MLS announced the finalists for its year-end awards on Wednesday, and if you’re a fan of Atlanta United, you’ll be happy to know that the team landed several representatives on the list.
- The big award - MVP - saw Miguel Almiron and Josef Martinez named among the five finalists with LA Galaxy’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic, D.C. United’s Wayne Rooney and LAFC’s Carlos Vela. In all honestly, this probably won’t turn out to be much of a contest and should go to Martinez based on his Golden Boot campaign and Atlanta’s place as the second seed in the East, although a case could be made for Rooney and his role in helping D.C. enjoy a turnaround season. I would say that Zlatan deserved a look, but the Galaxy’s choke job against Houston to miss the playoffs (while not his fault) didn’t help his chances.
- Michael Parkhurst is a finalist for Defender of the Year with Seattle’s Chad Marshall and the Red Bulls’ Aaron Long. Parkhurst has, for the most part, put in another strong season at centerback beside Leandro Gonzalez Pirez. But is it enough to get him his second DotY? Time will tell.
- Finally, Tata Martino was named a Coach of the Year finalist with Bob Bradley and Peter Vermes. Credit belongs to Bradley for his work with LAFC in its expansion season in his return to MLS, and in fairness it might be a close call between him and Martino. However, Martino and Atlanta have had more sustained success over the course of the season, relatively speaking.
A couple of puzzling things I noticed:
—Where are Chris Armas and Brian Schmetzer on the Coach of the Year finalist lists? Granted, Armas didn’t coach RBNY the entire year, but he deserves credit for helping the club maintain, if not exceed, its level of play after Jesse Marsch’s departure for Leipzig. Schmetzer not being there at all makes even less sense: the Sounders went 15-2-2 in its final 19 matches!
—Zlatan is a finalist for MLS comeback player of the year. Yes, that’s a thing that actually happened. By the way, per the league itself, the award is to “honor an MLS player who has overcome injuries and/or adversity in order to achieve success during the 2018 regular season”. OK.
What are your thoughts? Who has the best chance of landing an award? Let us know in the comments.