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Two Sounders named as MLS MVP finalists

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Nicolas Lodeiro and Jordan Morris both among the top 5 vote-getters.

Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

For all the silverware the Seattle Sounders have won during their 11 previous MLS seasons, individual awards have been a bit tougher to come by. While they’ve won some of the more secondary awards like Comeback Player or Rookie of the year, they’ve never had an MVP.

This year might be their best chance to change that. Both Nicolás Lodeiro and Jordan Morris were named MVP finalists on Wednesday, meaning they finished in the Top 5 of already cast ballots. The other finalists are Alejandro Pozuelo (Toronto FC), Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union) and Diego Rossi (Los Angeles FC). They were the only Sounders to be named finalists for any individual awards this year.

The closest a Sounder ever came to winning MVP was in 2014 when Obafemi Martins finished second to Robbie Keane. The next closest was Mauro Rosales, who finished fifth in 2011.

A solid case can be made for either Morris or Lodeiro, who were key components in the Sounders’ Supporters’ Shield-contending season. Morris’ 18 combined goals and assists rank second in the league, just one behind Pozuelo’s 19, but in about 250 fewer minutes. Lodeiro was tied for the most assists in the league with 10, while also scoring seven goals.

Perhaps the best argument for either player winning was made by Casey Dunau on a recent episode of the Sounder at Heart podcast. Dunau suggested that absent a runaway winner like Carlos Vela last year, Lodeiro deserves the award as a sort of career achievement.

While having two players among the top 5 is a neat accomplishment, it’s unclear how that might reflect the ranking. Records are a little spotty, but MLS has been releasing the long version of voting results since 2015. Since then, two players from the same team have finished in the top 5 two other times. In 2016, Bradley Wright-Phillips and Sacha Kljestan essentially split the New York Red Bulls vote and finished 2-3 overall. But in 2018, Josef Martinez was named MVP despite Atlanta United teammate Miguel Almiron finishing second in voting.