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Villa, Wright-Phillips, Kljestan named MVP finalists to lead MLS award nominees

Photo by Vincent Carchietta/USA Today Sports

Photo by Vincent Carchietta/USA Today Sports

While all three MLS MVP finalists are well-deserving of the honor, one can’t help but notice a roughly 5’4-sized hole on the ballot.

As MLS announced its season award finalists, lead by New York City FC’s David Villa and the New York Red Bulls’ Bradley Wright-Phillips and Sacha Kljestan as MVP candidates, Toronto FC superstar Sebastian Giovinco was noticeably absent from consideration. The incredibly productive forward notched 17 goals and 15 assists to follow up his 2015 MVP campaign, but fell short as Villa (23 goals, 4 assists), Wright-Phillips (24 goals, 5 assists), and Kljestan (6 goals, 20 assists) earned the nods ahead of him.

NYCFC and the Red Bulls were prominent throughout the finalist lists, earning nominations in multiple categories, while Toronto FC was among those snubbed from all but the MLS Team Fair Play list.

Here’s the complete list of finalists:

2016 MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER AWARDS FINALISTS

Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player Finalists (December 6)

Sacha Kljestan (New York Red Bulls)
David Villa (New York City FC)
Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls)

Defender of the Year Finalists (November 11)

Matt Hedges (FC Dallas)
Axel Sjoberg (Colorado Rapids)
Jelle Van Damme (LA Galaxy)

Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year Finalists (November 17)

Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union)
Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids)
Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls)

Newcomer of the Year Finalists (November 21)

Ola Kamara (Columbus Crew SC)
Nicolas Lodeiro (Seattle Sounders FC)
Jelle Van Damme (LA Galaxy)

*For this award, “newcomer” is defined as a player with previous professional experience who made his MLS debut in 2016

AT&T Rookie of the Year Finalists (November 10)

Jack Harrison (New York City FC)
Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC)
Keegan Rosenberry (Philadelphia Union)

*For this award, “rookie” is defined as a player without previous professional experience who made his MLS debut in 2016

Coach of the Year Finalists (November 29)

Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids)
Oscar Pareja (FC Dallas)
Patrick Vieira (New York City FC)

Comeback Player of the Year Finalists

Frank Lampard (New York City FC)
Kevin Molino (Orlando City SC)
Chris Pontius (Philadelphia Union)

*Honors an MLS player who has overcome injuries and/or adversity in order to achieve success during the 2016 regular season

MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year, presented by Advocare, Finalists (November 3)

Matt Lampson (Chicago Fire)
Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls)
Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)

MLS Fair Play Finalists – Individual (November 4)

Chad Marshall (Seattle Sounders FC)
Keegan Rosenberry (Philadelphia Union)
Chris Tierney (New England Revolution)

*Selected by MLS based on objective criteria such as fouls committed, cards received, games and minutes played, as well as subjective evaluation of sportsmanlike behavior.

MLS Fair Play Finalists – Team (November 4)

*Selected by MLS based on objective criteria such as fewest fouls committed, cards received, and on subjective evaluation of sportsmanlike behavior.

Columbus Crew SC
Seattle Sounders FC
Toronto FC

Referee of the Year Finalists (November 4)

Alan Kelly
Jair Marrufo
Baldomero Toledo

Assistant Referee of the Year Finalists (November 4)

Frank Anderson
Ian Anderson
Eric Boria

7 comments
  • Rob

    Giovinco? Forget that! Where’s Jozy? I guess a goal every couple of games is not good enough for this list.

    Like

  • TheFrenchOne

    Giovinco’s omission is especially notable because two NYRB players made the list. Based on raw numbers, BWP and Villa seem deserving. SK had a fine season, but I’m unclear how he beats out Giovinco.

    I love Tim Howard, and he certainly has made an immediate impact for Colorado, but it would seem wrong to give this award to someone who only played half the season.

    Van Damme has to win the Defender of the Year award, right? That guy is rock solid on defense and so good at restarting the offense.

    I’d love to get more details on the nominees for the Humanitarian award. I guess I can go fetch that on the MLS website.

    Like

    • TheFrenchOne

      I took a look at the list of nominees over the past 20 years. Every season (except 2007), there was at least one American player who made the final list. I wonder if MLS feels some pressure to have at least one American in the running?

      As a side note, how crazy that Wondo beat out Henry for the MVP award in 2012…

      Like

    • UclaBruinGreat

      Van Damme should win Defender of Year and Newcomer of the year. Not even close. He’s a beast and super talented.

      Like

  • Dinho

    I do not understand why Giovinco would not be included, yet two players from NYRB are in there…

    Am I reading this right? He has 22 goals, and 16 assists this season?

    Ummm, what gives?

    Like

    • Dinho

      Oops, those were last year’s stats.
      But, this year is 17 goals, 15 assists?
      Again, what gives?

      Like

  • BrianK

    That Giovinco is not a finalist,…is laughable. 17 goals and 15 assists and he is not a finalist??? Wow.

    Like

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