By TRAVIS CLARK
TORONTO – Shortly after David Ferreira accepted the 2010 Major League Soccer Most Valuable Player award, he stood on the podium with the spotlight shining down upon him. The worst-kept secret in MLS was confirmed, as the 31-year-old Colombian was honored for a tremendous season.
FC Dallas is set to compete in MLS Cup on Sunday, with much of that due to the Colombian midfielder's year. Ferreira scored eight goals and assisted on 13 others during the regular seasno, pulling the strings for the FCD attack, and he is a player truly admired by Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman.
"What he brings is true professionalism," Hyndman said. "Every team he's been involved with has been able to find success. He trains extremely hard. Every day he shows up, and every day is like a game for him."
That professionalism has been a catalyst for FC Dallas on the field. Ferreira embodies the term diminuitive, standing just at 5-foot-5, weighing barely more than 150 pounds, and yet he excels despite being the most-fouled player in the league.
"He's completely solid," Hyndman said. "They call him the 'Little Bull.' He's quick, he fights, and he missed just one minute of the season, when I took him out to be honored by the crowd."
Despite his stature, Ferreira has proved to be the right fit after joining FC Dallas before the 2009 season, on loan from Brazilian club Atletico Parenaense. After a decent showing in his first year, Ferreira adapted to the league much better in 2010, displaying a flair and touch rarely seen in MLS.
"At the beginning it was very hard," Ferreira said through a translator. "I became prepared in the preseason, and just like any other league you adapt to the game, even though I experience a lot of fouls."
Through a year and a half, he's not only shown the ability to set up goals, but the ability to score plenty of them himself. He has 16 goals in his short time in Dallas.
"He wants to score goals, he wants to help the team win," Hyndman said.
Performance aside, it's been Ferreira's persona that seems to impress Hyndman the most and allows the Colombian to achieve such a level of success.
"The one area that surpasses everything in a professional athlete is character," Hyndman said. "Talent can talk you only so far, character will keep you there."
While the success of Dallas on the field is certainly a team effort, it's hard to overlook the contributions of Ferreira. In the series against Real Salt Lake, the midfielder had a hand in all three goals that unseated the defending league champions. He also scored the opening goal in the Western Conference final victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy. With one more game looming, Hyndman was asked if his team would be the same without the league MVP.
"I don't think you replace a player like a David Ferreira," he said. "If I'm playing against FC Dallas that's what I'm going to key in on."
While focus is on MLS Cup Sunday night, there's still a question of whether or not Ferreira will return to Dallas next season. He is still on loan from Atletico, though both sides indicated that they are interested in keeping the 2010 MLS MVP right where he is.
"I'm very happy in Dallas, in the city," Ferreira said. "They've treated me very well and I'd like to be there."
Ferreira outlasted finalists Edson Buddle and Chris Wondolowski in the MVP voting, respectively. Landon Donovan placed fourth, and Sebastien Le Toux finished in fifth.
What do you think of the MVP selection? Think anybody else deserved the honor more than Ferreira?
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