Atlanta United's 2018 accomplishments have garnered plenty of attention in South America, and now a couple of the key figures of their MLS Cup-winning run have earned year-end recognition in voting for some of the continent's most prestigious awards.
Outgoing head coach Gerardo "Tata" Martino, was a finalist for the South American Coach of the Year award, ultimately finishing third behind River Plate's Marcelo Gallardo, who won an overwhelming 87% percent of the vote after guiding River to the 2018 Copa Libertadores title, and Peruvian national team coach Ricardo Gareca. Martino previously won the award in 2007.
Meanwhile, league MVP Josef Martinez, who set a new single-season scoring record, finished fourth in voting for the 'Rey de América' (South American Footballer of the Year) award, and received the highest vote total of any non-River Plate player.
While there was no outright win for a current Atlanta figure in the voting, Five Stripes fans will likely take more than a little consolation in the fact that the winner of the Rey de América award was Gonzalo 'Pity' Martinez, who looks all but set to join the team in 2019 after his Copa Libertadores heroics.
The South American Footballer of the Year award was originally awarded by Venezuelan newspaper El Mundo, starting in 1971, to the best South American player playing anywhere in the world. In 1986, the award was taken over by Uruguay's El País, which limited eligible players to those playing in South American leagues (and has since been extended to those based in North America) and also started awarding the South American Coach of the Year. The 2018 awards were voted on by 320 journalists from around South America.