The nominees for the 2015 ESPYS award for the Best MLS Player look an awful lot like the league’s MVP finalists from last year – plus one Golden Boot winner.
ESPN announced Wednesday that New York Red Bulls forward Bradley Wright-Phillips, who last year led the league with 27 goals, tied for most in a single season in MLS history, joins MVP finalists Obafemi Martins, Lee Nguyen and winner Robbie Keane on the list for the sports network’s annual award show, which will be held July 15 and hosted by comedian Joel McHale.
In addition to his goal total, Wright-Phillips led the Red Bulls to an Eastern Conference semifinals series win over D.C. United and to the conference finals, where they eventually lost to the New England Revolution. He scored four goals and recorded an assist in four playoff games, including both goals in RBNY’s 2-1 victory over Sporting Kansas City in a Knockout Round game.
Nguyen enjoyed a career year with the Revolution last season, recording a career-high 18 goals and five assists after never scoring more than five goals in a season. He helped lead New England to the MLS Cup final, where they lost to the LA Galaxy.
Martins, who finished as the MVP runner-up, turned in one of the most prolific offensive seasons in Seattle Sounders history with 17 goals and 13 assists in just his second season in MLS. He helped lead the Sounders to the US Open Cup title, Supporters’ Shield and Western Conference Championship series, where they lost to the Galaxy.
Keane turned in the finest season of what has been a prolific four-plus year career in MLS, recording career-high totals in goals (19) and assists (14). He had five game-winning goals and a league-leading six game-winning assists in the regular season. In the playoffs, while leading the Galaxy to their third MLS Cup title in the past four seasons, Keane had two goals and three assists in five matches, including the game-winning goal in the championship-match victory over New England to give him the game’s MVP honors.
Departed Red Bulls forward Tim Cahill won the award last year, becoming just the fourth player to win since it was created in 2006, joining five-time winner Landon Donovan, David Beckham (twice) and Thierry Henry (once).
Who do you think is deserving of this year’s award? Let us know in the comment section below.