Following Week 32 of Major League Soccer play, the MLS editorial staff released their final MVP Power Rankings of the year — ranking Sounders FC defensive midfielder João Paulo in the No. 3 spot.
From MLSsoccer.com: “Oh good, it’s the time of the month where we remind everyone Joao Paulo is better at pretty much everything than pretty much everyone else. When you’re in the 97th percentile in assists per-90 AND in the 90th percentile in tackles per-90 among midfielders AND in the 92nd percentile or higher in passes attempted and progressive passes per-90, you’re doing a really good job of being a midfielder.”
João Paulo’s midfield mastery has earned him multiple MLS plaudits in 2021, including two Goal of the Week awards (out of his three goals scored) and seven Team of the Week inclusions.
The Brazilian midfielder has been an anchor in the club’s attack and defense, tallying an MLS tied/fifth-best 11 assists along with 39 tackles won. The 30-year-old’s two-way performances place him at a team-best in assists, and in second for tackles only to MLS Defender of the Year candidate, Yeimar.
“He’s the anchor for one of MLS' best teams and the best non-attacking player in the league. Non-attacking players in any sport don’t get much of a chance at MVP normally. For him to be this high up in the rankings is a genuine accomplishment and should confirm just how good he’s been,” added MLSsoccer.com.
Raúl Ruidíaz and Cristian Roldan join João Paulo in this final ranking, breaking into the MLS editorial staff's top ten. Ruidíaz, a regular in the top five of the MVP Power Rankings, holds an MLS second-best 16 goals, placing him in the running for the Golden Boot presented by Audi. Cristian Roldan’s six-goal and six-assist season have been crucial to the club’s success in 2021 — while competing with the No. 1 ranked MVP candidate Carles Gil with his second-best goals added (g+) tally.
This year’s Landon Donovan MVP Award, determined by a poll of players, club technical staff, and the media to be the most valuable to his club will be decided at the conclusion of the 2021 season.