Major League Soccer on Thursday unveiled its list of nominees for the annual End of Year awards, with numerous Sounders in contention to bring home major personal accolades on the back of a successful season on the pitch.
Finalists for each category, which will be determined by voters (current MLS players, MLS club staff and select media members) will be revealed prior to the start of the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.Voting begins tomorrow and will run through Monday, Nov. 8 at 5 p.m. ET.
Striker Raúl Ruidíaz and midfielder João Paulo are both contenders for the Landon Donovan MLS MVP award. Ruidíaz, who has missed the last few matches through injury, is tied for second in the Golden Boot race with 16 goals, trailing DC United's Ola Kamara with 17. Signed from Botafogo ahead of the 2020 campaign, João Paulo has established himself as one of the preeminent two-way midfielders in MLS, combining eye-popping defensive stats with three goals and 11 assists.
Head Coach Brian Schmetzer is in the running for Sigi Schmid Coach of the Year. Despite a host of prolonged absences from key players, Schmetzer has helped guide the Sounders to 58 points (17-8-7) while integrating new players and transitioning the team to a new tactical system.
Despite missing roughly half the season with injuries, Stefan Frei has been nominated for Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year. From just 1,349 minutes of action, Frei has notched four clean sheets, 41 saves and a goals-against average of 0.93. Frei is also a nominee for MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year.
Additionally, Yeimar is in the running for Defender of the Year. Seattle's commanding center back leads MLS in interceptions with 84, which is 20 more than then next closest player in the league. The Colombian defender also sits second in the league in tackles won with 54, and is sixth in MLS among defenders with total duels, posting the highest duels-won percentage (65.6 percent) of all his competitors in the top ten.
Sounders wingback Jimmy Medranda is a strong candidate to win Comeback Player of the Year. After playing just 196 minutes across the 2019 and 2020 seasons, Medranda has burst back onto the scene with Seattle this year with four goals and three assists from 15 starts, including what will likely be a Goal of the Year finalist against the Portland Timbers.
Attacker Léo Chú, 21, has also made the cut for Newcomer of the Year. Signed from Grêmio at the end of the summer transfer window, the young Brazilian has made an instant impact in Seattle, tallying a goal and an assist from just 141 minutes of action in league play.
Finally, Homegrown Players Josh Atencio, 19, and Danny Leyva, 18, are nominated for Young Player of the Year. On a roster laden with top-class players with expectations of regularly competing for titles, the two Academy products have carved out significant roles, combining for 25 starts and 2,302 minutes in the 2021 MLS regular season.
You can see the full list of nominees HERE.
The Sounders return to action on Monday as they host the LA Galaxy (7:00 p.m. PT; TUDN, Twitter, FOX 13+, Prime Video, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360AM | TICKETS) in a critical Western Conference clash in Seattle's final home match of the 2021 MLS regular season.