As the MLS Cup Playoffs get underway, it’s also award season, when league players are recognized for their achievements during the season. Due to his 23 goals, Hany Mukhtar has already been awarded the Golden Boot, propelling Nashville SC into the playoffs. Along with Andre Blake, Sebastian Driussi, Javier Hernandez, and Cristian Arango, Mukhtar is a finalist for the league MVP award despite losing in the first round. The winner will then raise the trophy, but there are also other prizes up for grabs.
Here is a list of the awards that have already been given out and those that still have to be. Jesus Ferreira received the Young Player of the Year Award, and the Philadelphia Union team of Andre Blake and Jakob Glesnes also received recognition. Jim Curtin defeats Steve Cherundolo and Wilfried Nancy to win Coach of the Year, continuing the Union’s winning streak. Thiago Almada of Atlanta United has also been named the Newcomer of the Year for his outstanding play since transferring from Velez.
Schmid, Sigi Jim Curtin is the year’s head coach (Philadelphia Union)
The Union amassed 67 points, leading to the finest season in the history of the team. The teams at Curtin keep becoming better. Curtin does a lot to keep the Union’s strategy fresh, boasting the strongest defense in the league while also putting strategies in place to keep the squad moving despite changing forwards leading the line. After also winning in 2020 when his Union team won the Supporters’ Shield, Curtin has now earned the distinction of being the award’s youngest two-time honouree. Curtin is also just the fifth coach to receive the honor more than once. The Union also set a club record for goals scored with 72 in his ninth season as manager.
Thiago Almada is the year’s top newcomer (Atlanta United)
Almada, a Designated Player who transferred from Velez Sarsfield to Atlanta United, has led the squad in scoring this season with 18 goals. Almada has been Atlanta’s lone bright spot despite the team’s problems this season and might represent Argentina in the World Cup. With 12 assists, he had the seventh-most in the league. He also scored six goals. Almada is Atlanta United’s second winner, following in the footsteps of 2017 winner Miguel Almiron.
Andre Blake was the year’s top goalkeeper (Philadelphia Union)
Blake has now won his third goalie of the year title after a spectacular campaign that also saw him make the MVP contender list while helping the Philadelphia Union to the top seed in the Eastern Conference. The Jamaican has now won the accolade twice in the last three years, making him the only MLS player to ever win it three times in their career. This season, Blake played every minute for the Union, kept 15 clean sheets, and allowed the fewest goals of any regular starting goalie with just 26.
Jakob Glesnes was named Defender of the Year (Philadelphia Union)
It appeared likely that a member of the Union would take home the trophy after a season in which they only allowed 26 goals, but the winner was the ever-present center back instead of left back Kai Wagner. Glesnes has been the lynchpin of the Union defense, playing every minute of the campaign and turning up reliable performances each week.
He had a weak offensive season by Glesnes’ standards, but he was still able to contribute with three assists and serve as a forward-moving attacking threat. He also assisted the union in improving from the 2021 season, when he also played every minute and contributed to the team’s 12 clean sheets, with 15 clean sheets.
Jesus Ferreira is the Young Player of the Year (FC Dallas)
Following former FC Dallas striker Ricardo Pepi, FC Dallas player Jesus Ferreira has won the trophy to cap off an outstanding season for both club and country. Ferreira also tied the club record for goals scored in a season (18) while not serving as the team’s penalty taker. His ability to make plays was also demonstrated by his six assists. After completely missing the playoffs the previous season, his collaboration with Paul Arriola enabled Dallas to earn the third seed this time around.