Henry, who had five goals and three assists for the New York Red Bulls through the club’s first four matches, got 17 of the 25 first-place votes from the membership of the North American Soccer Reporters. Vancouver Whitecaps’ keeper Joe Cannon — who has yet to give up a goal this season — finished second in the voting.
But it wasn’t close. Henry got 17 first-place votes, Cannon got… ahem… three.
As is the case with weekly award voting, defenders and goaltenders really need to stick out to convince voters not to go with hot goal-scorers. After all, the first thing people look at it in the highlight reels, whether they be fans or journalists, are goals.
How The 11 voted: We were one of the three minority votes for Cannon. As impressive as Henry’s start to the season has been, the Red Bulls didn’t get points from their first two matches. The Whitecaps got points in all four of theirs.
Without some stupendous saves from Cannon, the Whitecaps don’t win at Chivas, don’t get single points out of their games with D.C. United and Philadelphia. His save against Chivas before he left the game with an injury — stretching to tip Casey Townsend’s effort away from danger — was magnificent. His diving effort to deny D.C. United’s Hamdi Salihi was even better, going to his left to get to a headed ball that was driven down into the turf.
Because Cannon’s efforts can be directly linked to points in all four games for the Whitecaps, no player was as valuable to his team in March as Cannon was to Vancouver. At least that’s how The 11 felt.