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Steffen, Trapp, Zardes finalists for MLS year-end awards

The three Black & Gold players are one step closer to the prizes.

MLS: Orlando City SC at Columbus Crew SC Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Three Columbus Crew SC players remain in the hunt for Major League Soccer’s end-of-year awards after the league released the finalists in each category. Zack Steffen competes for MLS Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year award, while captain Wil Trapp is in contention for the MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year and forward Gyasi Zardes is on the shortlist for the MLS Comeback Player of the Year award.

Steffen, who made 29 regular-season starts and recorded 10 shutouts, had a career year in 2018. The goalkeeper was consistently called up to the U.S. Men’s National Team and was selected for the MLS All-Star Game for the first time in his career. The Crew SC shot-stopper’s opponents are Seattle SoundersStefan Frei and New York Red BullsLuis Robles.

A Columbus native, Trapp was involved in numerous off-the-field activities with Crew SC in 2018, including helping to build a house for a family in need in association with Habitat for Humanity and being involved with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, hosting visitors at training and attending a bowling event. He competes for the award with former Crew SC goalkeeper Matt Lampson, currently with Minnesota United, and Luis Robles.

Zardes is in contention for the Comeback Player of the Year award after he scored 19 goals in the regular season, the most for any American player in the league. His breakout season happened right after a disappointing 2017 campaign, when he struggled with injuries and scored just two goals in 24 matches. The other two finalists are LA Galaxy’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Seattle Sounders’ Osvaldo Alonso.

Eight other players and head coach Gregg Berhalter were included in the initial list for five other categories, but they didn’t make the cut in their respective awards. The finalists earned the most votes in polling among three voting groups: current MLS players, MLS club technical staffs (coaches, technical directors/GMs) and a select group of media members.