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Dirty South Soccer’s Midseason MLS Awards

Who leads the races for Major League Soccer’s individual awards?

MLS: San Jose Earthquakes at Atlanta United FC Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

With Major League Soccer at it’s midway point, it is time to start handing out midseason awards for some of the league’s biggest or most underrated names.

The first half of the season provided us with some great storylines and plenty of players have stepped up to stake their claim for individual honors.

Best Newcomer: Miguel Almiron, Atlanta United

There are plenty of candidates for best newcomer this season but it’s hard to look past Miguel Almiron and his impact on Atlanta. With 8 goals and 6 assists so far, Almiron has electrified for Atlanta and continues to turn heads around the league. Almiron gets the nod here ahead of other newcomers because he’s been the main cog in Atlanta’s attacking machine.

Best Defender: Ike Opara, Sporting KC

Sporting Kansas City sit in first place in the Western Conference and have the best defense in Major League Soccer, allowing just 13 goals this season. That incredible record so far can be partially credited to Opara, who has been rock solid at the back.

Best Goalkeeper: Tim Melia, Sporting KC

It’s hard to go away from Sporting Kansas City with this award, especially with the aforementioned defensive record. Melia has been superb in goal and his performances have kept Sporting KC top of the West.

MVP: Nemanja Nikolic, Chicago Fire

There are plenty of names that can be discussed in the MVP debate, including Nikolic’s teammate Dax McCarty, but Nikolic’s 16 goals have fired Chicago to top spot in the Eastern Conference. The Hungarian striker has been clinical and ruthless in front of goal, leading the league in scoring as Chicago continue to shock the rest of the league. It’d be unfair to give Nikolic the MVP and the best newcomer, so we’re spreading the love around.

MLS: Orlando City SC at Chicago Fire Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Rookie of the Year: Julian Gressel, Atlanta United

Gresselmania took off this season and with good reason as Julian Gressel has been excellent in his debut season in MLS. The 23-year old German has 3 goals and 6 assists on the season and he fits in perfectly with the league’s most dangerous attack.

Goal of the Season: Ike Opara, Sporting KC vs LA Galaxy

It’s tough to describe just how good Opara’s bicycle kick was against LA Galaxy because the technique and timing were perfect. Instead of trying to describe it, take a look:

The Yamil Asad Award: Yamil Asad, Atlanta United

Asad has been great this season for Atlanta, he seems to have fallen in love with the city of Atlanta, and the fans adore him. As one of the most underrated players in MLS this season, Yamil Asad gets his very own award for being...Yamil Asad.