Major League Soccer: Predicting The MLS MVP


The MLS MVP Race has come down to three candidates. New England Revolution midfielder Lee Nguyen, Seattle Sounders forward Obafemi Martins and Los Angeles Galaxy forward Robbie Keane. All three are having career seasons in MLS, setting all-time highs in numerous personal categories. Not only have they set personal records this season, but all three have led their clubs to their respective conference finals.

Lee Nguyen has led a New England Revolution squad — which last year lost in the MLS Conference Semifinals — to a 2-1 aggregate lead over the New York Red Bulls. With the second leg of the conference finals set to be held at Gillette Stadium, New England need only hold New York to less than two goals, either winning or drawing the match. Nguyen has had a career year for the Revolution. The midfielder is No. 4 on the goalscoring chart, having scored 18 times, while also adding an additional five assists.

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Prior to this season’s breakout performance, Nguyen’s best season was in 2009 while playing in Vietnam. That season, he scored 9 goals. Nguyen added to his stellar year, making his return to the United States National Team after a seven-year absence.

All in all, Lee Nguyen has become a household name for those who follow MLS. No doubt Nguyen has had a career season, but he has benefited from the mid-season arrival of Jermain Jones, without whom, New England may have suffered through the second half of the season. Nguyen has had a very successful campaign, but with the likes of Obafemi Martins and Robbie Keane leading the way, he falls short in his run at MLS MVP.

Robbie Keane is about to inherit “the franchise” of MLS. The impending retirement of arguably the greatest American soccer player ever, Landon Donovan, puts Irish Legend Robbie Keane in the leadership role at Los Angeles. The Ireland national team’s all-time leading scorer looks to be set to take over the captaincy after his incredible season. For the first time in his career, Keane managed to score more than 16 goals in league play, scoring 19 in the MLS regular season.

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Leading his club in scoring is one thing, but being the third best scorer in the league is certainly more prestigious. Keane only finished behind Sporting Kansas City forward Don Dwyer and the man who tied the MLS goal record, Bradley Wright-Phillips.

Keane helped the Galaxy overcome Real Salt Lake in the Conference Semifinals, scoring a goal in the Galaxy’s five-to-nothing home romp of Real. Los Angeles won the first match of the conference finals, defeating Seattle 1-0 at home. Now heading to Seattle and an expected capacity crowd at Centurylink field, Keane and the Galaxy will need a win or draw to qualify for the MLS Cup finals.

This one match could determine the outcome of the MVP Race, as both Keane and the final man on the list vie to lead their clubs to the Final. That final man is Obafemi Martins.

Martins, who joined Seattle last season, has also had a career season in scoring. Martins’ 17 league goals is his highest ever season tally. The Nigerian international will be looking to make his lasting mark on MLS, and win the MVP award.

Martins finished the season fifth on the league’s goal-scoring list, while also finishing fifth on the league’s assist list. Leading Seattle in both scoring and assists, Martins handed the club its first ever Supporters Shield trophy, the best regular season record in MLS.

As I said before, the club which wins the Western Conference finals will be the club who will have the MLS MVP. The winner of the match-up — Robbie Keane or Obafemi Martins — will be the Major League Soccer Most Valuable Player of 2014 .