Award season is almost here.
Players, technical staffers (technical directors, GMs and coaches) and a select group of national and regional media will begin voting for each of the awards on Tuesday, October 17.
Each voting group, representing one-third of the total vote, will have until Monday, October 23 at 5 pm ET to submit their votes.
Below is the list of 18 players named to the ballot for the 2017 Comeback Player of the Year award. All players on the Comeback Player of the Year ballot were nominated by their respective club, with a maximum of two nominations permitted per team.
Complete ballots for the other awards will be released over the coming days. Finalists (three per award) will be announced on Tuesday, October 31.
- Award Ballot: 2017 Landon Donovan Most Valuable Player
- Award Ballot: 2017 Newcomer of the Year
- Award Ballot: 2017 AT&T Rookie of the Year
- Award Ballot: 2017 Defender of the Year
- Award Ballot: Referee & Assistant Referee of the Year
- Award Ballot: Allstate MLS Goalkeeper of the Year
2017 Comeback Player of the Year Award Ballot
Dillon Serna (MF, Colorado Rapids)
After suffering a season-ending knee surgery on June 29, 2016, Serna returned to the pitch during the team’s 1-0 season opening win against New England. This year, the Rapids Homegrown player has one goal and one assist in 18 regular season appearances (eight starts).
Federico Higuaín (MF, Crew SC)
Halfway through 2016, Federico Higuaín underwent hernia surgery, drastically reducing the number of matches he was able to play in as he recovered from the procedure. In 2017, he has returned with a vengeance, registering a career-high 12 assists while helping Crew SC return to the postseason. Higuaín has also scored nine goals, only two shy of his career-high tally.
Chris Korb (DF, D.C. United)
A season-ending injury in August 2015 forced United defender Chris Korb to undergo surgery to repair a torn ACL in his right knee. The 2016 season brought more complications for the United defenseman resulting in a second surgery among other complications. He was waived at the end of the 2016 season, but Korb returned in 2017 as an unsigned trialist and in May, United offered him a new contract. Korb has started in 12 games since his return, making 15 total appearances.
Kofi Opare (DF, D.C. United)
Following a 2016 season in which United center back Kofi Opare made 10 appearances, primarily as a second-choice defender to US national team defender Steve Birnbaum and veteran defenseman Bobby Boswell, Opare took advantage of his opportunity early on in 2017. After not seeing time in the first five matches of 2017, Opare went on to start in 24 of the next 27, tallying two goals and an assist in the process.
Mauro Diaz (MF, FC Dallas)
FC Dallas midfielder Mauro Diaz had surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon in his lower right leg on Oct. 19, 2016. The injury occurred in Dallas’ 2-1 win against Seattle, just a few minutes after Diaz had delivered the decisive pass – his 13th assist of the season – to Carlos Ruiz, putting FC Dallas in position to win its first Supporters’ Shield in 21 seasons. But Diaz returned earlier than expected, on May 28, 2017 and has since started in 12 of 18 matches in which he has appeared.
Erick Torres (FW, Houston Dynamo)
The one-time MLS wunderkind, who flourished at Chivas USA under the leadership of head coach Wilmer Cabrera, struggled for two years in Houston under different coaches. Reunited with Cabrera in 2017, Torres has exploded with a club-record 14 goals for the Dynamo.
Leonardo (DF, Houston Dynamo)
After missing much of 2016 due to injury in Los Angeles, Leonardo has been a steadying force on a rebuilt back line in Houston this season. The Brazilian has set career highs in minutes played, games played and games started. His presence on defense has been a vital aspect of the Dynamo’s resurgence this season.
Xavier Kouassi (MF, New England Revolution)
Kouassi signed with the Revolution in February 2016, but just one week later, a torn ACL sidelined him for the entire 2016 season. After recovering from the injury, Kouassi has been a powerful presence in the midfield with 21 appearances (14 starts) this season. His leadership on and off the field also earned him the captain's armband for three games.
Ben Sweat (DF, NYCFC)
Ben Sweat started his MLS career in 2014 with Columbus Crew SC. His playing time with the Columbus first team was inconsistent, with Sweat being loaned out to the club’s USL pro affiliate club for a couple of matches in May of 2014. He was waived in February of 2015 and signed to NASL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies in March of 2015. After a two-year absence, Sweat worked his way back into MLS with NYCFC. Sweat is now a regular member in the club’s starting XI and has made an impressive impact in just his first season.
Connor Lade (DF, NY Red Bulls)
Lade returned to the lineup in late March after suffering a season-ending ACL tear in August of 2016. The versatile Homegrown defender has appeared in 19 games so far this season, playing along the back line in different spots as needed.
Oguchi Onyewu (DF, Philadelphia Union)
One of the most successful American defenders of all-time, Onyewu, at age 35, has overcome a series of major injuries to return to the pitch and be a reliable force on the Union back line. Two years removed from his previous professional contract, he has started over 20 games in MLS for Philadelphia, scoring a goal in his birthplace of Washington, D.C. in a 4-0 Union victory on May 13.
Luis Silva (FW, Real Salt Lake)
After leading D.C. United in scoring with 11 goals in 2014, Silva struggled with injuries in 2015 and saw limited playing time after a move to Tigres in Mexico in 2016. He returned to MLS in 2017 and found his form in the summer, notching goals in a club-record tying four consecutive matches en route to five total goals in the month of August. He has six goals and three assists on the season.
Quincy Amarikwa (FW, San Jose Earthquakes)
After suffering a major knee injury in September 2016, when he sustained a total rupture of both his ACL and LCL, Amarikwa has overcome adversity to return to the field in 2017, proving an important contributor off the bench for a club battling for the postseason.
Clint Dempsey (FW, Seattle Sounders)
After being diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat in August 2016 that sidelined him for Seattle’s MLS Cup run and put his professional future in question, Dempsey returned with a bang in 2017. The Texas native has started 24 of his 28 appearances this season and leads Sounders FC with 12 goals, while his 46 career tallies for Seattle are one shy of the club’s scoring record. Dempsey’s return to international play has been equally impressive – recording five goals and four assists in 11 appearances (six starts) for the USMNT in 2017.
Seth Sinovic (DF, Sporting Kansas City)
After being limited to six starts in 2016 due to a concussion and several injuries, Sinovic has made 31 starts for Sporting KC in 2017 – tied for the team lead among field players. He scored his first regular-season goal on April 9 in a win over Colorado and has contributed to nine shutouts. Sinovic started in four matches en route to the club's fourth US Open Cup title in September.
Drew Moor (DF, Toronto FC)
The veteran defender and MLS ironman was dealt what appeared to be a major setback when he was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat following a training session in April 2017. Moor, who has amassed over 31,000 career minutes in MLS, missed seven matches but returned on May 19 and resumed his job as TFC’s defensive anchor.
Steven Beitashour (DF, Toronto FC)
In the second half of Toronto FC’s Canadian Championship match against Montreal, Beitashour was involved in a collision. Although he finished the match, Beitashour was later rushed to the hospital in the early morning hours for emergency surgery on a damaged pancreas. It was thought the veteran right back might be out for the season, but he returned after missing eight matches.
Yordy Reyna (MF, Vancouver Whitecaps FC)
Yordy Reyna joined Whitecaps FC midway through the 2017 preseason and late in the second half of the final preseason match he suffered a fifth metatarsal fracture in his left foot. Following surgery and four plus months of recovery, Reyna returned to full fitness and made an immediate impact. The Peruvian attacking midfielder has scored six goals (five game-winners) and added three assists in just 10 starts and 17 total appearances. The 'Caps have lost just one of Reyna's 10 starts (5W-1L-4D). In addition, his recent form earned him a call-up to Peru's FIFA World Cup qualifying matches earlier this month, his first call-up since 2015.