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Toronto FC’s Pozuelo, Morrow, Vanney named as finalists for 2020 MLS awards

A trio of Reds are up for three substantial awards as the league reveals its 2020 shortlist.

SOCCER: OCT 30 MLS Cup Playoffs - Toronto FC at Atlanta United FC
Toronto head coach Greg Vanney (left) communicates to Alejandro Pozuelo (10) during an MLS playoff match in 2019.
(Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty)

TORONTO, Canada—Major League Soccer revealed its shortlist for their 2020 end-of-season awards Wednesday afternoon and a trio of Reds were named as finalists in three substantial categories.

To little surprise, Toronto FC midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo was named as one of five finalists for the 2020 Landon Donovan MVP award, accompanied by an impressive group of talent. Among Pozuelo’s competitors include Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Andre Blake, Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Nicolás Lodeiro and forward Jordan Morris, and Los Angeles Football Club forward Diego Rossi.

The four field players who are finalists for MVP each ranked as the top four players in combined goals and assists in 2020. Pozuelo paced the league with 19 combined goals and assists, followed closely by Morris and Rossi with 18 apiece, and Lodeiro at 17 combined. Blake, meanwhile, manned the league’s top defense, allowing 18 goals in the regular season for a 0.88 goals allowed average and a 77.8 save percentage, both league best for goalkeepers with 20 or more appearances this season (via MLS press release.)

Head coach Greg Vanney is also one of three finalists for the 2020 Sigi Schmid MLS Coach of the Year alongside Philadelphia Union’s Jim Curtin and Orlando City SC’s Óscar Pareja.

Curtin led the Union to the top spot in the standings, home-field advantage throughout the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs, and the club’s first ever trophy with this year’s Supporters’ Shield. Pareja guided Orlando to its first ever Audi MLS Cup Playoffs appearance in his first year with the club and is in search of his second Coach of the Year trophy after winning with FC Dallas in 2016. Vanney, meanwhile, is in search of his second Coach in the Year honor, previously winning with Toronto in 2017, after leading TFC this season to a second-place finish in the regular season standings. (via MLS press release.)

Perhaps most notable is the honour bestowed upon defender Justin Morrow who was named as one of three finalists for the 2020 MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year. Morrow, of course, has been a leading voice for the fight against racial injustice as the Executive Director of the Black Players for Change coalition. Alongside Morrow is Canadian international and LAFC midfielder Mark Anthony-Kaye and Portland TimbersJeremy Ebobisse.

The finalists earned the most votes in polling of three voting groups:

  • Current MLS players
  • MLS clubs (Coaches, Technical Directors/General Managers)
  • Select media members representing local and national outlets who consistently covered the 2020 MLS regular season

All MLS awards, including the 2020 MLS Best XI, will be announced in the coming weeks.


2020 Major League Soccer Awards Finalists

(Listed in alphabetical order by last name within each award category)

Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player Finalists

Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union)
Nicolás Lodeiro (Seattle Sounders FC)
Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC)
Alejandro Pozuelo (Toronto FC)
Diego Rossi (Los Angeles Football Club)

MLS Defender of the Year Finalists

Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union)
Jonathan Mensah (Columbus Crew SC)
Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC)

Allstate MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Finalists

Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union)
Eloy Room (Columbus Crew SC)
Matt Turner (New England Revolution)

MLS Newcomer of the Year Finalists

For this award, “newcomer” is defined as a player with previous professional experience who made his MLS debut in 2020

Robert Berić (Chicago Fire FC)
Alan Pulido (Sporting Kansas City)
Lucas Zelarayan (Columbus Crew SC)

AT&T MLS Young Player of the Year Finalists

For this award, “young player” is defined as a player age 22 (born on or after Jan. 1, 1998)

Brenden Aaronson (Philadelphia Union)
Daryl Dike (Orlando City SC)
Diego Rossi (Los Angeles Football Club)

Sigi Schmid MLS Coach of the Year Finalists

Jim Curtin (Philadelphia Union)
Oscar Pareja (Orlando City SC)
Greg Vanney (Toronto FC)

MLS Comeback Player of the Year Finalists

Honors an MLS player who has overcome injuries and/or adversity in order to achieve success during the 2020 regular season

Kevin Molino (Minnesota United FC)
Milton Valenzuela (Columbus Crew SC)
Bradley Wright-Phillips (Los Angeles Football Club)

MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year

Jeremy Ebobisse (Portland Timbers)
Mark-Anthony Kaye (Los Angeles Football Club)
Justin Morrow (Toronto FC)

MLS Referee of the Year Finalists

Joe Dickerson
Ismail Elfath
Jair Marrufo

MLS Assistant Referee of the Year Finalists

Kathryn Nesbitt
Cory Richardson
Corey Rockwell