Being a great side takes an extraordinary team effort. Seattle Sounders FC clearly put in that effort this season and were rewarded with an MLS Cup (remember!?). But even the most teamy of teams need one or two special players who are some of the best in the region. Two of Seattle’s players are being recognized as just that, with nominations for CONCACAF awards.
Nicolas Lodeiro has been nominated as one of the top midfielders in CONCACAF. He joined the Sounders in July and immediately made the team better, contributing nine goals and five (primary) assists in twenty games. There were times in the regular season where he refused to allow the Sounders to lose, perhaps best illustrated by his stoppage time leveler in Houston.
Lodeiro wasn’t just good for the Sounders in 2016. He also scored five goals and set up three more for Boca Juniors, and was a regular with the Uruguayan national team.
Clint Dempsey is the other Sounder up for CONCACAF honors. He is nominated for an impressive trio of awards: Male Best XI, Goal of the Year and Male Player of the Year. Dempsey’s total year was overshadowed by his heart issue so it’s easy to forget just how dominant he was in the first half of it. He only played in seventeen games for the Sounders, but he scored eight times. His best, though, was saved for the USMNT. He scored three and set up three for the U.S. in their Copa America semi-final run. At 33 he still might be the USMNT’s best attacker.
No one is going to tell you who to vote for, but if the tallies add up the right way Seattle could begin 2017 with two of CONCACAF’s starting XI taking the field.