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MLS Award Predictions for 2022 – MVP, Golden Boot, and More

| February 21, 2022 8:36 am PDT
MLS logo with Head Coach Bob Bradley and Players Carlos Vela, Miles Robinson, Hany Mukhtar

The 2022 Major League Soccer season is right around the corner. The previous campaign ended just over two months ago, but the unusual timing of the FIFA World Cup means the MLS action kicks off earlier than usual this year.

We’re not complaining, though, are we?

In this post, I will be sharing my MLS award predictions for 2022. Along with my predictions for the MLS MVP and Golden Boot, I will look at some of the less popular awards such as Coach of the Year and Newcomer of the Year.

It is worth noting that all the top MLS betting sites enable us to wager on many of these awards. Who knows? My 2022 MLS award predictions could even help you to win some money!

Let’s dive straight in.

Newcomer of the Year – Facundo Torres

I toyed with the idea of making Lorenzo Insigne my MLS Newcomer of the Year prediction for 2022. The Italian superstar is set to become the highest-paid player in MLS history after signing for Toronto FC.

However, Insigne won’t team up with the Reds until his Napoli contract expires in July. That means he will miss roughly half of the season, giving other MLS newcomers plenty of time to make an impact before he arrives.

Several high-profile transfers have already gone through during the offseason. FC Dallas splashed the cash on Argentine teenager Alan Velasco, Luiz Arujo joined Atlanta United, while Austin FC spent big bucks on Sebastian Driussi.

Games Goals Assists
71 16 15

Don’t get me wrong, those players are destined to light up the league. But my prediction for the 2022 MLS Newcomer of the Year is Facundo Torres.

Orlando recently acquired Torres from Uruguayan giant Penarol for around $8 million. At just 21, the highly rated winger has already made ten international appearances for Uruguay and looks set to shine for the Lions.

Comeback Player of the Year – Carlos Vela

Carlos Vela arrived in Major League Soccer back in 2018. The following year, he clinched both the MVP Award and Golden Boot as Los Angeles FC won the Supporters’ Shield.

Thanks to his exploits in 2019, he is officially the most prolific MLS Golden Boot winner of all time.

The Mexican magician was set for another successful season in 2020, but a nasty injury kept him on the sidelines for the majority of the year. He missed a large portion of last season, too, featuring in just 20 of LAFC’s 34 games.

Following two difficult campaigns, I’m backing Vela to bounce back in 2022 and win the Comeback Player of the Year award.

Vela’s record speaks for itself. The former Arsenal star has bagged 67 goals and 30 assists in 100 games across all competitions for LAFC. If he remains injury-free, he will almost certainly rediscover his best form this year.

Coach of the Year – Bob Bradley

Bob Bradley parted ways with LAFC at the end of the 2021 season. Having helped the club to integrate into Major League Soccer, both parties decided it was time for a new challenge.

A week after Bradley’s LAFC exit, the 63-year-old was announced as the new head coach of Toronto FC. The Reds had just endured their worst-ever MLS season and wasted no time in appointing the experienced leader.

I can see Bradley thriving in Ontario. The three-time MLS Coach of the Year won his first MLS Cup all the way back in 1998 before guiding LAFC to Supporters’ Shield glory in 2019. Let’s not forget that he also led the USMNT to Gold Cup success in 2007.

We all know that TFC ended the previous campaign on a sour note, but Bradley has more than enough experienced to turn things around – and add to his Coach of the Year collection.

When I put together my bold predictions for the 2022 Major League Soccer season, I backed Bradley to transform Toronto. Follow the link below to discover more MLS predictions for 2022.

8 Bold Predictions for the 2022 Major League Soccer Season

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Goalkeeper of the Year – Joe Willis

I think Joe Willis can count himself pretty unfortunate to have missed out on last season’s Goalkeeper of the Year award. Indeed, no goalkeeper kept more clean sheets than the Nashville SC shot-stopper in 2021.

Willis kept 13 clean sheets in 36 games, meaning he ended the campaign with a shutout rate of 36.1%. Only three goalkeepers – Andre Blake (46.4%), William Yarbrough (38.2%), and Carlos Coronel (37.1%) – outperformed Willis in that department.

He even enjoys the odd assist, too!

However, New England’s Matt Turner was named the 2021 Goalkeeper of the Year. Blake finished in second place, with Willis coming in at number three.

In 2020, Willis helped the team from Music City to register the second-best defensive record in the entire league. The Boys in Gold took their game to another level last season, achieving the joint-best defensive record.

It’s about time Willis gets the respect that he deserves!

Defender of the Year – Miles Robinson

Thankfully, one player in Nashville’s backline HAS been recognized for his exploits in recent seasons. Having claimed each of the past two Defender of the Year awards, Walker Zimmerman is widely regarded as the best center-back in the league.

Zimmerman became only the third player in history to scoop the prize in back-to-back seasons last year. Sure, he is a top-class defender. But I can’t see him winning the award three seasons in a row.

With that in mind, my 2022 MLS Defender of the Year prediction is Miles Robinson.

Not only did Robinson finish third in the voting back in 2019, but he also finished third last season. The 24-year-old has consistently put himself in the running for the award and is now ready to take out the top prize.

The Atlanta United center-back has also become a key member of Gregg Berhalter’s backline in recent times. He played every single minute of the USMNT’s 2021 Gold Cup-winning campaign, underlining his importance to the team.

Young Player of the Year – Alan Velasco

Ricardo Pepi was named the 2021 Young Player of Year following a stunning breakout season for FC Dallas. The teenager racked up 13 goals in the previous campaign before joining German side Augsburg for a whopping $20 million.

Consequently, that transfer fee enabled Dallas to sign another highly-rated prodigy. The Texans recently acquired 19-year-old Alan Velasco from Argentina powerhouse Independiente, making him the most expensive player in the club’s history.

Velasco is a tricky winger with bags of potential. He racked up 69 first-team appearances for Independiente as a teenager, contributing eight goals and ten assists in the process.

Games Goals Assists
69 8 10

The former Argentina U17 international is destined for a long a successful career, and I can see him hitting the ground running in Major League Soccer. Having cost the Toros in excess of $7 million, he is bound to get plenty of game time in 2022.

I wouldn’t be surprised if an FC Dallas starlet picks up the MLS Young Player of the Year award for the second season in a row.

Golden Boot – Cristian Arango

On the topic of hitting the ground running, let’s talk about Cristian Arango. If Velasco can take a leaf out of Arango’s book, he will almost certainly win Young Player of the Year.

Midway through the 2021 campaign, Arango joined LAFC from Colombian club Millonarios and made an instant impact. He scored 14 goals in just 17 appearances for his new team, including a hat-trick against Dallas.

Cristian Arango’s Record for LAFC
  • Games: 17
  • Goals: 14
  • Assists: 2

Arango enjoyed a five-game scoring streak across August and September before netting seven goals in a four-game hot streak in October. His ability to hit the target at a rapid rate makes him a prime Golden Boot contender.

The Colombian averaged a goal every 100 minutes during his debut MLS season. If he replicates those kinds of numbers in 2022, there is no reason why he can’t clinch the Golden Boot.

Landon Donovan MVP – Hany Mukhtar

Hany Mukhtar finished second in the 2021 MVP voting following a phenomenal season on a personal level. Although New England’s Carles Gil picked up the majority of votes, Nashville’s playmaker came close to scooping the biggest prize of all.

The German chalked up a colossal 16 goals and 12 assists last year, meaning he ended the campaign with the most goal involvements in the league (28). Valentin Castellanos (27) and Damir Kreilach (25) pushed him all the way, but Mukhtar came out on top.

In my eyes, Mukhtar has set the foundations for an MVP-winning season. If it weren’t for the brilliance of Gil, Mukhtar would have almost certainly won the award in 2021.

I expect Nashville to enjoy another successful season in 2022, and that means Mukhtar is destined to mount another serious challenge for the MVP award.

When it comes to making your MLS MVP predictions for 2022, it is important to remember that any number of players could win the award. If you’re looking for more guidance, be sure to check out my top 10 MLS MVP contenders.

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What Are Your MLS Predictions for 2022?

I would love to hear your predictions for the 2022 Major League Soccer season. It’s always interesting to hear different opinions regarding the end-of-season awards, so be sure to drop a comment below.

Of course, I don’t expect all my MLS predictions to come to fruition. But it’s always fun to lay down your predictions before the season gets underway and check them at the end of the year.

I have already published my betting preview for the 2022 MLS season. Make sure you check that out if you’re planning to wager on the upcoming campaign.

Ben Morris

Ben is a sportswriter and tipster who specializes in soccer. Currently based in the UK, he has traveled all around the world watching – and betting on – his beloved sport.

Alongside his regular soccer content, Ben publishes blogs and picks for cricket, Formula 1, Aussie rules, darts, and various other sports.

Ben is a diehard fan of Nottingham Forest and England, so he hasn’t had much to cheer about in recent years!

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