Major League Soccer unveiled its ballot for the 2017 Landon Donovan Most Valuable Player award, including three Columbus Crew SC representatives: midfielders Federico Higuain and Justin Meram and forward Ola Kamara.
All players on the MVP ballot are nominated by their respective club, with a maximum of three nominations permitted per team.
Players, technical staffers (technical directors, GMs and coaches) and a select group of national and regional media will begin voting for each of the awards on Tuesday, October 17. Each voting group, representing one-third of the total vote, will have until Monday, October 23 at 5 p.m. ET to submit their votes.
Higuain recently inked a Designated Player contract extension into 2018 and has made 147 regular-season appearances (142 starts) in his Crew SC career. He is one of only three players in club history to register at least 40 goals and 40 assists in regular-season action for the club, having tallied 48 goals and 46 assists. He is a two-time recipient of the Crew SC’s Most Valuable Player award, having won the honor in 2013 and 2014.
This season, Higuain has made 24 regular-season appearances (all starts) this year, registering nine goals and a career-high 11 assists.
Meram, a seven-year veteran of Crew SC, has produced a career year attacking from the left side. In 32 appearances (30 starts), the Iraq international has 13 goals and seven assists in 2,459 minutes. He's been recognized by MLSsoccer.com's Team of the Week three times, and was honored as the Alcatel MLS Player of the Week following his hat-trick against the Montreal Impact on May 13.
Kamara — the team's leading scorer with a career-high 16 goals (matching his 2016 output) — has appeared in every Crew SC match this year, starting all but one. The Norwegian has three assists and two MLSsoccer.com Team of the Week recognitions.
Columbus Crew SC has officially clinched a spot in the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs, returning to the postseason for the third time in four seasons under Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter.
With two regular-season contests remaining, Crew SC is assured of finishing no lower than sixth place in the Eastern Conference by virtue of its win against D.C. United at MAPFRE Stadium on September 30. The win against D.C. United was the Black & Gold’s 12th regular-season home victory of 2017, setting a new club record for most regular-season wins at home.
Final postseason seeding will be determined in the coming weeks as the Black & Gold (15-12-5, 50 points) conclude the regular season along with all other MLS clubs.
Up next, Crew SC travels to take on Orlando City SC at Orlando City Stadium on Sunday, October 15 (5 p.m. ET / The CW Columbus, Spectrum Sports, BCSN2, CD102.5 FM, La Mega 103.1 FM, English radio stream available).
Below is the list of 53 players named to the ballot for the 2017 Landon Donovan Most Valuable Player award. All players on the MVP ballot are nominated by their respective club, with a maximum of three nominations permitted per team.
Complete ballots for the other awards will be released over the coming days. Finalists (three per award) will be announced on Tuesday, October 31.
2017 Landon Donovan Most Valuable Player Award Ballot
|ATL||VILLALBA, Hector "Tito"||F|
|HOU||CABEZAS, Juan David||M|