LAFC’s Diego Rossi named MLS is Back Young Player of the Tournament

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Los Angeles FC forward Diego Rossi (9) battles for the ball with Orlando City defender Antonio Carlos (25) during the second half of an MLS match, Friday, July 31, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. (John Raoux/AP)

Los Angeles FC forward Diego Rossi has been named the MLS is Back Young Player of the Tournament while Philadelphia’s Andre Blake won top goalkeeper honours.

Rossi, a 22-year-old Uruguayan, also won the tournament Golden Boot Award with seven goals, adding three assists. Toronto FC forward Ayo Akinola was third in young player voting.

Blake, who led all ‘keepers with 32 saves, was named winner of the MLS is Back Tournament Golden Glove Award. Vancouver’s Thomas Hasal, the Whitecaps third-stringer pressed into action due to an injury to starter Maxime Crepeau and the death of backup Bryan Meredith’s mother, was third.

Voting for both awards was split between the media (75 per cent of vote) and fans (25 per cent).

Rossi finished with 32.27 per cent of the vote, ahead of Philadelphia midfielder Brenden Aaronson (30.75), Akinola (21.77) and Orlando fullback Joao Moutinho (21.85).

Akinola, 20, scored five goals in his first two games.

Blake, with 46.86 per cent of the vote, edged out Orlando’s Pedro Gallese (44.59). The 21-year-old Hasal (4.59) and New England’s Matt Turner (2.78) finished well back.

Rossi scored four goals and added an assist in LAFC’s 6-2 victory over the city rival Galaxy on July 18. He had a goal and an assist in his team’s opening 3-3 draw against the Houston Dynamo on July 13, had two goals in a 4-1 victory over Seattle on July 27 in the round of 16, and finished with an assist in the penalty shootout loss to Orlando in the July 31 quarterfinals.

Players had to be age 22 or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1998) to be eligible for the young player award.

Blake opened the tournament with a seven-save shutout of New York City FC, one of two shutouts he recorded in the event. The Jamaican international also made five saves in a 1-0 shutout of the New England Revolution in the round of 16.

The Portland Timbers won the tournament, defeating Orlando 2-1 in Tuesday’s final.

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