LA Galaxy forward Robbie Keane, Seattle Sounders forward Obafemi Martins and New England Revolution midfielder Lee Nguyen are the three finalists for Major League Soccer's 2014 Most Valuable Player award, the league announced Thursday.
MLS also revealed the finalists for 11 other awards. Current players, club staff (coaches, front office members, etc.) and media are polled to determine award finalists.
For the first time since 2010, all three MVP candidates are still eligible to win MLS Cup. Keane's Galaxy and Martins' Sounders meet in the Western Conference final, while Nguyen's Revolution will take on the New York Red Bulls in the Eastern Conference final.
Keane has scored 19 goals and tallied 14 assists this year, both high marks since he came to MLS in 2011. Martins has scored 17 goals and 13 assists for Seattle this season, his best year in MLS, while Nguyen has notched a career-best 18 goals and eight assists this year.
Notably absent from the list is New York Red Bulls forward Bradley Wright-Phillips, who scored a record-tying 27 goals this season.
Tesho Akindele (FC Dallas), Steven Birnbaum (D.C. United) and Harrison Shipp (Chicago Fire) are the three finalists for Rookie of the Year.
The finalists for Coach of the Year are Gregg Berhalter (Columbus Crew), Sigi Schmid (Seattle Sounders) and Ben Olsen (D.C. United), the latter of whom led his club to the best record in the Eastern Conference a year after finishing last in the league with only 16 points. If Schmid wins the award, it would be his third Coach of the Year title, leveling him with LA Galaxy coach Bruce Arena.
Charlie Davies (New England Revolution), Stefan Frei (Seattle Sounders) and Rodney Wallace (Portland Timbers) were nominated for Comeback Player of the Year, while Steve Clark (Columbus Crew), Bill Hamid (D.C. United) and Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake) were nominated for Goalkeeper of the Year.
U.S. men's national team regular Jermaine Jones (New England Revolution) is among three finalists for Newcomer of the Year, along with Stefan Ishizaki (LA Galaxy) and Pedro Morales (Vancouver Whitecaps).
MLS will reveal the winners of individual awards periodically from Nov. 24 to Dec. 4. The full schedule, according to the league's announcement, is below:
Nov. 24: AT&T Rookie of the Year, Xbox Fair Play Individual and Team of the Year
Nov. 25: MLS Defender of the Year, MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year, and Referee/Assistant Referee of the Year
Dec. 2: MLS Coach of the Year, Comeback Player of the Year and MLS Best XI
Dec. 3: Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year, Newcomer of the Year and Volkswagen MLS MVP
Dec. 4: AT&T Goal of the Year, MLS Save of the Year
MLS play resumes this Sunday with the first leg of the league's conference finals.
- Stanley Kay