Ten days ago, we announced our nominees for our 2020 Nashville SC End of Year Awards. With hundreds of votes cast, it’s time to announce the winners.
Most Valuable Player
Winner: Walker Zimmerman (60.2%)
Zimmerman has lived up to expectations after his high-profile move from LAFC. The center-back has lived up to his $1.25 million price tag, anchoring the best defense in MLS expansion history and scoring three goals on the other end of the pitch. He’s been a consistent presence on the field, playing 94% of possible minutes this season. A finalist for the MLS Defender of the Year award, his first year in Nashville has been an unquestionable success.
Others receiving votes: Joe Willis (25.2%), Randall Leal (5.8%), Dax McCarty (3.9%), Dan Lovitz (1.9%), Aníbal Godoy (1.0%), Dave Romney (1.0%).
Defender of the Year
Winner: Walker Zimmerman (70.9%)
Again, Zimmerman came into Nashville with high expectations and a high price tag and delivered, anchoring one of the best defenses in the league this season.
Others receiving votes: Joe Willis (13.6%), Dan Lovitz (8.7%), Dave Romney (4.9%), Alistair Johnston (1.9%).
Midfielder of the Year
Winner: Aníbal Godoy (53.4%)
Nashville acquired Godoy from San Jose Earthquakes for $650,000 in General Allocation Money, and the trade was met with skepticism by many around the league. While the fee was definitely above market value, Godoy has been a core piece of Nashville’s success.
The most aggressive passer in Nashville’s midfield, his partnership with Dax McCarty has been a key building block for Nashville’s success. His expected pass score (an American Soccer Analysis metric) is the second-highest among defensive midfielders in the league, completing 91.7% of his passes on the season.
Others receiving votes: Dax McCarty (42.7%), Brian Anunga (1.9%), Matt LaGrassa (1.9%).
Attacker of the Year
Winner: Randall Leal (59.2%)
Signed from Costa Rican giants Saprissa as a young designated player, Leal started the season slowly before rounding into form to close out the year. Leal tied Hany Mukhtar with seven goal contributions, with his three goals tied for the second highest tally on the team.
With Mukhtar injured for nearly a month at the end of the year, Leal picked up a major creative burden and became a focal point of the team’s attack, scoring a crucial goal in Montreal to secure a playoff berth for the expansion side.
Others receiving votes: Daniel Ríos (19.4%), Hany Mukhtar (18.4%), Derrick Jones (1.9%), Walker Zimmerman (1.0%).
Newcomer of the Year
Winner: Alistair Johnston (34.0%)
The rookie right back out of Wake Forest solved a major problem for Nashville SC, winning the starting job from Eric Miller after Nashville returned to play in August. With an impressive workrate, strong recovery speed and decent service into the box, Johnston’s first year has been a surprising success, and bodes well for the position long-term.
Others receiving votes: Randall Leal (31.1%), Hany Mukhtar (24.3%), Daniel Ríos (4.9%), Taylor Washington (3.9%), Brian Anunga (1.9%).
Goal of the Season
Winner: Daniel Ríos vs FC Dallas (56.3%)
We’ll just let the video do the talking…
3) Daniel Ríos, #EveryoneN 3 – 0 #DTID | #NSHvDAL— Speedway Soccer (@SpeedwaySoc) November 6, 2020
Others receiving votes: Hany Mukhtar vs Houston Dynamo (28.2%), Aníbal Godoy vs Inter Miami (8.7%), Dan Lovitz vs Orlando City (5.8%), Randall Leal vs Montreal Impact (1.0%)
Best Win of the Season
Winner: Nashville SC 4 – 2 Atlanta United
The first multi-goal win in club history came in style, with Nashville scoring in the first minute. Dax McCarty ran the show that night, scoring once and assisting the other three. The victory was even sweeter against Atlanta United, who have become a rival of sorts in the 2020 season.
Others receiving votes: Nashville 3 – 0 Dallas (30.1%), Houston 1 – 3 Nashville (11.7%), Orlando 2 – 3 Nashville (10.7%).
Moment of the Season
Winner: Nashville’s MLS debut
In a season where full capacity crowds seem like something out of a history book, Nashville’s debut match in front of 59,069 fans at Nissan Stadium stands out, despite a loss.
Walker Zimmerman’s goal in the first half has already become a standout moment for this young club, and the fan support will hopefully return when things go back to normal.
Others receiving votes: David Accam’s winner over FC Dallas (11.7%), Nashville’s 4-2 win over Atlanta (9.7%), Nashville’s comeback over Atlanta (6.8%), Daniel Ríos’s first goal against Dallas (1.0%).
Thanks to everyone who voted! Be sure to look out for more content in the buildup to Nashville’s first-ever playoff match against Inter Miami on Friday at Nissan Stadium.