Canadian teams essentially shut out of MLS annual awards


Sebastian Giovinco in action for Toronto FC. (Amil Delic/Sportsnet)

TORONTO — Canadian teams were all but shut out of the MLS awards, whose finalists were announced Tuesday.

Toronto striker Sebastian Giovinco, last year’s MVP, did not make the final three this year. The Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player trophy will go to either Sacha Kljestan or Bradley Wright-Phillips of the New York Red Bulls or David Villa of New York City FC.

Giovinco missed six games through injury in 2016 but still managed to tie for third in goals (17) and second in assists (15). Wright-Phillips won the Golden Boot award as the league’s top goal-scorer with 24, one ahead of Villa. Playmaker Kljestan led the league with 20 assists.

Montreal’s Ignacio Piatti, who had a marvellous season with 17 goals and six assists, also missed out.

Toronto was chosen as a finalist for the team MLS Fair Play award along with Columbus Crew SC and the Seattle Sounders FC.

Defender of the year, won in 2015 by Montreal’s Laurent Ciman, will be contested by Matt Hedges of FC Dallas, Axel Sjoberg of the Colorado Rapids and Jelle Van Damme of the Los Angeles Galaxy. Toronto fans may have hoped veteran centre back Drew Moor would merit consideration.

The goalkeeper of the year finalists are Andre Blake of the Philadelphia Union, Tim Howard of the Colorado Rapids and Luis Robles of the Red Bulls.

The finalists for coach of the year include Oscar Pareja, who led FC Dallas to the best regular-season record (17-8-9) and the U.S. Open Cup championship. His competition comes from Colorado’s Pablo Mastroeni and New York City FC’s Patrick Vieira, whose teams rose dramatically up the standings in 2016.

The finalists for top newcomer — as a player with previous pro experience who made his MLS debut in 2016 –are Ola Kamara of Columbus Crew SC, Nico Lodeiro of the Seattle Sounders and Van Damme. Giovinco won in 2015.

Rookie of the year is between Jack Harrison of New York City FC, Jordan Morris of the Seattle Sounders and Keegan Rosenberry of the Philadelphia Union. Canadian forward Cyle Larin of Orlando City won the award last year.

The comeback player of the year finalists are Frank Lampard of NYCFC, Kevin Molino of Orlando City SC and Philadelphia’s Chris Pontius.

The MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year Award is between Robles, Matt Lampson of the Chicago Fire and Gyasi Zardes of the L.A. Galaxy.

The winners will be revealed starting Thursday, with the MVP announced Dec. 6.

Voting was conducted by current MLS players, MLS clubs (coaches, technical directors, chief business officers and PR directors) and media.

Awards Announcements Schedule:

Nov. 3: MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year, presented by Advocare

Nov. 4: MLS Referee and Assistant Referee of the Year; Fair Play Award – Individual and Team

Nov. 10: AT&T Rookie of the Year

Nov. 11: MLS Defender of the Year; AT&T Goal of the Year and MLS Save of the Year

Nov. 16: MLS Comeback Player of the Year

Nov. 17: Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year

Nov. 21: Newcomer of the Year

Nov. 29: MLS Coach of the Year

Dec. 6: Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player


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