Dallas, Texas - Major League Soccer announced today the 2004 finalists for the MLS Honda Most Valuable Player, the MLS Defender of the Year and the MLS Comeback Player of the Year. FC Dallas midfielder Ronnie O'Brien was one of three nominees for the Comeback Player of the Year award, becoming the first player to be nominated for this award in franchise history. The 2004 MLS Honda MVP will be announced on ESPNews on Thursday, November 11 at 3 p.m. CST, while the winners of the other awards will be unveiled in the week leading up to MLS Cup 2004.
"Ronnie had an excellent season for us last year after battling back from a devastating injury the year before," said FC Dallas President and General Manager Greg Elliott. "We are proud of the determination and perseverance he exhibited this past season."
O'Brien, 25, started the first three matches of the 2003 season before suffering a broken right tibia on May 3. After missing the next 24 matches due to the injury, O'Brien returned to appear in the final three matches of the 2003 season.
In 2004 with the Dallas Burn, O'Brien started in all 29 matches he played in with the team and tied for second in the MLS in assists (10). Along with leading the team in assists, O'Brien ranked tied for second on the squad in points (14), second in shots (67) and second in shots on goal (30). The Dublin, Ireland native was selected to start in his first MLS Al-Star Game in July and was also named MLS Player of the Week after contributing to three Dallas goals on August 28.
In three seasons with Dallas, O'Brien has appeared in 46 matches, tallying five goals and 12 assists for 22 points. He was originally acquired by Dallas after being signed as a Discovery Player on July 12, 2002.
The other two Comeback Player of the Year finalists are Brian Ching of the San Jose Earthquakes and Jaime Moreno of D.C. United.