Wright-Phillips, Villa, Kljestan named finalists for 2016 MLS MVP award

New York rules in the voting process as Giovinco gets snubbed

Major League Soccer's 2016 Most Valuable Player will play for a team whose name includes "New York." The league named its three finalists for the award on Tuesday, with New York City FC's David Villa joining the New York Red Bulls' Sach Kljestan and Bradley Wright-Phillips.

The omission of Toronto FC's Sebastian Giovinco, the reigning MLS MVP, comes as a surprise despite an injury which kept him out of action in September and some of October.

Wright-Phillips won the MLS Golden Boot for the second time, notching 24 goals in the regular season. His 68 goals over the course of the past three full seasons is an MLS record.

Across the Hudson River, Villa finished one off Wright-Phillips' pace with 23 goals in the regular season. His 41 goals over the past two full regular-seasons is tied with Wright-Phillips for the most in that span. 

Kljestan notched a league-best 20 assists in 2016, the second most in a single season in MLS history. 

Both the Red Bulls and NYCFC are home on Sunday in their respective second legs of the Eastern Conference semifinals. NYCFC trails Toronto, 2-0 on aggregate, while the Red Bulls trail Montreal, 1-0.

Villa's coach, Patrick Vieira, is a finalist for Coach of the Year, along with Colorado Rapids boss Pablo Maestroeni and FC Dallas coach Oscar Pareja.

Awards are voted on by current MLS players, clubs (Coaches, Technical Directors, Chief Business Officers and PR Directors), and media. The full list of awards is as follows:

Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player Finalists

Sacha Kljestan (New York Red Bulls)

David Villa (New York City FC)

Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls)

Defender of the Year Finalists

Matt Hedges (FC Dallas)

Axel Sjoberg (Colorado Rapids)

Jelle Van Damme (LA Galaxy)

Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year Finalists

Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union)

Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids)

Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls)

Newcomer of the Year Finalists

For this award, “newcomer” is defined as a player with previous professional experience who made his MLS debut in 2016

Ola Kamara (Columbus Crew SC)

Nico Lodeiro (Seattle Sounders FC)

Jelle Van Damme (LA Galaxy)

AT&T Rookie of the Year Finalists

For this award, “rookie” is defined as a player without previous professional experience who made his MLS debut in 2016

Jack Harrison (New York City FC)

Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC)

Keegan Rosenberry (Philadelphia Union)

Coach of the Year Finalists

Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids)

Oscar Pareja (FC Dallas)

Patrick Vieira (New York City FC)

Comeback Player of the Year Finalists

Honors an MLS player who has overcome injuries and/or adversity in order to achieve success during the 2016 regular season

Frank Lampard (New York City FC)

Kevin Molino (Orlando City SC)

Chris Pontius (Philadelphia Union)

MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year, presented by Advocare, Finalists

Matt Lampson (Chicago Fire)

Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls)

Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)

MLS Fair Play Finalists – Individual

Selected by MLS based on objective criteria such as fouls committed, cards received, games and minutes played, as well as subjective evaluation of sportsmanlike behavior.

Chad Marshall (Seattle Sounders FC)

Keegan Rosenberry (Philadelphia Union)

Chris Tierney (New England Revolution)

MLS Fair Play Finalists - Team

Selected by MLS based on objective criteria such as fewest fouls committed, cards received, and on subjective evaluation of sportsmanlike behavior. 

Columbus Crew SC

Seattle Sounders FC

Toronto FC

Referee of the Year Finalists

Alan Kelly

Jair Marrufo

Baldomero Toledo

Assistant Referee of the Year Finalists

Frank Anderson

Ian Anderson

Eric Boria

Awards Announcements Schedule

Schedule subject to change

November 3: MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year, presented by Advocare

November 4: MLS Referee and Assistant Referee of the Year; Fair Play Award – Individual and Team

November 10: AT&T Rookie of the Year

November 11: MLS Defender of the Year; AT&T Goal of the Year and MLS Save of the Year

November 16: MLS Comeback Player of the Year

November 17: Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year

November 21: Newcomer of the Year

November 29: MLS Coach of the Year

December 6: Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player

TBD: MLS Best XI