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Early 2024 favorites: MLS Cup, Supporters' Shield, MVP & more


Let the debate begin.

The 2024 MLS season is here, starting the race to MLS Cup and the Supporters' Shield (among other trophies). Same goes for awards, such as being crowned the Landon Donovan MLS MVP or Golden Boot presented by Audi winner.

To identify some start-of-year favorites, we asked MLS Season Pass talent to vote in our Season Preview Guide. Their opinions, cumulatively, are outlined below.

MLS Cup presented by Audi
  • Inter Miami CF - 6 votes
  • FC Cincinnati - 3 votes
  • Columbus Crew - 2 votes
  • Atlanta United - 1 vote
  • Sporting Kansas City - 1 vote
  • Orlando City SC - 1 vote

Inter Miami are an early frontrunner to join the "MLS Cup winner" crowd, an accomplishment that would add a star above their crest. The Herons already made history last summer in Leagues Cup when raising their first-ever trophy.

FC Cincinnati are another favorite, looking to build off their 2023 Supporters' Shield breakthrough. They're led by midfielder and reigning MLS MVP Luciano Acosta.

Supporters' Shield
  • Columbus Crew - 5 votes
  • LAFC - 2 votes
  • Orlando City SC - 2 votes
  • Inter Miami CF - 2 votes
  • Seattle Sounders FC - 2 votes
  • FC Cincinnati - 1 vote

Columbus Crew could join a prestigious crowd of four-time Supporters' Shield winners, a group that includes LA Galaxy and D.C. United. The reigning MLS Cup champs were last the league's best regular-season team in 2009.

LAFC are in the running, too, looking to claim their third Supporters' Shield. The Black & Gold previously lifted that trophy in 2019 and 2022.

Landon Donovan MLS MVP
  • Lionel Messi - Inter Miami CF (11 votes)
  • Cucho Hernández - Columbus Crew (3 votes)
  • Giorgos Giakoumakis - Atlanta United (1 vote)
  • Dénis Bouanga - LAFC (1 vote)

It's hard to find a trophy Lionel Messi hasn't won during his legendary career. MLS MVP is now within his sights, fresh off winning a world-record eighth Ballon d'Or.

For those keeping count at home: The iconic Argentine No. 10 has won a world-record 45 trophies combined for club and country and scored more than 800 goals.

Golden Boot presented by Audi
  • Giorgos Giakoumakis - Atlanta United (9 votes)
  • Cucho Hernández - Columbus Crew (4 votes)
  • Lionel Messi - Inter Miami CF (2 votes)
  • Dénis Bouanga - LAFC (1 vote)

Giorgos Giakoumakis already has two Golden Boots from his prior travels, finishing as the top scorer in the Eredivisie (VVV-Venlo; 2020-21) and Scottish Premiership (2021-22; Celtic FC). Now, the Greek international striker is chasing an MLS version while at Atlanta United.

Cucho Hernández has 33 goals in 53 matches across all competitions for the Columbus Crew. With that impressive production, the Colombian international striker is bound to impact this year's Golden Boot race.

Newcomer of the Year
  • Emil Forsberg - New York Red Bulls (5 votes)
  • Luis Suárez - Inter Miami CF (4 votes)
  • Petar Musa - FC Dallas (3 votes)
  • Hugo Cuypers - Chicago Fire FC (1 vote)
  • Pedro de la Vega - Seattle Sounders FC (1 vote)
  • Luis Muriel - Orlando City SC (1 vote)
  • Gabriel Pec - LA Galaxy (1 vote)

Emil Forsberg has the No. 10 shirt, a sign he's expected to orchestrate the New York Red Bulls' attack. The veteran Swedish international and former RB Leipzig standout carries high hopes for this new challenge.

Reunited with Messi from their FC Barcelona days, Luis Suárez is an iconic striker in his own right. Also, the Uruguayan superstar was named the Best Player and Best Striker in the Brazilian league last year while starring for Grêmio.

One of several club-record signings across MLS this offseason, Petar Musa could score in bunches for FC Dallas. The Croatian international striker arrives for a reported $9.7 million fee that could rise to $13 million.

Young Player of the Year
  • Diego Luna - Real Salt Lake (4 votes)
  • Bernard Kamungo - FC Dallas (2 votes)
  • Jack McGlynn - Philadelphia Union (2 votes)
  • Caleb Wiley - Atlanta United (2 votes)
  • Tomás Ángel - LAFC (1 vote)
  • John Tolkin - New York Red Bulls (1 vote)
  • Cristian Olivera - LAFC (1 vote)
  • Aidan Morris - Columbus Crew (1 vote)

Diego Luna, 20, was a breakout star for Real Salt Lake last season. The rising USMNT midfielder memorably raised his profile with two goals in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.

A handful of homegrown standouts are also on the radar, including Philadelphia Union midfielder Jack McGlynn and Atlanta United left back Caleb Wiley.

Goalkeeper of the Year
  • Stefan Frei - Seattle Sounders FC (4 votes)
  • Hugo Lloris - LAFC (3 votes)
  • Daniel - San Jose Earthquakes (2 votes)
  • Pedro Gallese - Orlando City SC (2 votes)
  • Roman Celentano - FC Cincinnati (1 vote)
  • Josh Cohen - Atlanta United (1 vote)
  • Maxime Crépeau - Portland Timbers (1 vote)
  • Maarten Paes - FC Dallas (1 vote)

Stefan Frei has been one of MLS's better goalkeepers for over a decade, yet a Goalkeeper of the Year award eludes him. That could change in 2024 for the Seattle Sounders FC veteran.

LAFC newcomer Hugo Lloris is among the greatest goalkeepers of his generation. The 2018 World Cup winner with France arrived this winter from Tottenham Hotspur.

While he didn't formally receive a vote, St. Louis CITY SC captain Roman Bürki (2023 winner) is hoping for back-to-back Goalkeeper of the Year awards.