With the books firmly closed on the 2019 season, we can now get to the ever important business of handing out awards. As we’ve done in the past, we’ll be handing out our own MVP, Defender of the Year and Young Player of the Year awards. We’ll also be asking you to choose your favorite moment from the year as well as your favorite moment from MLS Cup.
The candidates all have a pretty strong case. Nicolas Lodeiro had another standout season with nine goals and 17 assists (including playoffs); Raúl Ruidíaz had a reasonably quiet regular season but came to life with four goals and three assists in the postseason, to give him 15 and 7 overall; Jordan Morris went for 13 and 8 (including his first career hat trick) in his first year back from ACL surgery; Stefan Frei was a rock in goal; Cristian Roldan had six goals and six assists in a quietly effective season; while Gustav Svensson was amazingly consistent all year.
Defender of the Year
We basically included all the regular starters in this, but also felt compelled to include Frei and Svensson, who aren’t often considered defenders.
Young Player of the Year
With no one really standing out for their MLS play alone, we’re asking readers to consider performances at both the MLS and USL levels.
Newcomer of the Year
Feel free to use whatever criteria you feel is best on this one — which can include your perception of how important they are to the future of the team.
Moment of the Year (excluding MLS Cup)
We assume most people’s favorite moment is probably lifting the MLS Cup trophy, so we gave that whole game a separate category. For the purposes of this vote, we felt there were several other great moments to choose from. We went back and forth on including Morris’ playoff hat trick, but didn’t want to split the vote with his season debut brace. Just consider that a “Jordan Morris” moment. Both Timbers games made the list, with Roman Torres waiting for Steve Clark in the tunnel being one moment and the silent protest over the Iron Front ban being the other. Brian Schmetzer’s “moment” after the LAFC match was best summed up by his “better than Bob” comment, but really it was the whole interview. We felt compelled to include Danny Leyva’s disallowed goal just because it was about as loud as we’ve ever heard CenturyLink Field. We also tossed in the academy winning the GA Cup mainly to acknowledge it and Raúl Ruidíaz’s goal against Atlanta United needed a spot just because it was surely the best goal a Sounder has scored in quite some time. Finally, who can possibly forget the way the team embraced Bheem Goyal, who made his debut against Dortmund?
Best MLS Cup moment
There was so much memorable about that game that we felt it deserved its own category.
What will you remember most about 2019?
We close out our poll with an open-ended question. Feel free to put anything you want in here.
If it doesn’t show up for you above, the ballot is also linked here.