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Four Galaxy players are finalists for MLS awards

Four Galaxy players are finalists for MLS awards
Galaxy striker Robbie Keane had 19 goals and 14 assists this season. (Jeff Gross / Getty Images)

The Galaxy still has a lot of work to do if it hopes to win a record fifth Major League Soccer championship. But the team's performance during the regular season is already being rewarded, with four players nominated Thursday for postseason awards.

Striker Robbie Keane, third in MLS with 19 goals and 14 assists, is among three finalists for the league MVP award while Omar Gonzalez is a finalist for defender of the year, midfielder Stefan Ishizaki is a nominee for newcomer of the year and defender A.J. DeLaGarza is up for the league's humanitarian of the year.

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Additionally the Galaxy as a team is a finalist for the league's Fair Play award, which is based on objective criteria such as fouls committed and cards received as well as a subjective evaluation of sportsmanlike behavior.

Joining Keane among the MVP finalists is New England's Lee Nguyen and Seattle's Obafemi Martins, who, with 17 goals and 13 assists, is the only player other than Keane to rank in the league's top five in both categories. The winner of that award will be announced Dec. 3.

Gonzalez, a past winner of the league's top defender award, missed part of the season to play for the U.S. in the World Cup. But he started 22 times in central defense for the Galaxy, leading a back line that allowed a league-low 37 goals while scoring four times and adding two assists. Other finalists for the award are D.C. United's Bobby Boswell and Seattle's Chad Marshall. The winner will be announced next week.

Ishizaki, who came to the Galaxy last winter from Swedish club IF Elfsborg, made 30 appearances, scoring five times and adding seven assists -- including two goals and two assists in his first five MLS appearances. The other nominees are U.S. World Cup veteran Jermaine Jones of the New England Revolution and Vancouver's Pedro Morales. The newcomer of the year winner will be announced Dec. 3.

DeLaGarza, meanwhile, is among the nominees for the league's top off-field award. The Galaxy defender has volunteered countless hours to numerous charities that serve children. Other finalists include Portland's Diego Chara and Zach Lloyd of FC Dallas. The winner of that award will be announced next week.

On the field the Galaxy opens its two-leg Western Conference semifinal series with the Seattle Sounders on Sunday at the StubHub Center. The teams will meet again Nov. 30 in Seattle with the winner, to be determined by aggregate goals, advancing to the MLS Cup final Dec. 7.

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