The 2023 MLS season is right around the corner and some of soccer’s top talents have been waiting patiently to compete on the pitch.
Which player will take home the league’s top individual award and hoist the Landon Donovan MVP Award when the season ends? Will a former winner, such as Nashville SC’s Hany Mukhtar or Carlos Vela, win again? Or will someone like Austin FC’s Sebastian Driussi win it for the first time?
Here are a few of the most intriguing players who could be this year’s MLS MVP, complete with betting odds for each candidate.
Hany Mukhtar, Nashville SC
The German midfielder — and reigning MVP — is Tipico Sportsbook’s favorite to take home the honors at +500, a testament to Mukhtar’s scoring ability and impact on a playoff-contending team.
Mukhtar had 34 goal contributions (23 goals, 11 assists), a mark that was good for fifth-most in a single MLS season. The 27-year-old accounted for 65.4% of Nashville’s goals last season, according to MLS’ official website.
And while Muktar may have his sights set on an MLS Cup title in 2023, he may end up back in the MVP conversation if he keeps up his production.
Sebastian Driussi, Austin FC
Driussi is fresh off signing a new contract extension and is looking to improve on his 22-goal output from 2022.
The Argentine midfielder was a finalist for the MVP award last season and is one of the favorites to return to consideration in 2023. And after rumors that Driussi may depart MLS for the English Premier League, the 27-year-old is committed to Austin FC, a Western Conference finalist last season, through at least 2025.
Can Driussi take his game to the next level and claim the MVP this season?
Carlos Vela, Los Angeles FC
The LAFC captain and 2019 MVP, on the heels of a 2022 MLS Cup win, is hungry for more hardware and should put other players on notice when it comes to MVP contention.
He told the MLS’ official website he wants ‘maybe one more, two more’ championships before he retires. Could that desire fuel enough production for Vela to win the league’s most prestigious individual award for a second time?
We expect LAFC to stay in contention for the MLS Cup. Should we expect the same for Vela and the MVP?
Daniel Gazdag, Philadelphia Union
From the defending MLS Cup champions to the runner-ups, Gazdag is looking to make a mark both individually and from a team standpoint in 2023.
Gazdag finished just one goal behind Mukhtar last season and inked a fresh deal in the offseason to remain in Philadelphia.
The 26-year-old, who has also been productive playing internationally for Hungary, is regarded as one of the league’s top two-way players and could take the Union to a new level in 2023.
Josef Martinez, Inter Miami CF
It’s a brand new start for Martinez, who after six seasons with Atlanta United joined Inter Miami on a new contract.
Of course, it’ll take a lot of work for Martinez to close the gap. But with a new team and renewed motivation, Martinez might just mess around and a win MVP in 2023.
2023 MLS MVP odds, betting favorites
Hany Mukhtar, Nashville SC +500
Luciano Acosta, FC Cincinnati +550
Brandon Vazquez, FC Cincinnati +550
Sebastian Driussi, Austin FC +600
Carles Gil, New England Revolution +750
Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez, LA Galaxy +750
Daniel Gazdag, Philadelphia Union +900
Carlos Vela, Los Angeles FC +1200
Talles Magno, New York City FC +1200
Diego Fagundez, Austin FC +1500
Romell Quioto, CF Montréal +1500
Brenner Da Silva, FC Cincinnati +1500
Thiago Almada, Atlanta United +1500
Denis Bouanga, Los Angeles FC +1500
Diego Rubio, Colorado Rapids +2000
Jeremy Ebobisse, San Jose Earthquakes +2000
Jesus Ferreira, FC Dallas +2000
Julian Carranza, Philadelphia Union +2000
Lucas Zelarayan, Columbus Crew +3000
Emanuel Reynoso, Minnesota United +3000
Cucho Hernandez, Columbus Crew +3000
Josef Martinez, Inter Miami CF +4000
Lorenzo Insigne, Toronto FC +4000
Lewis Morgan, New York Red Bulls +5000
Kei Kamara, CF Montréal +6000
Federico Bernardeschi, Toronto FC +6000
Alan Velasco, FC Dallas +7000
Xherdan Shaqiri, Chicago Fire +8000
Riqui Puig, LA Galaxy +10000
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