Toronto FC’s Alejandro Pozuelo named Major League Soccer MVP

Toronto FC's Alejandro Pozuelo takes a shot on goal during overtime of the team's MLS soccer playoff match against Nashville SC, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020, in East Hartford, Conn. AP Photo/Jessica Hill

Toronto FC playmaker Alejandro Pozuelo is Major League Soccer’s MVP for 2020.

The 29-year-old attacking midfielder from Seville, Spain, was named Landon Donovan MLS MVP over Philadelphia goalkeeper Andre Blake, Seattle midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro and forward Jordan Morris, and Los Angeles FC forward Diego Rossi on Monday.

All five were named to the league’s Best XI, while Blake was also voted goalkeeper of the year.

Pozuelo tied for the MLS lead in assists with 10, while finishing tied for eighth in goals with nine in 23 games. He led the league in combined goals and assists (19), chances created (70) and game-winning goals (5).

He showed his durability by becoming the first TFC player to start in every regular-season match in a season. He ranked ninth in the league in minutes played (2,015 minutes), missing just 55 minutes of the regular season.

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Toronto (13-5-5) went 9-1-4 when Pozuelo scored or had an assist this season.

“I am honoured to be named MLS MVP,” Pozuelo said in a statement. “I want to thank my teammates and our coaching staff as this individual award shows we had a very good season. I am happy to be able to celebrate this award with my wife, my kids and all my friends here in Spain.”

He joins Italian star Sebastian Giovinco (2015) as the only Toronto player to win the MVP award.

Pozuelo won 35.35 percent of the vote by MLS players, club officials and media. Rossi was second (17.80 percent), ahead of Lodeiro (10.58), Morris (8.49) and Blake (4.91).

“Congratulations to Alejandro on being awarded the highest of honours in MLS,” said Toronto president Bill Manning. “Since joining our club in 2019 Alejandro’s contributions on the field and in the locker room have been incredible. This year he emerged as one of our leaders and was the chief catalyst as our team finished with the second-highest points per game in the league. This is a well-deserved MVP award for Alejandro.”

Pozuelo was named the MLS Player of the Month for September and won named to the MLS team of the week on five occasions.

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“Poz had a great season, and we are very happy that he is receiving this award,” said Toronto GM Ali Curtis. “We also believe that while the MVP is given to one, it is an award that is reflective of the group. This year was challenging in so many ways, but Poz is a competitor, he’s passionate about the game, and he is more than deserving of this award.”

Signed as a designated player in March 2019, Pozuelo has 23 goals and 25 assists in 61 appearances in all competitions for Toronto.

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