2022 MLS Year-End Awards Bios - MLS Comeback Player of the Year

Atlanta United - Sosa, Santiago (ATL): After undergoing sports hernia surgery is November, Santiago Sosa missed the majority of Atlanta United’s preseason that ultimately prevented him from entering the starting lineup until April. Shortly after re-joining the lineup, Sosa fought through reaggravating the injury – and a long-term illness – that again forced him out of action until late July. However, Since July 30, Sosa has emerged as a key piece to the club’s future and has started each of the last 11 matches, while helping the team to a 4-3-4 record to stay in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

Austin FC - Hoesen, Danny (ATX): Danny Hoesen's first season with Austin FC in 2021 was cut short by hip surgery, with the Dutch striker having played just five matches. In 2022 though, he has scored crucial goals for the Club, including Austin's first in an incredible late comeback win over D.C. United, a late equalizer against FC Dallas which proved crucial to Austin winning the 2022 Copa Tejas, and another equalizer in Austin's comeback win over Sporting KC. Prior to joining Austin FC, Hoesen played for various clubs in Europe, including Dutch giants Ajax. Hoesen made a number of UEFA Champions League appearances for Ajax, notably scoring against Borussia Dortmund and FC Barcelona. He first arrived in MLS in 2017, joining the San Jose Earthquakes with whom he played for four seasons."

CF Montréal - Kamara, Kei (MTL): After one season spent far away from MLS pitches in the Finnish first division, Kei Kamara has made a strong comeback with CF Montréal, integrating one of the best attacks in the league, and playing a key role as a mentor to a young Montreal squad. With eight goals and seven assists in 1,459 minutes of play, the MLS veteran picked up where he left off in 2020, climbing to third place among MLS all-time scorers. The forward is now just seven goals shy of second place, held by none other than Landon Donovan.

CF Montréal - Lappalainen, Lassi (MTL): After a complicated and injury-laden 2021 season, Lassi Lappalainen’s 2022 campaign has shone far brighter with the winger successfully deploying his speed and work rate as a cornerstone of CF Montréal’s recent successes. For the first time since joining the Club, the Finnish international was able to play over 15 games in a season, being involved on both sides of the pitch, as indicated by his 24 key passes, and 211 duels won in 26 games.

Charlotte FC - Bronico, Brandt (CLT): Bronico was acquired from Chicago Fire FC in December 2020 and was loaned to the Charlotte Independence for the duration of the 2021 season. Upon his return to Major League Soccer in 2022, the North Carolina native has started all but one game this season. He is the only Charlotte FC player to play in every match and has played multiple roles in the midfield throughout the season.

Chicago FIre - Teran, Carlos (CHI): A right thigh injury right before the season opener left Chicago Fire FC defender Carlos Terán sidelined for the beginning of the season. Upon his return to the field for the Fire, the Colombian has registered 1,495 minutes over 20 games (17 starts), including 13 90-minute performances and one goal as a defender. He was named to the Week 17 MLS Team of the Week for his performance in the 1-0 win against the Philadelphia Union.

Columbus Crew - Morris, Aidan (CLB): After becoming the youngest player to ever start in an MLS Cup in 2020, Aidan Morris was expected to play a major role in the Columbus Crew’s 2021 campaign. However, just three days before the start of the season, he tore his ACL during CONCACAF Champions League match. Morris missed the entirety of the 2021 MLS season, and made his return to the Club this season, making 25 appearances (19 starts). Morris has been a nightmare for opponents, constantly pressuring the ball and causing disruptions to opponents’ offenses. He was named to the MLSSoccer.com Team of the Week for Week 15.

Columbus Crew - Artur (CLB): Following a surgery late in the 2021 season to resolve a sports hernia, Artur jumped right back into his role in the Columbus Crew midfield this season without missing a beat. Artur joined the Crew in 2017 and has made 136 appearances (122 starts) and has earned the respect of his teammates both on and off the field. His return to the squad this season has strengthened the Club and allowed the Crew to have one of the strongest midfields in the League.

D.C. United - Odoi-Atsem, Chris (DC): Chris Odoi-Atsem had an injury-riddled season in 2021, which held him to only eleven appearances last season (two starts). In 2022, the 27-year-old right back has had a bit of a resurgence, which has led to his name regularly occupying a spot on Head Coach Wayne Rooney’s teamsheet. Odoi-Atsem’s combative nature and hard-tackling profile, along with his ability to get up and down the right side of the pitch has propelled him to seven starts and 18 total appearances on the year, as of October 1.

FC Cincinnati - Cameron, Geoff (CIN): With three games to go in the 2021 season, Geoff Cameron lept up for a header and came down hard. He fractured several vertebrae in his back, and he missed the remainder of the year. Cameron, 37, rehabbed during the offseason and made a full recovery ahead of the 2022 season. The Attleboro, Massachusetts native has made 23 appearances for FC Cincinnati this season, and he has been a critical part of Pat Noonan's back line

Houston Dynamo - Quintero, Darwin (HOU): Houston Dynamo FC forward Darwin Quintero has taken an expanded role in 2022. The forward was limited to just 1,010 minutes in 2021 and has now doubled the number of games started, goals scored and assists with two games left in 2022. The MLS veteran has scored the second most goals for the team with eight and adds four assists this season. Off the field, the playmaker has been crucial in the adaptation of younger players by serving as a translator and hosting gatherings at his home.

Inter Miami CF - Higuain, Gonzalo (MIA): Gonzalo Higuaín has come back from a difficult 2021 personally following the unfortunate loss of his mother that affected his on-the-pitch performances for most of the campaign. This season, Higuaín suffered injuries that kept him out of the starting XI for 15 consecutive MLS games (from April 9 until July 16), but despite the difficult circumstances, Higuaín came off the bench on July 13 and scored the Club’s best goal of the year, which turned around his season and kicked off his impressive form of 13 direct goal contributions in the last 13 games.

Inter Miami CF - Callender, Drake (MIA): After being the First Team third-choice goalkeeper for the first two seasons, and regularly playing and developing with Inter Miami CF II, Callender was called up to the task due to injuries and has since solidified his spot as the Club’s No. 1 goalkeeper this season, starting 21 games and earning MLS Team of the Week honors on three occasions.

LA Galaxy - Gasper, Chase (LAG): After voluntarily entering the league’s Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABHP) and missing the beginning of the 2022 MLS Regular Season, Chase Gasper joined the LA Galaxy via trade from Minnesota United FC on May 4 and has gone on to make 15 appearances (8 starts) in his first season with the club.

Los Angeles FC - Opoku, Kwadwo 'Mahala' (LAFC): After making an immediate entrance on the international stage in 2020 when the then 19-year old smashed in the game-winning goal over Cruz Azul in the quarterfinals of the 2020 Concacaf Champions League, big things were expected of Mahala Opoku in 2021. He started the 2021 season strong – registering an assist and two assists in the four games of the season before his sophomore campaign was cut short by a torn MCL in his right knee suffered on May 12. After season-ending knee surgery in May 2021, Opoku began the long, arduous rehabilitation process, which allowed him hit the ground running for the 2022 pre-season. The speedy, athletic winger has not stopped, proving to be a dangerous offensive weapon for league leading LAFC and an exciting player who can change a game as a starter or as a sparkplug off the bench. Opoku is third on LAFC with a career-high 7 goals and 3 assists in 32 games played through Sept. 18, scoring a team-high three goals as a substitute. Opoku’s return from injury and return to form has provided LAFC with exceptional depth and attacking pieces that have put the Club in position to possibly clinch its second Supporter’s Shield.

Minnesota United - Larence, Kemar (MIN): After a disappointing finish with Toronto FC in 2021, veteran defender Kemar Lawrence fit in immediately with the Loons style of play. His defensive prowess and willingness to be a part of the attack has proved vital to MNUFC as the club seeks its fourth straight playoff push. Lawrence heads into the last two games of the season with two assists and one goal. Despite missing three matches to a knee injury, the Jamaican international has looked like his old self, starting 24 of the 25 matches he appeared in, a 96% play rate in the matches. This season, Lawrence completed a 77.9% successful passing rate with Minnesota United, with a season-high 88.2% success rate against the Portland Timbers.

New York City FC - Tinnerholm, Anton (NYC): Before suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon in October of last season, the Swedish fullback proved he was one of the best attacking right back’s this league has ever seen. Tinnerholm returned to the pitch only eight months later as a second half sub against Philadelphia. Since his return the experienced defender has appeared in eight matches, making five starts and contributing with a 88.2% duel percentage and a 83.2% passing percentage.

New York City FC - Parks, Keaton (NYC): Parks resilience has been shown this season. Parks returned to the pitch earlier this season from surgery to remove a blood clot in his lower right sustained in October of 2021. A huge part of the central midfield group, Parks provided two goals and two assists in 14 games to start the 2022 campaign. In June of this year, the American midfielder had to undergo the same surgery from the previous season to remove a blood clot from his popliteal artery in his lower right leg. Three months later, Parks returned to the field against Charlotte FC making three appearances thus far.

New York Red Bulls - Long, Aaron (RBNY): After suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon in his right leg, Aaron Long was forced to miss the 2021 season after having season-ending surgery on May 17. Alongside missing the MLS season, Long missed World Cup qualifying with the United States Men's National Team. Long was able to recover just in time for the beginning of the 2022 MLS season, and before the first match be named captain of the New York Red Bulls. Long has led the Red Bulls to third place in the Eastern Conference and the team's 13th consecutive playoff berth, which is currently tied for the longest streak, both active and in league history. He has started 27 of 28 matches this season, while logging, 2,280 minutes. Long scored four goals this season, which is a new career-high for him, and ranks tied for third among active MLS defenders in MLS this year. The Oak Hills, California native was named to his second career MLS All-Star Game as well, where he helped the MLS All-Stars defeat the Liga MX All-Stars on August 10. Besides his club success, Long was able to return to the United States National Team on March 24 against Mexico and was able to conclude World Cup qualifying and help the United States qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 2014. Long has made six appearances with the United States since returning from injury and the U.S. are undefeated this year, when Long has appeared (3-0-3).

Orlando City - Pato, Alexandre (ORL): Pato arrived in Orlando ahead of the 2021 MLS Regular Season, but went down in the 80th minute of the first game of the season and his Club debut. He would only end up appearing in three more matches in 2021 as a result of that injury. Returning healthy at the beginning of this year, Pato has since appeared in 28 matches in 2022, with 18 starts, four goals and six assists to his credit across all competitions for the Lions. Pato played a huge role in Orlando City’s strong start to 2022, impacting plays all over the field.

Orlando City - Moutinho, João (ORL): João Moutinho had multiple stretches of games in both 2020 and 2021 where he was listed as out due to injury. 2022 has been his healthiest year by far, allowing him to make 30 appearances, 27 starts, scoring two goals and providing three assists. His contributions and work off the field to avoid injuries has helped put the Lions in contention for a playoff spot.

Philadelphia Union - Carranza, Julian (PHI): After scoring a combined three goals in 41 games over the course of two seasons in MLS, Carranza joined the Union in 2022 where he has played 29 matches (26 starts) and has recorded 14 goals and nine assists thus far, second most on the team in both categories. He became the fourth player in Union history to score a hattrick, and the first to score two in a single season, that has made him a two-time MLS Player of the Week.

Portland Timbers - Williamson, Eryk (POR): Eryk Williamson tore his ACL in the 2021 season after winning the 2021 Gold Cup with the U.S. Men's National Team. This season, Williamson has tallied eight assists in 21 games for the Timbers.

Real Salt Lake - Wood, Bobby (RSL): Former USA striker Bobby Wood rebounded from an injury-filled 2021 to set the tone for RSL's very successful early-season run, helping the Club to a 7W-3L-4T start by leading the pressure from the top line, scoring 3 goals and adding 1 assist prior to a midseason adductor injury that coincided with RSL's summer slide ...

San Jose Earthquakes - Ebobisse, Jeremy (SJ): After suffering a head injury last September that caused him to miss nearly a fifth of the season, Jeremy Ebobisse has returned with authority in 2022. Through Week 32, he has started all 32 matches for San Jose and ranks tied for sixth in MLS with 16 goals, smashing his previous single-season record of 11 (2019).

Seattle Sounders - Morris, Jordan (SEA): After sitting out the 2021 season with a torn ACL, Morris returned to form this season, tallying seven goals and four assists in 27 appearances (through September 27).

Sporting Kansas City - Hernandez, Felipe (SKC): Felipe Hernandez has appeared in every match for Sporting Kansas City during a breakout 2022 season in which the 24-year-old Homegrown Player has recorded four goals and four assists in all competitions as a box-to-box midfielder. Hernandez missed the club’s final 24 matches in 2021 while receiving counseling and serving a suspension for violation of the league’s gambling integrity rules and standards of conduct.

Sporting Kansas City - Sweat, Ben (NYC): Ben Sweat suffered a torn ACL in his left knee while playing for Austin FC on April 24, 2021 and missed the final 32 matches of the team’s expansion season. After joining Sporting KC as a free agent and having the word ‘believe’ tattooed on his left tricep during his rehabilitation, Sweat returned to the same field where he suffered the season-ending injury for his first MLS minutes in over 10 months on March 12, 2022. The 31-year-old outside back has logged 22 appearances for Sporting in all competitions this year — playing at both left back and right back — and has contributed three primary assists.

Toronto FC - Akinola, Ayo (TOR): "Ayo Akinola established himself as one of the top young forwards in MLS in 2020, starting with a breakout showing at the MLS is Back Tournament where he finished second-highest goal-scorer at the tournament with five goals. On July 18, 2021, Akinola suffered an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear while playing for the Canadian Men’s National Team at the Gold Cup, which ruled him out of the rest of the season. This year, Akinola made his long-awaited comeback from injury, after close to a year on the sidelines, against FC Cincinnati on April 30, 2022. Soon after, on May 21, 2022, Ayo Akinola made his first start for Toronto FC against D.C. United, since starting against New England Revolution on July 7, 2021. In the same match, he also scored his first goal for the Reds since scoring against D.C. United on July 3, 2021. The following month, the forward scored a brace against rivals CF Montreal to lead the Reds to an emphatic 4-0 victory in the Canadian Championship on June 22, 2022."