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Best of MLS to be crowned as 2016 End of Year Award Finalists are revealed

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: MLS Communications
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Best of MLS to be crowned as 2016 End of Year Award Finalists are revealed
 
Landon Donovan MLS MVP comes down to electric New York trio of Sacha Kljestan, David Villa and Bradley Wright-Phillips
 
NEW YORK (Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016) – Major League Soccer today announced the finalists for the 2016 End of Year Awards, honoring the league’s top performers during the 2016 MLS regular season.
 
Setting up a closely contested race for the 2016 Landon Donovan MLS MVP Award, the finalists come down to an impressive trio of New Yorkers. Featuring the most dangerous attacking duo the league has seen over the past two years, finalists include New York Red Bulls’ Bradley Wright-Phillips and New York City FC’s David Villa (82 combined goals, 2015-2016), and Red Bulls midfielder and league assist leader Sacha Kljestan.
 
Wright-Phillips put in another stunning performance in 2016, claiming his second career MLS Golden Boot with 24 regular season tallies.  His 69 goals scored over four seasons cemented his place in the Red Bulls’ history books, becoming the club’s all-time leading goal scorer. Alongside the Englishman, U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder Kljestan proved to be indispensable for the Red Bulls, recording a league-best 20 assists, the second highest single-season mark in MLS history. The standout performances from the Red Bulls pair helped NYRB qualify for the playoffs for a seventh consecutive season and finish first in the Eastern Conference for a second straight year.
 
Across the river, Spain’s all-time leading goal scorer and FIFA World Cup winner produced some magic of his own, finishing just one tally short of the Golden Boot with 23 goals. Villa’s performance this season led New York City FC to its first playoff appearance in the club’s sophomore season, and a notable second-place finish in the East. The first player to sign an NYCFC contract, Villa is currently tied with Wright-Phillips for the most goals scored over the past two seasons with a combined 41 goals in 63 regular season appearances.
 
In a similarly tight contest, the finalists for MLS Coach of the Year include FC Dallas boss and Supporters’ Shield winner Oscar Pareja, who led the Texas club to the best regular season record in 2016 (17-8-9, 60 points), as well as a U.S. Open Cup championship. Also in the conversation are two coaches who led remarkable turnarounds for their respective clubs in 2016. After ending the 2015 season last in the Western Conference, Colorado Rapids coach Pablo Mastroeni brought his former club to great heights as runner-ups in the Supporters’ Shield race, while first-year MLS coach Patrick Vieira led NYCFC to a second-place finish in the East after ending the previous season 17th overall.  
 
All but one of the remaining eight teams in the Audi 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs have at least one award finalist, with New York City FC, New York Red Bulls, Philadelphia Union (eliminated from the Playoffs following the Knockout Round), and Seattle Sounders FC leading the overall count with four finalists each.
 
The finalists for each award are listed in alphabetical order below, as well as the announcement schedule for the winner of each.
 
The finalists earned the most votes in polling of three voting groups:
  • Current MLS players
  • MLS Clubs (Coaches, Technical Directors, Chief Business Officers and PR Directors)
  • Media members who consistently covered the 2016 MLS Regular Season
 
The AT&T Goal of the Year and MLS Save of the Year will be decided by online voting at MLSsoccer.com from now through November 11.  
 
2016 Major League Soccer Awards Finalists
(Listed in alphabetical order by last name within each award category)
 
Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player Finalists
Sacha Kljestan (New York Red Bulls)
David Villa (New York City FC)
Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls)
 
Defender of the Year Finalists
Matt Hedges (FC Dallas)
Axel Sjoberg (Colorado Rapids)
Jelle Van Damme (LA Galaxy)
 
Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year Finalists
Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union)
Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids)
Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls)
 
Newcomer of the Year Finalists
For this award, “newcomer” is defined as a player with previous professional experience who made his MLS debut in 2016
Ola Kamara (Columbus Crew SC)
Nico Lodeiro (Seattle Sounders FC)
Jelle Van Damme (LA Galaxy)
 
AT&T Rookie of the Year Finalists
For this award, “rookie” is defined as a player without previous professional experience who made his MLS debut in 2016
Jack Harrison (New York City FC)
Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC)
Keegan Rosenberry (Philadelphia Union)
 
Coach of the Year Finalists
Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids)
Oscar Pareja (FC Dallas)
Patrick Vieira (New York City FC)
 
Comeback Player of the Year Finalists
Honors an MLS player who has overcome injuries and/or adversity in order to achieve success during the 2016 regular season
Frank Lampard (New York City FC)
Kevin Molino (Orlando City SC)
Chris Pontius (Philadelphia Union)
 
MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year, presented by Advocare, Finalists
Matt Lampson (Chicago Fire)
Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls)
Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)
 
MLS Fair Play Finalists – Individual
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.
Chad Marshall (Seattle Sounders FC)
Keegan Rosenberry (Philadelphia Union)
Chris Tierney (New England Revolution)
 
MLS Fair Play Finalists - Team
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
Alan Kelly
Jair Marrufo
Baldomero Toledo
 
Assistant Referee of the Year Finalists
Frank Anderson
Ian Anderson
Eric Boria
 
Awards Announcements Schedule:
Schedule subject to change
November 3: MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year, presented by Advocare
November 4: MLS Referee and Assistant Referee of the Year; Fair Play Award – Individual and Team
November 10: AT&T Rookie of the Year
November 11: MLS Defender of the Year; AT&T Goal of the Year and MLS Save of the Year
November 16: MLS Comeback Player of the Year
November 17: Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year
November 21: Newcomer of the Year
November 29: MLS Coach of the Year
December 6: Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player
TBD: MLS Best XI