Atlanta United represented by league-high four 2018 MLS Award finalists

Miguel Almirón and Josef Martinez named MVP finalists

   ATLANTA – Major League Soccer today announced the finalists for the 2018 End of Year Awards, honoring the league’s top performers during the 2018 MLS regular season. Atlanta United has four finalists, the most from any club. Almirón and Martinez are two of the five MVP finalists, while Michael Parkhurst and Tata Martino are up for defender and manager of the year, respectively.

The race for the 2018 Landon Donovan MLS MVP Award comes down to five finalists who have all entered the league in the past two seasons. Almirón scored 12 goals and recorded a team-high 14 assists as the playmaker on the league’s highest scoring attack with 70 goals, one of only four players in 2018 to total at least 12 goals and 12 assists. The 24-year-old Paraguayan is an MVP finalist for the second consecutive season and was named 2017’s Newcomer of the Year. Since his arrival in 2017, no player has recorded more than Almirón’s 28 assists.

Martinez shattered the MLS single-season scoring record with 31 goals this year, winning the MLS Golden Boot by nine goals over Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The 25-year-old Venezuelan scored a league-high 10 game-winning goals (No. 2 all time), equaled the MLS record of nine consecutive matches with a goal and recorded his MLS record sixth career hat trick. He has scored a league-high 50 goals over his first two seasons and averaged .912 goals per game in 2018.

Atlanta’s duo is joined by Ibrahimović, Wayne Rooney and Carlos Vela, the same three players who also comprise the field for MLS Newcomer of the Year.

Parkhurst, 34, is one of three finalists for the MLS Defender of the Year award, which he won in 2007. Atlanta’s captain started all but two games this season and anchored the defense that finished fourth in goals allowed. The center back finished fourth in MLS with 154 clearances and committed the third-fewest fouls by a defender (16, min. 30 games played). Known for being one the best distributors at his position, Parkhurst finished with the third-highest passing accuracy (87.7 percent, min. 1,000 passes) and the fourth-most successful passes (1,607) by a defender. Parkhurst was named an MLS All-Star this year for the second consecutive season and for the sixth time in his career. He is also a three-time MLS Fair Play Award winner and the 2006 MLS Humanitarian of the Year.

It’s the second year in a row that Martino has been named a finalist for MLS Coach of the Year. In 2018, he led Atlanta to a second-place finish as the club claimed 69 points in just its second season of existence. Atlanta also secured a place in the 2019 Concacaf Champions League as it finished with the best overall record in MLS over the past two seasons. This year, Atlanta led the league in goals scored (70) and became just the second team in league history to score 70-plus goals in back-to-back seasons. Martino’s team also posted a +26-goal differential, tied for seventh-best in league history.

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

  • Current MLS players
  • MLS Clubs (Coaches, Technical Directors/General Managers)
  • Media members who consistently covered the 2018 MLS Regular Season

The AT&T Goal of the Year and MLS Save of the Year will be decided by online voting at or the free MLS app from now through November 11.

2018 Major League Soccer Awards Finalists

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

Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player Finalists

Miguel Almirón (Atlanta United)

Zlatan Ibrahimović (LA Galaxy)

Josef Martínez (Atlanta United)

Wayne Rooney (D.C. United)

Carlos Vela (Los Angeles Football Club)

Defender of the Year Finalists

Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls)

Chad Marshall (Seattle Sounders FC)

Michael Parkhurst (Atlanta United)

Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year Finalists

Stefan Frei (Seattle Sounders FC)

Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls)

Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew SC)


Newcomer of the Year Finalists

For this award, “newcomer” is defined as a player with previous professional experience who made his MLS debut in 2018

Zlatan Ibrahimović (LA Galaxy)

Wayne Rooney (D.C. United)

Carlos Vela (Los Angeles Football Club)

AT&T Rookie of the Year Finalists

For this award, “rookie” is defined as a player without previous professional experience who made his MLS debut in 2018

Corey Baird (Real Salt Lake)

Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union)

Chris Mueller (Orlando City SC)


Coach of the Year Finalists

Bob Bradley (Los Angeles Football Club)

Gerardo “Tata” Martino (Atlanta United)

Peter Vermes (Sporting Kansas City)


Comeback Player of the Year Finalists

Honors an MLS player who has overcome injuries and/or adversity in order to achieve success during the 2018 regular season

Osvaldo Alonso (Seattle Sounders FC)

Zlatan Ibrahimović (LA Galaxy)

Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew SC)

MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year, presented by AdvoCare Finalists

Matt Lampson (Minnesota United FC)

Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls)

Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC)

Referee of the Year Finalists

Alan Kelly

Nima Saghafi

Robert Sibiga

Assistant Referee of the Year Finalists

Joe Fletcher

CJ Morgante

Corey Rockwell

Atlanta United (69 points, 21-7-6) returns to action Sunday, Nov. 4, in the first leg of the Eastern Conference Semi-finals.

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