Will Luciano Acosta "unanimously" win MLS MVP?

Extratime - Luciano Acosta - FC Cincinnati

Will anyone other than Luciano Acosta be named Landon Donovan MLS MVP in 2023? Not a chance, says the Extratime crew.

They unanimously agree that the FC Cincinnati playmaker will be the winner. And it’s not even close.

"Lucho should win it unanimously in terms of what we think of as value," Matt Doyle said. "He is both the locus of where value ends up on the field because he’s finishing off these team movements. But he’s also the creator of the value in the first place with his passing, with his progression, with his dribbling, and sometimes this year with his defense."

Acosta is enjoying a career year with 29 goal contributions from 16g/13a, good for second in the Golden Boot presented by Audi race. And he’s been the engine for FC Cincinnati’s Supporters’ Shield lift.

Carles Gil did something similar in 2021, when the New England Revolution set an MLS record for single-season points en route to a Shield win.

"In the moments they needed him, it always seemed like he was there," Andrew Wiebe said. " … When it’s always the same guy on the league’s best team making that difference? That’s where MVP gets pretty straightforward for me."

Others will be in the mix – Héctor Herrera for his role in Houston Dynamo FC’s dramatic turnaround, Ryan Gauld at Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Golden Boot leader Dénis Bouanga from LAFC and St. Louis CITY SC goalkeeper Roman Bürki among them.

But being the best player on the best team in MLS? That makes you a favorite.

“They’re winning points with Lucho Acosta. He’s carrying this team in the attack. … Everything runs through him for this team,” The Athletic’s Tom Bogert said. “I don’t want to be dismissive of the other players, but for me this is pretty clear-cut.”