The 2015 Major League Soccer season is coming to a close and the MLS Goal and Save of the Year candidates have been narrowed down to the last two for each category. The Goal of the Year comes down to Sporting KC's Krisztian Nemeth versus Toronto FC's Sebastian Giovinco. The Save of the Year has David Ousted of the Vancouver Whitecaps against Adam Kwarasey of the Western Conference Champion Portland Timbers.
2015 MLS Goal of the Year
Oct. 4: Kristztan Nemeth vs. Portland Timbers
The first goal is from Nemeth against the Portland Timbers. Nemeth receives the ball 60 yards from goal and makes an amazing individual effort. He cuts the ball twice and makes Timbers midfielder Diego Chara stumble and fall over. Nemeth's next victim on this run is Portland's veteran defender Nat Borchers, as he cuts him up just above the penalty box, causing the burly center back to fall over as well. After this lengthy run, Nemeth is able to strike a ball into the side netting.
This goal is all the individual skill of Nemeth, as he sliced and diced through the Portland defense. He keeps his head up throughout and the defense isn't bad either. Chara is trying not to step in when he gets turned around both times. This is a great goal and helped Sporting KC to a huge win after their mid-week victory in the U.S Open Cup final, which went to penalty kicks.
Oct. 14: Sebastian Giovinco vs. New York Red Bulls
This goal was trademark Giovinco. We saw many different variations of his brilliance throughout the year. Giovinco was able to find the net from almost anywhere on the pitch and it didn't matter if it was a free kick or during the run of play. This goal is another individual effort goal that has him weaving through the Red Bulls defense. Giovinco gets the ball roughly 35 yards from goal and uses his pace to beat the first midfielder. He is able to keep his speed and cut the central defensive midfielder. The next part of the play is the brilliance that only a few players in the world can show. He has three defenders around him and he cuts the ball to the outside, creating space for himself. The finish is sublime as it's hit with pace and into the corner.
Winner: Sebastian Giovinco
Both goals are amazing and both are great individual efforts. Giovinco's for me is just a tad more polished with the cuts in and out of the New York Red Bull defense. The goal will go down as one of the most important of the Toronto FC franchise, as it helped to clinch the team's first playoff berth, and for this reason it wins Goal of the Year for me.
MLS Save of the Year
May 8: David Ousted vs. Philadelphia Union
David Ousted had an excellent year for the Vancouver Whitecaps and this save against Andrew Wenger at the BC Place was his best. It's sort of a broken play on the near side and the Union is able to get a cross in. Vancouver defenders are caught ball watching as Wenger is able to slip in back post for a tap-in. Ousted does an amazing job coming across and diving backwards to make a spectacular save. The save is all reflex and a little bit of desperation. Wenger should do a lot better with the finish but it doesn't take away from the athletic ability of Ousted to make the save.
Aug. 15: Adam Kwarasey vs. Real Salt Lake
Adam Kwarasey has had an up and down year for the Western Conference champion Portland Timbers. He and the Timbers entered this match on a good stretch of matches against their fellow Western Conference foes. Early in this match-up, Kwarasey was called upon to make a big save. This type of scenario we have seen before a clearance gets out to a waiting midfielder ready to strike with pace. The outcomes are usually an amazing goal or a ball sent into the upper deck of a stadium. This time, Luke Mullholland strikes a perfect ball that is screaming to the top corner. Kwarasey is in excellent position and sees the ball the whole way and makes an excellent save to his right. Kwarasey's positioning and athletic ability make this a great save. Many will argue that if he sees a shot from 25 yards out, he should make a save. The ball is hit with such pace and the location makes it a difficult save.
Winner: Adam Kwarasey
This is tough because Ousted's save is all instinct and Kwarasey is all fundamentals. I give the nod to Kwarasey just because I think Wenger needs to do better with the finish. Mullholland drills his shot and it couldn't be placed anywhere better. Kwarasey just made a great save.
The MLS Goal and Save of the Year voting continues on MLS.com until Dec. 3.