Sam Kerr scored a league-record 17 goals for Sky Blue FC this season. (Jeffrey Auger Photo)
Sky Blue FC striker Sam Kerr was named among five finalists as National Women’s Soccer League MVP.
The other finalists were Orlando Pride striker Marta, North Carolina Courage midfielder Samantha Mewis, Chicago Red Stars forward Christen Press and Seattle Reign FC midfielder-forward Megan Rapinoe.
Here is a look at all five finalists:
Samantha Kerr – Sky Blue FC
The Golden Boot winner, Kerr set a NWSL season scoring record with 17 goals in 22 appearances. Five of her 17 tallies were game-winning goals, to go along with four assists. She became the first player to record two hat-tricks in the same season, recorded the fastest hat-trick in league history as she registered three goals in 12 minutes. Kerr also became the first player in NWSL history to score four goals in a game and was named to the NWSL team of the month for May, June, July and August.
Marta – Orlando Pride
After being acquired as a blockbuster signing in March, Marta did not disappoint in her first NWSL season. The Brazilian international finished the season second in the league in both goals (13) and assists (6), also team highs in both categories. Four of her goals were game-winning scores. She also led the league in chances created with 64. The five-time FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year teamed up with striker partner Alex Morgan five times in the latter part of the season as the Pride went on a nine-game unbeaten streak to end the year and clinch a playoff berth. Marta was named to the NWSL team of the month in June, July and August and won Week 16 goal of the week.
Samantha Mewis – North Carolina Courage
Mewis dominated the center of the field as her six goals – including three game-winning goals – and three assists helped power the club to the NWSL Shield. A consistent force in the middle of the park, Mewis won 64 percent of her duels and 79 percent of her tackles. She was named to the team of the month three times, making the list in April, June and August. She also was named player of the week for Week 16 after netting two goals against Seattle.
Christen Press – Chicago Red Stars
Regaining her role as captain, Press registered personal bests with 11 goals and four assists. Five of her goals were game-winners and four of her goals came from the penalty spot – tied for the most in the league. She was a constant attacking threat and one of the top shooters in the league with 85 shots (49 on goal). Press twice won the NWSL goal of the week (Weeks 5 and 14) and was voted the NWSL player of the week for Week 6.
Megan Rapinoe – Seattle Reign FC
With 12 goals and one assist in 18 games, Megan Rapinoe finished the season with her highest goal total and the third most goals in the league this year. Four of her goals were game-winners. Twice named NWSL player of the week and the player of the month for July, Rapinoe scored against six of the other nine NWSL teams this year. Rapinoe’s 12 goals is the second most in a season by a Reign FC player, and the highest goal total for a Reign FC player since 2014. Rapinoe found the back of the net in five of Reign FC’s nine victories.