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Finalists Announced for 2023 MLS Year-End Awards

Atlanta United, FC Cincinnati, and St. Louis CITY SC lead all clubs with finalists across four different awards

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NEW YORK (Thursday, October 26, 2023) – Major League Soccer today announced the finalists for the 2023 MLS Year-End Awards, honoring the league’s top performers during the MLS regular season. Among the finalists are individuals representing 13 MLS clubs, with the winners set to be announced throughout the Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs.

Atlanta United, FC Cincinnati, and St. Louis CITY SC are the most represented clubs among the 2023 MLS Year-End Awards contenders with finalists in four award categories each. St. Louis’ four MLS Year-End Awards finalists are the most by an MLS expansion team in their inaugural season since Atlanta United had five in 2017.

Finalists for the Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player award, which honors the most valuable player in MLS during the 2023 regular season, include midfielders Luciano ‘Lucho’ Acosta (FC Cincinnati) and Thiago Almada (Atlanta United) and forward Dénis Bouanga (Los Angeles Football Club).

Acosta (17 goals, 14 assists) captained Cincinnati to a Supporters’ Shield title, their first-ever trophy as an MLS club, while recording his third career season with at least 10 goals and 10 assists. Almada became the youngest player in MLS history to record double-digit goals and assists this season, scoring 11 times and providing a league-leading 19 assists during the 2023 regular season. Bouanga claimed this year’s MLS Golden Boot presented by Audi, finishing his first full MLS season with a league-leading 20 goals.

St. Louis CITY SC’s Bradley Carnell is a finalist for Sigi Schmid MLS Coach of the Year after he led the club to a first-place finish in the Western Conference, becoming the first expansion side in MLS history to top a conference in their inaugural season. Pat Noonan is also among the three candidates for the coaching accolade after guiding FC Cincinnati to a first-place finish in the Eastern Conference and first-ever MLS trophy in the Supporters’ Shield. For the second consecutive year, Wilfried Nancy (Columbus Crew) is a finalist for the honor after tying the Crew’s club-record 57 points in a regular season.

Pedro Gallese (Orlando City SC) was named a finalist for Allstate MLS Goalkeeper of the Year along with
Roman Bürki (St. Louis CITY SC), who produced the second-most saves (123) in MLS this season, and Roman Celentano (FC Cincinnati), who finished the 2023 MLS regular season tied for the second-most clean sheets in MLS (12).

Eduard Löwen (St. Louis CITY SC), Giorgos Giakoumakis (Atlanta United), and Lionel Messi (Inter Miami CF) make up the finalists for the MLS Newcomer of the Year award, with Giakoumakis and Löwen leading all first-year MLS players in goals and assists, respectively, this season.

A full list of the 2023 MLS Year-End Awards finalists can be found here.

The 2023 MLS Year-End Awards finalists earned the highest average votes from the following groups:

  • Current MLS first-team players
  • MLS clubs (coaches, technical directors/general managers)
  • Select media members representing local and national outlets who consistently covered the 2023 MLS regular season

The AT&T MLS Goal of the Year and MLS Save of the Year presented by Allstate will be decided by online voting at with winners announced on Thursday, Nov. 9.  Voting will take place over a seven-day span from Monday, Oct. 30 (12 p.m. ET) through Monday, Nov. 6 (5 p.m. ET).

MLS Referee and Assistant Referee of the Year award recipients will be announced on Tuesday, Nov. 14, and the MLS Best XI presented by Continental Tire will be revealed at a later date.