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SBI MLS MVP: David Villa

Photo by Vincent Carchietta/USA Today Sports
Photo by Vincent Carchietta/USA Today Sports

The 2016 MLS season was very kind to New York City FC forward David Villa.

The Spaniard finished the campaign with 23 goals and four assists in 33 appearances as he helped NYCFC qualify for the postseason for the first time. Those accomplishments have led to Villa being named the SBI MLS Most Valuable Player of 2016.

Even though NYCFC was eventually ousted by Toronto FC in the Eastern Conference semifinal, there is no doubt that Villa was heavily influential. If it wasn’t for his goal-scoring exploits, City wouldn’t have finished in second place in the East.

The 35-year-old has scored 41 goals in 65 regular-season games in his MLS career.

Here is a look at the rest of the nominees.

2. Bradley Wright-Phillips

New York Red Bulls striker Bradley Wright-Phillips won his second Golden Boot in three seasons this year after scoring 24 goals in 34 matches. Wright-Phillips became the first player in MLS history to record two 20-goal campaigns. The Englishman began the regular season with a seven-game drought, but he recovered to guide the Red Bulls to the top of the Eastern Conference. Unfortunately for the 31-year-old, he narrowly missed out on the SBI MLS MVP honors to Villa.

3. Sebastian Giovinco

Sebastian Giovinco had a record-setting 2015 for Toronto FC. Even though he missed six games, Giovinco still finished with 17 goals and 15 assists. Once again, he was vital to TFC’s campaign and has helped guide the Canadian club to the MLS Cup final. In the end, the matches the Italian missed cost him the SBI MLS MVP award. Otherwise, he would be a very strong contender.

4. Sacha Kljestan

The MLS assists leader, along with Bradley Wright-Phillips, was a key player during the New York Red Bulls’ 2016 season. Sacha Kljestan recorded 20 assists, the second player in league history to accomplish the feat. Kljestan’s form even led to a recall to the U.S. Men’s National Team. However, the scoring exploits of Villa, Wright-Phillips and Giovinco leaves him at No. 4 in the voting.

5. Ignacio Piatti

The Montreal Impact ace was the most underrated of the five nominees. Ignacio Piatti tied Giovinco in goals with 17 and added six assists, which are very impressive numbers given that Piatti played out wide or in a central midfield role. If not for the Argentine, the Impact may not have reached the postseason and qualified for its first-ever conference final.


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