Awards Ballot

MLS Awards Ballots: Fire nominated for postseason honors

As the MLS regular season comes to a close, the league has spent the last several days rolling out the names of all those players and coaches who'll be considered for 2017 postseason awards. Not surprisingly, the Fire were well-represented up and down the ballot. 

Here's a look at our potential honorees, with finalists (three per award) being announced on Tuesday, Oct. 31.

LANDON DONOVAN MOST VALUABLE PLAYER AWARD

  • Nemanja Nikolic, F
    • In Brief: Nikolic, a three-time MLS Player of the Week honoree, has shattered Chicago's single-season scoring record (24), is on track to claim MLS Golden Boot honors and has scored in 17 of his 33 games played. His resurgence late in the year has coincided with the Fire's 4-1-2 record since September 1. 
  • Bastian Schweinsteiger, M
    • In Brief: Ranking among the league leaders in passes completed per 90 minutes, Schweinsteiger's influence on the Men In Red was clear and immediate after his arrival three games into the season. His goal and Man-of-the-Match performance at Montreal on Sept. 2 helped the Fire turn the tide after a challenging August stretch. 

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR AWARD

  • Nemanja Nikolic, F
    • In Brief: Coming into MLS after a prolific season-and-a-half at Legia Warsaw, Nikolic adjusted quickly to his new league, netting 10 goals in his first 10 games and overcoming a mid-season lull to record one of the top-10 goal-scoring seasons in league history. 
  • Bastian Schweinsteiger, M
    • In Brief: One of the most decorated players ever to play in MLS, Schweinsteiger translated his championship pedigree to Chicago with ease and anchored one of the best midfields in MLS. 

DEFENDER OF THE YEAR AWARD

  • Johan Kappelhof, D
    • In Brief: Kappelhof has remained a rock in a Fire back line that has been at times beset by injury in 2017, starting 32 of 33 games in MLS and recording four assists after going without one in 2016. The Fire conceded only two goals over an eight-game MLS stretch from May 17 to July 1, leading to an MLS All-Star selection for the Dutch centerback. 

COACH OF THE YEAR AWARD

  • Veljko Paunovic
    • In Brief: Year two at the helm of the Fire saw Paunovic's desired style of play come to life and bring impressive results with it. The Fire turned Toyota Park into a fortress and achieved a 25-point year-over-year improvement in the table with one game remaining. 

MLS WORKS HUMANITARIAN OF THE YEAR AWARD

Ten years after his own battle with cancer, Matt Lampson continues to work tirelessly to help find a cure for childhood cancer. In 2017 the LampStrong Foundation, the non-profit dedicated to providing difference-making financial, emotional and motivational support to cancer patients and their families, 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. This year Lampson found a creative outlet for his love of donuts, raising more than $4,000 in donut-centric fundraisers. He also expanded his Hero Program, hosting survivors and patients at Fire home and away games, in addition to field trips to the Shedd Aquarium and hospital and home visits, helping the kids and families find a break from the emotional grind of dealing with cancer treatments and its effects.

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