The 2015 Major League Soccer regular season has come to an end after a grueling eight month campaign. With the playoffs kicking off, it's time to sit back and see which players deserve top honors in the various categories. In this article we'll look at who should be up for the presitgious Landon Donovan MVP Award, along with our choice for winner.
In no particular order, here are the op five players who should be up for the honor.
1) Kei Kamara - Striker - Columbus Crew SC
The Sierre Leone striker is well traveled in his career in Major League Soccer. Everywhere he has gone he has found some success. Like wine, he has gotten better and better each year. In 2015 he put his stamp on the league with an eye-popping 22 goals and eight assists. He lead the Crew to second place in the Eastern Conference, and was the perfect center forward for the Crew as he latched onto the ends of pitch-perfect service from Ethan Finlay. Kamara proved to be the perfect fox in the box for the Crew, using his impressive aerial skills and strength to get the better of defenses.
At the end of the season, Kamara ended up 2nd in the Golden Boot standings, losing out to Sebastian Giovinco on the assists tie-breaker for the honor.
2) Benny Feilhaber - Midfielder - Sporting Kansas City
Sporting KC made the switch from the Eastern Conference to the West this season and there was a bit of doubt about how well they would make the transistion to what many consider to be the more difficult side. Thanks in large part to Feilhaber's creative skills in central midfield, Sporting fared quite well, finishing with 51 points, ending up in 5th place on tie-breakers to the Seattle Sounders and Los Angeles Galaxy. Finishing the season with 10 goals and 15 assists, his creative talent sparked a push from the fanbase for Feilhaber to receive national team minutes.
He finished the season 3rd in assists and 15th in goals.
3) Sacha Kljestan - Midfielder - New York Red Bulls
The surprise team of the 2015 season was spearheaded by Sacha Kljestan, who made his return to Major League Soccer. After years of a successful career in Europe, the former US International was a question mark amongst a sea of question marks on a team going in a different direction. Klejstan repaid that faith with 14 assists and eight goals. Beyond the stats, he has been the general in midfield that has kept the team pointed in the right direction. Crisp passing, solid runs and the ability to see plays ahead of time have boosted the Red Bulls from an unkown to the Supporters' Shield winners.
His assists were good for fourth in the league.
4) Robbie Keane - Striker - Los Angeles Galaxy
What can be said about Robbie Keane that hasn't already been said? A perennial goal scorer throughout his career, he's been one of the best signings in league history since he joined LA in 2011. He has a creative flair that is rare to see on these shores. While the season didn't quite end the way LA wanted, they still managed to limp into the playoffs with Keane leading the offensive charge.
His 20 goals are good for third in the league, and he added eight assists to boot for the defending champions.
5) Sebastian Giovinco - Striker - Toronto FC
Signing the Italian International was a coup for Toronto FC as he left Italy in the prime of his career for an American journey. He's rewarded all of that faith by being the Golden Boot winner with 22 goals and the assists Leader with 16. Even more than all that, he was a constant threat up top, using his surprising speed and strength to muscle defenders to help open up lanes for himself and teammates. His playoff-clinching goal against the Red Bulls will become enshrined in Reds' lore.
Of all the contenders, he already has two awards to his name with the Golden Boot and Assist title.
So which of these players deserves to win the prestigious MVP trophy? While they all have fantastic cases for it, this is probably the easiest decision voters will have during awards season. Sebastian Giovinco has had an offensive season unlike any other in league history, not only in production but also in terms of his committment to his club. That is something which not all Designated Players can say.
Though Giovinco is the obvious choice, it's worth highlighting the other top players in the league who have done wonders to push their clubs forward with fantastic seasons. But the best of the best is Giovinco.