Lions Midfielder Chris Mueller Named Finalist for Rookie of the Year

ORLANDO, Fla. (Oct. 31, 2018) – Major League Soccer today announced the finalists for the 2018 End of Year Awards, honoring the league’s top performers during the 2018 MLS regular season. Orlando City SC forward Chris Mueller was named a finalist for MLS Rookie of the Year, along with Real Salt Lake midfielder Corey Baird and Philadelphia Union defender Mark McKenzie.

A tightly contested race for the 2018 Landon Donovan MLS MVP Award comes down to five finalists who have all entered the league in the past two seasons. The finalists include a pair of Atlanta United playmakers in 24-year-old Miguel Almirón and 25-year-old Josef Martínez, the latter of whom shattered the MLS single-season scoring record with 31 goals this year. Almirón, the 2017 MLS Newcomer of the Year, paced an Atlanta attack that led the league in scoring, providing 12 goals and 14 assists this season.

Three finalists for MVP in Zlatan Ibrahimović, Wayne Rooney and Carlos Vela comprise the field for MLS Newcomer of the Year. Ibrahimović recorded the fourth-ever 20-goal, 10-assist season in MLS history, while his 32 combined goals and assists for the LA Galaxy this year are tied for the sixth most in league annals. Crosstown rival Vela helped the Los Angeles Football Club to a record-breaking expansion season behind 14 goals and 13 assists in addition to starring for Mexico at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Rooney, meanwhile, reinvigorated D.C. United after arriving midseason, leading the club from last place in the Eastern Conference to a fourth-place finish and qualification to the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs behind his combined 19 goals and assists in a mere 18 matches started.

MLS Coach of the Year candidates include Bob Bradley, who led LAFC to set a league expansion club record with 57 regular season points. Also in the conversation is Atlanta United coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino, who guided his club to a second-place finish in the Eastern Conference and qualification for the 2019 Concacaf Champions League by virtue of securing the most aggregate points of any team over the 2017-2018 seasons. Rounding out the group is Sporting Kansas City boss Peter Vermes, whose team finished with the top seed in the Western Conference ahead of the postseason.

The finalists earned the most votes in polling of three voting groups:
  • Current MLS players
  • MLS Clubs (Coaches, Technical Directors/General Managers)
  • Media members who consistently covered the 2018 MLS Regular Season
The AT&T Goal of the Year and MLS Save of the Year will be decided by online voting at or the free MLS app from now through November 11.

2018 Major League Soccer Awards Finalists
(Listed in alphabetical order by last name within each award category)

Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player Finalists
Miguel Almirón (Atlanta United)
Zlatan Ibrahimović (LA Galaxy)
Josef Martínez (Atlanta United)
Wayne Rooney (D.C. United)
Carlos Vela (Los Angeles Football Club)

Defender of the Year Finalists
Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls)
Chad Marshall (Seattle Sounders FC)
Michael Parkhurst (Atlanta United)

Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year Finalists
Stefan Frei (Seattle Sounders FC)
Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls)
Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew SC)

Newcomer of the Year Finalists
For this award, “newcomer” is defined as a player with previous professional experience who made his MLS debut in 2018
Zlatan Ibrahimović (LA Galaxy)
Wayne Rooney (D.C. United)
Carlos Vela (Los Angeles Football Club)

AT&T Rookie of the Year Finalists
For this award, “rookie” is defined as a player without previous professional experience who made his MLS debut in 2018
Corey Baird (Real Salt Lake)
Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union)
Chris Mueller (Orlando City SC)

Coach of the Year Finalists
Bob Bradley (Los Angeles Football Club)
Gerardo “Tata” Martino (Atlanta United)
Peter Vermes (Sporting Kansas City)

Comeback Player of the Year Finalists
Honors an MLS player who has overcome injuries and/or adversity in order to achieve success during the 2018 regular season
Osvaldo Alonso (Seattle Sounders FC)
Zlatan Ibrahimović (LA Galaxy)
Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew SC)

MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year, presented by AdvoCare Finalists
Matt Lampson (Minnesota United FC)
Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls)
Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC)

Referee of the Year Finalists
Alan Kelly
Nima Saghafi
Robert Sibiga

Assistant Referee of the Year Finalists
Joe Fletcher
CJ Morgante
Corey Rockwell

Orlando City
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