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

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

Major League Soccer

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

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