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Three Sounders named among MLS award finalists

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Stefan Frei, Chad Marshall and Osvaldo Alonso all up for awards.

MLS: Seattle Sounders at Sporting KC Peter G. Aiken

Three Seattle Sounders were named among the finalists for various end-of-season MLS awards on Wednesday.

Stefan Frei (Goalkeeper of the Year) and Chad Marshall (Defender of the Year) were largely expected to be finalists and should probably be considered the favorites to win their respective awards. Osvaldo Alonso’s bid as Comeback Player of the Year was a little bit more of a surprise and is likely a considerably longer shot; the other finalists are Gyasi Zardes (19 goals) and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (1.34 goals + assists per 90).

Frei’s main competition is likely Luis Robles, who led MLS in wins (21) and shutouts (14) and actually had a slightly better goals against average than Frei (0.97 vs. 1.03). Frei, however, faced 35 more shots, made 30 more saves and was considerably better according to more advanced metrics like xGA-GA (-12.96 vs. -5.79). Zack Steffen’s inclusion among the finalists is a bit of a mystery as none of his statistics are particularly good and he actually allowed more goals than expected based on his xGA.

Marshall may also be considered the favorite to win his record fourth career Defender of the Year award, although both Aaron Long and Michael Parkhurst have solid cases. Long helped lead the best defense in MLS with the Red Bulls, while Parkhurst was clearly the defensive leader on a team that put a ton of pressure on their four defenders.