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A closer look at the MLS MVP candidates

Mike Magee Chicago Fire (Chicago FIre)


There may only be a few weeks left in the MLS regular season, but that does not mean there is a clear understanding of who is this year’s Most Valuable Player.

In fact, it still seems up for grabs.

With the MLS season as tight as it has ever been (only one team has secured a playoff spot as of now), the question of who is the league’s MVP in 2013 is still a valid one. A lot can change between now and the end of the regular season and where teams finish in terms of reaching the playoffs or not could have a big impact on which player observers feel is most desrving.

All of this is not to say that there are no candidates worthy of taking the award today. On the contrary, there are several and that is why it may take the final few weeks of the regular season for some voters to decide who is the year’s Most Valuable Player.

Here is a closer look at the MLS MVP nominees:


Since joining the Chicago Fire via a trade from the LA Galaxy in May, the veteran forward has reinvigorated the Eastern Conference club that initially looked set for another subpar year. That has been no easy task, but Magee has made it look that way by scoring bountiful goals and providing a constant threat for the Fire’s offense just as he did while with the Galaxy at the start of the year. It has been a career season for Magee with 18 combined goals (12 for Chicago in 19 appearances, six for LA in 10), but he will likely need to push Frank Klopas’ side back into the playoff picture to have a serious shot at winning the award.


The Galaxy’s attack has been as dangerous as ever in 2013 and a lot of that is due to the play of Robbie Keane. Yes, Keane has benefitted from the return of a rejuvenated Landon Donovan but 15 goals and 11 assists in 20 appearances is nothing to sneeze at. Keane’s presence up top also helps create space for the likes of Donovan and co., something that may not show up on the stat sheet but is important in its own right now. Like Magee with the Fire, Keane will need to help LA assure it reaches the playoffs in order to avoid losing some votes.


The Montreal Impact may have slipped quite a bit at the end of the season, but that is no fault of Di Vaio. The Italian striker has been a monster up front for Montreal this season, scoring a league-high 19 goals in 29 matches. Many would argue that Di Vaio is singlehandedly the most important player in the league in terms of how his team fares when he is and isn’t on the field, and that could win him some votes. In any case, he is without a doubt one of the main reasons the Impact have enjoyed as good of a season as they have had and will be the one to make them go in the playoffs should they get there.


Ever since making his MLS debut back in March, there has been no denying that Valeri is one of the most skilled players in the league. The Argentine veteran has scored quality goals and delivered sublime assists and has been a vital cog in the Portland Timbers’ offensive renaissance this season. Eight goals and 12 assists may not be as eye-opening as Keane or Magee’s stats, but Valeri’s contributions for an exciting Timbers side are plenty deserving of winning the MVP honors, especially when considering how many other foreigners have struggled to adapt to MLS in their first years in the league.


If being the best player on the team that currently leads the league and has a playoff spot assured doesn’t get you recognition, not much will. Cahill may be the dark horse in this race, but the Australian international is worthy of consideration given his performances for the first-place New York Red Bulls. Not only has Cahill proven his DP status with a steady stream of strong performances on both sides of the ball, but he has also fought off two painful injuries to continue his impressive form. Adding to his case is that several of his team-high 10 goals this year have been decisive ones, such as his clutch stoppage-time header in this past weekend’s draw with the New England Revolution.


The Vancouver Whitecaps forward with the propensity for scoring spectacular goals might have seen his case weakened as their playoff hopes have diminished, but there is still no denying how crucial he has been for the club in 2013. Camilo has netted 18 times and added five assists this season, numbers that have played a big part in Vancouver even being in the hunt for a place in the postseason. Camilo could still win the Golden Boot this year and that would surely help his cause, but he probably will still need some big-time outings and goals (like this weekend’s against Portland) in the Whitecaps’ final matches to have any real shot at taking the award home.


Who is your pick for MLS MVP? Is there someone not on this list that you think deserves consideration?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I think Magee will win it if Chicago makes the playoffs and he wins golden boot. Keane and Donovan actually have some similar seasons- miss a lot and have great statistics while contributing much to the team. Valeri has contributed SO much more to Portland than people give him credit for. Here’s my MLS blog and my MVP race so you can see what I actually believe about the race’s candidates:

  2. Not sure I would pick him, maybe I would, but Magee is my favorite choice. Really turned a team around, just keeps scoring, Having a career year, so probably only chance at something like this.

    If you are going to include Cahill, there are a lot of other guys who should be there. Fagundez, Nagle, someone on Portland, Ozzie Alonso every year for eternity, etc.

  3. Magee He kept LA going early on when Donavon and Keane were not producing. Then he went to the Fire and since then, they have been a much better team. And he has scored a bunch of goals. To say he has had a big impact on the league standings is almost an understatement.

  4. Lamar Neagle has been utterly invaluable to the Sounders. Without his performance this season, they wouldn’t be anywhere near where they’re at.

  5. America is too concerned with statistics in sports. For me, the MVP is the player among the candidates whose absence would cost his team the most. Just because a player has a lot of goals does not mean he is the MVP.

    Give it to Keane or Cahill.

  6. No one has been more valuable to their team than Magee. It shouldn’t matter if Chicago makes the playoffs, they had 8 points from 11 games before Magee and 35 points in 20 games after the trade. That much of a change is amazing and should be rewarded regardless of whether they make the playoffs.

  7. If the Fire make the playoffs its gotta be Magee. Otherwise a toss up between Keane and Valeri. Both of these teams run through these players.

    • Di Vaio is the Italian Kenny Cooper, but instead of being set up by Henry he gets set up by refs not calling offsides, that is his whole game. Di Vaio getting MVP would be horrible for the game.

      • Seriously? I hate to say it, but the Galaxy “trading” for Rogers was aimed for publicity as much as it was for for soccer reasons (if not more). Magee was almost as valuable to the Galaxy as he is to the Fire.

        And, I’m a Galaxy fan. Bitter, party of one.

      • If the Fire make the playoffs Magee is the choice for MVP. Had Magee not arrived on the scene Toyotas current games might have been to half empty stadiums. Here is another Galaxy supporter who says if the Fire make the playoffs give it to the Chicago man. The record for the Fire with and without Magee is day and night.

      • One man’s trash is another’s treasure. Magee has earned it. Plus, he’s the only American on this short list. That will help him in the ballot box too.

      • One man’s trash?? Are you KIDDING ME!?!?!

        Magee was not the trash of LA, not by a long shot. Garber probably strong armed LA to make a trade for Rogers and Magee wanted to go home. Letting him go was stupid but to say that he was trash in LA shows how little you know about MLS or soccer. Just go back to your hole moron

      • How about a little relax? I doubt he actually meant that Magee was trash. It’s just an old saying. Or should he have put that in quotes for you?

        No need to get your lingerie up in a bunch, man.

      • Clearly, you have no idea what you’re talking about. This has been talked about endlessly. You must have missed the memo.

        Dinho: it’s more like Beating A Dead Horse, party of one.

  8. Anyone know if Ghana v Egypt home and away are going to be on actual old fashioned television in the states. I don’t think there has ever been a set of games in Africa that the US fan could be more in to.
    BeIn should be all over this

  9. For me, it’s Magee. Take him out of the lineup and we’re not even talking about the Fire at this point of the season. The other teams would have certainly taken a hit if they had lost their respective candidates, but they have other weapons to cover those players. By that logic, MM has made the greatest impact on this squad, ergo he’s the most valuable player of the group.

  10. Personally can’t see it being Di Vaio if you consider that about 25% of his goals come from plays in which he is in an offside position that go unflagged by the ARs.

  11. Franco, Looking at the top teams in the league, you picked candidates from 6 of them. If you had to pick an MVP from the other top teams, who would choose? Who’s the MVP of the Sounders, SKC, RSL (I already nominated Javi), and Colorado?

    • I’ll take a stab at this one…

      SKC: Graham Zusi, simply by virtue of the reality that they are a completely different team with him gone

      RSL: Javi, yep.

      Colorado: Clint Irwin for getting the team through the early rough spots to where they are now, but you could vote for Brown or Powers and I wouldn’t bat an eye.

      Seattle: Easy. GAM.

      • 1. Was the best player on his original team at the beginning of the year.
        2. Is the only reason his current team is in playoff contention.

        Might as well give it to Magee. You’re apparently the only one who doesn’t consider him a candidate. Tool.

  12. If RSL win out I could see a Javi Morales MVP. I consider him the dark horse though, behind Valeri, Keane, and Di Vaio, in that order.

  13. Cahill. If last year or the year before, Henry was the most skilled player on the team and McCarty the hardest worker, Cahill represents a superb combination of the two. He has led in every way imaginable – by performance, by example, by attitude, by selflessness.

    • Our future captain. Actually, he SHOULD have the captaincy right now! I wish Petke had let Cahill keep the armband in the aftermath of Petke v. Henry.

  14. I pray to the soccer gods that Mike Magee wins MVP and the Golden Boot. Then maybe, just maybe, someone in the LA FO will say to him or herself, “Perhaps that trade was a poor decision?”

    Yes, I am still bitter.


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