Friday November 24 3:13 pm

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

Chicago Fire Soccer Club in Running for Five 2017 MLS End of Year Awards

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Fire forward Nemanja Nikolic is among five finalists for Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player, and he’s also among three players in the running for MLS Newcomer of the Year. Goalkeeper Matt Lampson is a finalist for MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year, presented by AdvoCare, for the second-consecutive year. Paunovic is one of three contending for MLS Head Coach of the Year, and the Fire are also on the shortlist for MLS Team Fair Play honors.

Nikolic won the league’s Golden Boot with 24 goals, helping to lead the Fire to the third-highest point total in MLS and their first MLS Cup Playoff appearance since 2012. Nikolic’s haul set a club record for goals in a single season. The Hungary international started all 34 regular season games for the Fire after joining the club from Polish league champion Legia Warsaw in December of 2016.

Lampson is the reigning MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year. In 2017, the LampStrong Foundation made a $20,000 donation to the Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago’s Healthy Living Initiative, which teaches families of children with cancer about healthy lifestyle choices. Lampson also expanded his Hero Program, hosting cancer survivors and patients at Fire home and away games, in addition to field trips to Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium and hospital and home visits. The Hero Program helps children and families find a break from the emotional grind of dealing with cancer treatments and its effects.

Paunovic helped engineer the largest turnaround in club history as the Fire improved by 24 points from 2016 to 2017. Chicago’s improvement resulted in a meteoric rise in the standings, moving from last in 2016 to the third-best point total across the league in 2017. The Fire’s 55 points were the fourth-most in club history.

All 12 teams to make the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs have at least one award finalist, with Atlanta United leading all teams with five finalists followed by Toronto FC and the Chicago Fire with four each.

The finalists for each award are listed in alphabetical order below, as well as the announcement schedule for the winner of each.

The finalists earned the most votes in polling of three voting groups:
Current MLS players
MLS Clubs (Coaches, Technical Directors/General Managers)
Media members who consistently covered the 2017 MLS Regular Season

The AT&T Goal of the Year and MLS Save of the Year will be decided by online voting at MLSsoccer.com or the free MLS app from now through November 14.

2017 Major League Soccer Awards Finalists
(Listed in alphabetical order by last name within each award category)

Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player Finalists
Miguel Almiron (Atlanta United)
Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC)
Nemanja Nikolic (Chicago Fire)
Diego Valeri (Portland Timbers)
David Villa (New York City FC)

Defender of the Year Finalists
Justin Morrow (Toronto FC)
Ike Opara (Sporting Kansas City)
Kendall Waston (Vancouver Whitecaps FC)

Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year Finalists
Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union)
Stefan Frei (Seattle Sounders FC)
Tim Melia (Sporting Kansas City)

Newcomer of the Year Finalists*
For this award, “newcomer” is defined as a player with previous professional experience who made his MLS debut in 2017
Miguel Almiron (Atlanta United)
Josef Martinez (Atlanta United)
Nemanja Nikolic (Chicago Fire)

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 2017
Abu Danladi (Minnesota United FC)
Jack Elliott (Philadelphia Union)
Julian Gressel (Atlanta United)

Coach of the Year Finalists
Gerardo "Tata" Martino (Atlanta United)
Veljko Paunovic (Chicago Fire)
Greg Vanney (Toronto 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 2017 regular season
Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC)
Federico Higuaín (Columbus Crew SC)
Erick Torres (Houston Dynamo)

MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year, presented by AdvoCare, Finalists
Ryan Hollingshead (FC Dallas)
Matt Lampson (Chicago Fire)
Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls)

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.
DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo)
Jahmir Hyka (San Jose Earthquakes)
Dave Romney (LA Galaxy)

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.
Chicago Fire
Seattle Sounders FC
Toronto FC

Referee of the Year Finalists
Allen Chapman
Ismail Elfath
Mark Geiger

Assistant Referee of the Year Finalists
Jeremy Hanson
Corey Parker
Adam Wienckowski

Awards Announcement Schedule:
Schedule subject to change
November 2: MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year, presented by AdvoCare
November 7: MLS Referee and Assistant Referee of the Year; Fair Play Award – Individual and Team
November 8: AT&T Rookie of the Year
November 9: MLS Defender of the Year
November 14: AT&T Goal of the Year and MLS Save of the Year
November 15: MLS Comeback Player of the Year
November 16: Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year
November 20: Newcomer of the Year
November 27: MLS Coach of the Year
November 28: MLS Best XI
December 4: Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player