SBI MLS MVP: Sebastian Giovinco

SBI MLS MVP: Sebastian Giovinco

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SBI MLS MVP: Sebastian Giovinco

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Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY Sports

Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY Sports

Sebastian Giovinco’s first season in MLS turned out to be one of absolute domination.

Acquired by Toronto FC heading into the 2015 season, Giovinco proved to be everything the club hoped for and more. Kickstarting TFC’s attack from the get-go, Giovinco finished 2015 with the league lead in both goals and assists, earning the Italian star recognition as SBI MLS Most Valuable Player.

When assessing Giovinco’s 2015 campaign, it’s hard to look past the numbers. With 22 goals and 16 assists to his name, Giovinco established himself as the premier offensive weapon in MLS, while his 181 shots proved to be 43 more than any other player in the league.

Still, the numbers do little justice to just how vital Giovinco was to TFC’s first ever push into the postseason. With Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley out for long stretches throughout the season, Giovinco carried TFC throughout the summer while making what proved to be a seamless transition to a new team, league and country.

Giovinco’s heroics, which produced seven game-winning goals on the season, were more than enough to earn the diminutive Italian further SBI honors after previously being recognized as SBI MLS Newcomer of the Year.

Here is a rundown of the other candidates for the SBI MLS MVP award, as chosen by the SBI Editorial Staff:

2. KEI KAMARA

Kei Kamara returned to MLS this past season as a much better player than the one that left back in 2013. Tying the league lead with 22 goals, Kamara proved to be the missing piece of a Crew attack that sits just one game away from an MLS Cup appearance. In addition to the pure goalscoring numbers, Kamara’s partnership with Federico Higuain and Ethan Finlay diversified a Crew attack, one that is now regarded among the league’s best with the hulking forward leading the charge.

3. BENNY FEILHABER

Benny Feilhaber has long been regarded as one of the U.S.’s most creative players, but the Sporting KC midfielder took his play to another level in 2015. Feilhaber contributed 10 goals and 15 assists in 2015, contributing to over half of his club’s goals this season. A menace in the middle of the field, Feilhaber’s ability to split open defenses time and time again proved all too valuable in what was by far the midfielder’s best professional season to date.

4. SACHA KLJESTAN

The 2015 New York Red Bulls proved to be much better than anyone expected, and Sacha Kljestan was a main reason why. With superstars Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill departing before the season, Kljestan stepped in to become the Red Bulls’ primary playmaker and leader on the attacking end of the field. With eight goals and 14 assists to his credit, Kljestan spearheaded the league’s best midfield unit while helping to vault the Red Bulls to the club’s second Supporters’ Shield.

5. MAURO DIAZ

FC Dallas’ youth renaissance was one of the stories of the 2015 season, and Mauro Diaz proved to be the leader of that movement. Registering eight goals and 10 assists as a No. 10, the 24-year-old’s ability to play the splitting pass as well as best defenders on his own proved all too vital for FC Dallas in 2015. Limited to just 24 games due to injury, Diaz still proved to be one of the league’s most skilled players while lifting FC Dallas to the top spot in the Western Conference table.

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What do you think of our selection? Which player stood out to you as MVP in 2015?

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