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Carles Gil, Ricardo Pepi and Miles Robinson among the finalists for MLS season awards


The 2021 MLS regular season is in the rearview mirror and the league announced its finalists for several end-of-season awards on Monday.

Several top awards will be decided in the coming weeks including the league’s MVP award, Goalkeeper of the Year, Defender of the Year, and Young Player of the Year. Current MLS players, club technical staffs (coaches, technical directors, and General Managers), and a select group of media members will vote for the winners of 10 different awards.

The Landon Donovan MVP award is the highly-anticipated on the list with five players from playoff teams in the running. Nashville SC’s Hany Mukhtar, New York City FC’s Valentin Castellanos, New England Revolution’s Carles Gil, Seattle Sounders’ Joao Paulo, and Sporting Kansas City’s Daniel Salloi round out the five finalists for the league’s best player award.

Both 2020 winner Andre Blake and runner-up Matt Turner return in the race for the Goalkeeper of the Year award, while the pair is joined by Nashville SC’s Joe Willis in the running. All three goalkeepers led their respective clubs to top-three finishes in the Eastern Conference, while Willis (13) and Blake (12) each registered double-digit clean sheets.

The Young Player of the Year award might be the hardest to pick with all three finalists excelling during the 2021 regular season. FC Dallas forward Ricardo Pepi registered 13 goals this season, while New England winger Tajon Buchanan contributed eight goals and five assists for the Supporters’ Shield winners. L.A. Galaxy defender Julian Araujo took major steps in his career, registering seven assists for the Western Conference club.

Here’s a closer look at the finalists for all ten awards:


  • Valentin Castellanos (NYCFC)
  • Hany Mukhtar (Nashville SC)
  • Carles Gil (New England Revolution)
  • Daniel Salloi (Sporting Kansas City)
  • Joao Paulo (Seattle Sounders)

Goalkeeper of the Year

  • Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union)
  • Matt Turner (New England Revolution)
  • Joe Willis (Nashville SC)

Defender of the Year

  • Yeimar Gomez (Seattle Sounders)
  • Miles Robinson (Atlanta United)
  • Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC)

Newcomer of the Year

  • Cristian Arango (LAFC)
  • Ryan Gauld (Vancouver Whitecaps)
  • Eduardo ‘Chofis’ López (San Jose Earthquakes)

Young Player of the Year

  • Tajon Buchanan (New England Revolution)
  • Ricardo Pepi (FC Dallas)
  • Julian Araujo (L.A. Galaxy)

Comeback Player of the Year

  • Daniel Salloi (Sporting Kansas City)
  • Carles Gil (New England Revolution)
  • Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez (L.A. Galaxy)

Humanitarian of the Year

  • Julian Araujo (L.A Galaxy)
  • Brad Stuver (Austin FC)
  • Justin Morrow (Toronto FC)

Coach of the Year

  • Bruce Arena (New England Revolution)
  • Robin Fraser (Colorado Rapids)
  • Brian Schmetzer (Seattle Sounders)

Referee of the Year

  • Jair Marrufo
  • Robert Sibiga
  • Armando Villarreal

Assistant Referee of the Year

  • Frank Anderson
  • Ian Anderson
  • Cory Richardson

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