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Hartman named MLS Player of the month… is he MVP material?

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Kevin Hartman

With four shutouts in six MLS matches in July, FC Dallas keeper Kevin Hartman added to his already-league-record total of clean sheets.

And, in a month that was dominated by some great goalkeeping performances around the league, Hartman was named MLS Player of the Month after the ballots from the North American Soccer Reporters were counted.

Included in his Hartman’s resume was a five-stop clean-sheet win over Toronto FC at BMO Field.

Hartman now has 105 clean sheets. He has 11 this season, and is on pace to break Tony Meola’s record of 16 in a season. Meola is the only keeper in MLS history to be named MVP; he did it in the Wizards’ championship season of 2000. If Hartman breaks the record, you have to consider him one of the front-runner for MVP in 2011.

Not bad for a player that Dallas acquired last year from the Kansas City Wizards in deal that was maade to placate the MLS Players’ Union, who contended in the then-heated Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations that out-of-contract players who weren’t signed by their old teams didn’t have the freedom to find work with other clubs. Hartman wanted more money from Kansas City, didn’t get it, and wasn’t resigned. FC Dallas brought him in to be a back-up. He won the starting job and hasn’t looked back since.

How The 11 voted: As stated earlier, July was the month of keepers in MLS. In addition to Hartman, San Jose’s Jon Busch — who led the league with 32 saves in July —— and Houston’s Tally Hall were also finalists for the award.

The 11’s first-place vote went to Hall, with the second-place nod going to Hartman.

Hall’s numbers weren’t as gaudy as Hartman’s, but his .800 save percentage and his performances in two draws that the Dynamo deserved to lose — a 0-0 with the Colorado Rapids and a 1-1 result with Sporting Kansas City where Houston was reduced to nine men — were stellar. No one had as many highlight-reel saves this month as Hall.

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