Union's Rosenberry, Pontius, Blake named MLS award finalists

Keegan Rosenberry, Chris Pontius and Andre Blake are MLS award finalists.

In an announcement by MLS on Tuesday, the trio, deemed Best of MLS, were nominated as end-of-year award finalists. The awards will be selected at different dates throughout November.

Rosenberry, a right back drafted with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft, joins the Seattle Sounders’ Jordan Morris and New York City FC’s Jack Harrison as AT&T Rookie of the Year finalists.

At 22, Rosenberry has been in the Rookie of the Year conversation through the season. His accolades include anchoring a young back line by playing in every minute of the 2016 regular season, finishing the year with two goals and two assists.

He was also nominated for the MLS Fair Play award, handed out based on fouls committed, cards received and overall sportsmanlike behavior.

Joining his defensive teammate, Union goalkeeper Blake was tapped as a finalist for the Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year, going up against Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids) and Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls).

The nomination for the 23-year-old Blake is a reward for an eye-popping season in which he made 99 saves and captured six shutouts in 32 starts. Blake was the backbone of the Union’s defensive effort, where he finished ninth in save percentage at 66 percent and sixth in goals against with 50.

But what made Blake’s season stand out is his propensity for the game-saving stop. Athletic and rangy, the young Jamaican national, who will graduate from his Generation Adidas contract this offseason, was a staple of MLS’ Save of the Week campaign.

To round out the Union’s nominations, Pontius was selected as a finalist for the MLS Comeback Player of the Year. Nominated for his ability to overcome injuries or adversity, the resurgent Pontius scored 12 goals and six assists in 33 games. Hampered by injuries, the veteran played just 29 games in the previous two seasons combined with D.C. United before finding new life with the Union.

Unlike other major sports, MLS will not have a centralized awards ceremony. Rather, the league will announce the winner of each award on a different day. The Fair Play Award will be declared on Nov. 4, AT&T Rookie of the Year will be announced on Nov. 10, MLS Comeback Player of the Year will be selected on Nov. 16 and the Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year will be announced on Nov. 17.