Quietly — or not so quietly, if you’re a Houston Dynamo fan — Brad Davis is putting together the type of season that has many talking about a national team call-up and a run at the league’s Most Valuable Player award.
The left-footed winger has become the engine that makes the Dynamo run in 2011. With three goals and a league-best (and career-high) 13 assists, the 29-year-old is one of the best in the league at creating chances, despite defenses game-planning to eliminate the winger’s signature service.
“He’s risen to be the man and is the go-to guy,” said Corey Ashe. “I think everybody knows he hits set pieces as one of the best in the league and is just a very good overall player. He’s got that confidence and kind of has that swagger about him, and it helps us.”
While the stats draw attention, to his teammates, Davis’ contribution in the leadership department stands out. One of the last remaining players who came with the club from San Jose six years ago, Davis has come to embrace the role. One of the steps he took to step into that leadership position has been a commitment to improving his fitness. Davis has logged 2,000 minutes for the third season in a row, a feat he achieved just once in his first six years in the league.
“I felt like I was a young kid and I could get away with anything,” Davis said of his early career. “I felt my talent was there, but I was injured way too much to really help my team do anything. So I took it into my own hands and have been really paying attention and working out hard, and now I’m starting to really reap the benefits of that. I didn’t realize how important it was and what I needed to be doing.”
Fit and providing an all-around presence on the field, Davis has played his way into serious consideration for the league’s MVP award. His ability to create scoring chances — according to Opta, Davis leads the league in that category by a wide margin — has put Davis squarely in the conversation for the award and a possible national team call-up. With eight games left in the regular season and a playoff run looking more and more likely, Davis has a chance to push this season to new heights.
“If you’re a player and you take pride in what you do, you want people to recognize what you do,” Davis said. “Most importantly, though, you want to help your team win, and that’s what you’re out there to do.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter at @Dynamoexaminer.