Ibrahimovic and Vela: MLS leading early MVP Candidates

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MLS MVP
HARRISON, NJ — MAY 04: Zlatan Ibrahimovic #9 of LA Galaxy with his arms outstretched celebrates the assist during the MLS match between LA Galaxy and New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena on May 04 2019 in Harrison, NJ, USA. The Red Bulls won the match with a score of 3 to 2. (Photo by Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images).

Editorial (May 28, 2019) — Atlanta United forward Josef Martinez looks unlikely to reclaim the MLS MVP award this season after winning in the 2018 season. So who are the leading players to take Martinez’s crown?

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

LA Galaxy’s main man lead them on a seven-game unbeaten run, winning six of the games. Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring seven in this span of games. He’s currently second on MLS’ top scorer charts and the second best goals per minute ratio with 100.

In terms of value to their team, Zlatan might be the most valuable. Zlatan has nine goals. Next best in the squad is from defender Daniel Steres with three. Zlatan’s proven to be a match winner and at peak performance the best player in the league.

LA Galaxy currently are in third place in the Western Conference. As long as Ibrahimovic can stay healthy, his claim for the MVP will be alive and well.

Bill Hamid

A hot take, D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid could win the prize. Hamid, a Homegrown talent from United, is currently on loan from Danish side Midtjlland.

Nobody has saved more shots in the MLS than Hamid, while also facing the most shots in the entire league. He is currently leading the league in clean-sheets, keeping the ball out of the net at all costs. In contrast, Tim Howard has faced one less shot and conceded the most goals in the league.

D.C United manager Ben Olsen has had his side sit deep in their own half for large portions of games. Inviting pressure, making the last line of defense, Hamid is crucial to the team’s success.

D.C United are currently on top of the Eastern Conference and Hamid is a huge part of that. Hamid’s conjured up some highlight saves and has some impressive statistics to back his claim so far which has lead his team to the top.

Carlos Vela

A player who will be an undoubted favorite is Carlos Vela. The Los Angeles FC forward has been compared to Lionel Messi by his manager Bob Bradley. This is due to his outstanding performances in the black and gold shirt.

Vela plays on the right wing for Los Angeles FC. He’s accumulated the most goals in the MLS with 15 goals. To go along with this the best minutes (89) per goal ratio. Meanwhile the top marksmen is also the top provider. Vela is currently tied for the most assists and creating the most chances in the league.

These are unearthly stats, and most will cut him out as a clear favorite. However, there is a claim for an argument against. He is tied for the most assists with teammate Eduard Atuesta. Meanwhile, fellow teammate Mark-Anthony Kaye only has one less. One of his partners in crime, Diego Rossi, is MLS’ fourth-leading scorer. With all that said there is a claim that LAFC are an incredible roster and that there are more valuable players to other teams.

Who claims it in the end?

It will all most likely come down to the winning team of MLS Cup. Three of the last five winners came from the MLS Cup winning team. Of course though, players outside the MLS Cup have been recognized such as David Villa and Sebastian Giovinco.

Vela’s incredible stats and undeniable quality will surely be impossible to ignore if he and LAFC continue as they have gone.

 

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