Houston Dynamo received the three other first-place votes as they finished second in the poll.

The two conferences differed vastly in the voting with the Eastern Conference being much more wide-ranging compared to the Western Conference. Only three voters had a different club in the West other than the Galaxy, Seattle Sounders or Real Salt Lake in their top three selections. Following Kansas City, the Houston Dynamo, New York Red Bulls and Philadelphia Union each had at least five votes for second with the selections from third to sixth being spread amongst most of the rest of the field.

Leading the way as Most Important Players were Graham Zusi of SKC and 2011 MLS Most Valuable Player Dwayne De Rosario of DC United, who were each selected by 17 voters. Others reaching double digits were San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski (14), LA’s Landon Donovan (13), Houston’s Brad Davis (13), New York’s Thierry Henry (12), New England’s Shalrie Joseph (11), Toronto’s Danny Koevermans (10), Seattle’s Mauro Rosales and Dallas’ David Ferreira.

The most indecision came for Philadelphia and Vancouver. The Union had four players with at least three votes and the Whitecaps had four with at least four votes, along with a fifth receiving two. Chivas USA had the most players listed with eight being named.

Eastern Conference

Rank Points Club (1st Place Votes) Most Important Player (Votes)
1 207 Sporting Kansas City (18) Graham Zusi 17, CJ Sapong 2, Teal Bunbury, Aurelien Collin
2 172 Houston Dynamo (3) Brad Davis 13, Geoff Cameron 4, Tally Hall 2, Luiz Camargo, Brian Ching
3 155 New York Red Bulls Thierry Henry 12, Luke Rodgers 3, Joel Lindpere 2, Dane Richards 2, Wilman Conde
4 147 Philadelphia Union Danny Mwanga 6, Freddy Adu 5, Danny Califf 4, Zac MacMath 3, Gabriel Gomez, Roger Torres, Carlos Valdez
5 107 Chicago Fire Dominic Oduro 8, Sebastian Grazzini 5, Pavel Pardo 2, Sean Johnson 2, Orr Barouch, Marco Pappa, Rafael Robayo
6 103 DC United Dwayne De Rosario 17, Branko Boskovic, Andy Najar, Hamdi Salihi
7 89 Columbus Crew Eddie Gaven 7, Chad Marshall 6, Milovan Mirosevic 3, Dilly Duka, William Hesmer, Danny O’Rourke, Emilio Renteria
8 67 Toronto FC Danny Koevermans 10, Torsten Frings 4, Stefan Frei 2, Joao Plata 2, Ryan Johnson
9 65 New England Revolution Shalrie Joseph 11, Benny Feilhaber 6, Kelyn Rowe, Clyde Simms
10 28 Montreal Impact Davy Arnaud 7, Donovan Ricketts 6, Patrice Bernier 3, Justin Braun, Mike Fucito, Sanna Nyassi, Andrew Wenger

Western Conference

Rank Points Club (1st Place Votes) Most Important Player (Votes)
1 210 Los Angeles Galaxy (21) Landon Donovan 13, AJ DeLaGarza 4, David Beckham 2, Juninho, Robbie Keane
2 183 Seattle Sounders Mauro Rosales 10, Osvaldo Alonso 5, Fredy Montero 5, Eddie Johnson,
3 162 Real Salt Lake Javier Morales 7, Kyle Beckerman 6, Fabian Espindola 3, Alvaro Saborio 3, Nick Rimando
4 133 FC Dallas David Ferreira 10, Brek Shea 7, Kevin Hartman 3, Daniel Hernandez, Blas Perez
5 111 Portland Timbers Jack Jewsbury 3, Kris Boyd 8, Diego Chara 4, Franck Songo’o, Kalif Alhassan, Rodney Wallace, Troy Perkins 2
6 105 Vancouver Whitecaps Davide Chiumiento 5, Eric Hassli 5, Camilo Sanvezzo 4, Sebastien Le Toux 4, Jay DeMerit 2
7 90 San Jose Earthquakes Chris Wondolowski 14, Jon Busch 2, Simon Dawkins 2, Tressor Moreno 2
8 88 Colorado Rapids Omar Cummings 9, Jeff Larentowicz 5, Conor Casey 4, Pablo Mastroeni, Matt Pickens, Martin Rivero
9 46 Chivas USA Juan Pablo Angel 7, Dan Kennedy 5, Nick LaBrocca 2, Heath Pearce 2, Oswaldo Minda, James Riley, Ryan Smith, Peter Vagenas

Point Tabulation: Ten points awarded for first, nine for second, etc.

NASR Members who voted: Elliot Almond (San Jose Mercury News), Gerald Barnhart (TheCup.us), Steve Clare (Prost Amerika), Marc Connolly, JP Dellacamera, Sean Donahue (New England Soccer Today), Beau Dure (Sports Myriad), Jonah Freedman (MLSsoccer), Dan Gaichas (Windy City Soccer), Ives Galarcep (Soccer By Ives), Dan Girard (Toronto Star), Kip Kesgard (Oregon Live), Michael C Lewis (Salt Lake Tribune), Jose Romero, Steven Sandor (the11.ca), Phil Schoen (Gol TV), Orrin Schwarz (Daily Herald), Jonathan Tannenwald (Philly.com), Nick Thomas (MLSsoccer-Colorado), Jamie Trecker (Fox Soccer), Marc Weber (Vancouver Province).  Twitter for all NASR members in one spot – Twitter List [+]


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