As the regular season winds down, we're getting closer and closer to the end-of-season awards, and for the first time ever, we know who is on the ballot. Along with 53 players across the league, Atlanta's Josef Martinez, Miguel Almirón and Tito Villalba have all been nominated for the 2017 Landon Donovan MLS MVP award.
All three players are in their first season in MLS and have made quite the first impression. Josef Martinez holds the best scoring rate per game in the league, and with 18 goals this season sits just three behind the lead in the Golden Boot race. Almirón has been at the heart of one of the league's most potent attacks all season, and has tallied 9 goals and 13 assists so far. And Villalba has proven a vital cog of Tata Martino's offense, starting every league game and scoring 13 goals and assisting 10 – the only player on the team with double-digit numbers in both categories.
The attacking trio has certainly caught the attention of the league at large combining for 12 Team of the Week nominations, 4 Player of the Week nods, and 7 Goal of the Week awards. Almirón was also one of three Atlanta United players selected for the MLS All-Star Game and Martinez is the only player in the league to earn the MLS Player of the Month awards twice. And of course they've spearheaded an attack that ranks second in the league in goals scored, with 68 so far this year.
The award is voted on by players, coaches and select media members and will be announced in December.