With MLS Cup playoffs in full swing, it also means that we’re in the midst of award season as the build-up to who will win the Landon Donovan MVP award begins. MLS awards are voted on by a combination of media members, players and club executives with the three votes coming together to determine a winner. First up in announcements has been the Newcomer of the Year which sees Atlanta United forward Giorgos Giakoumakis win after joining the Five Stripes from Celtic during the summer. Giakoumakis becomes the second consecutive winner from Atlanta following in the footsteps of Thiago Almada, who won the award last year. Almada has also won an award for the second consecutive season capturing the Young Player of the Year award.
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Here’s what to know:
Newcomer of the Year
Pipping Lionel Messi for the award, Giakoumakis’ on field production of scoring 17 goals was enough to outpace Messi’s impact. The Argentine only appeared in six league matches due to injuries but was the more popular pick by the player vote at 35% to 34%. The other person in the running was Eduard Lowen who helped power St. Louis City SC to the top of the Western Conference. Giakoumakis became the second fastest player in league history to reach 10 goals accomplishing the feat in only 766 minutes behind only Mamadou Diallo who needed 750 to score 10 goals.
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Here are the other award finalists to be announced:
Young Player of the Year
One of the least surprising awards handed out may be this one considering that Almada was also nominated for MVP but he’s keeping things in the Atlanta United family with 12 goals and 16 assists to push the Five Stripes into a playoff spot. Earning call-ups for Argentina, it’s easy to forget that the attacking midfielder is only 22 as his star is rising by the day. From game winning free kicks to assists to feed newcomer of the year Giakoumakis it has been such an impressive season. The first ever MLS player to win the World Cup, it’ll be interesting to see how Almada is able to top this one.
Landon Donovan MVP
- Luciano Acosta (FC Cincinatti)
- Thiago Almada (Atlanta United)
- Denis Bouanga (Los Angeles FC)
Goalkeeper of the Year
- Roman Burki (St. Louis City SC)
- Pedro Gallese (Orlando City SC)
- Eoman Celetano (FC Cincinnati)
Defender of the Year
- Tim Parker (St. Louis City SC)
- Matt Miazga (FC Cincinnati)
- Yelmar Gomez Andrade (Seattle Sounders)
Comeback Player of the Year
- Miles Robinson (Atlanta United)
- Joao Paulo (Seattle Sounders)
- Alan Pulido (Sporting Kansas City)
Sigi Schmid Coach of the Year
- Pat Noonan (FC Cincinnati)
- Wilfried Nancy (Columbus Crew)
- Bradley Carnell (St. Louis City SC)