NEW YORK — Vancouver Whitecaps rookie Vincente Arze and Montreal Impact coach John Limniatis were among the nominees announced Thursday for United Soccer Leagues awards.
Arze, a Bolivian midfielder who had one goal in 26 games, helped the Whitecaps to a second-place finish this season and will vie for rookie of the year honours with Osvaldo Alonso of the Charleston Battery and Martin Nunez of the Carolina Railhawks.
Limniatis is up against Colin Clarke of the Puerto Rico Islanders for the coach of the year award.
Limniatis took over from Nick de Santis on June 10 with the Impact in last place. After the change, the team went 10-6-4 and doubled its output on attack from 0.60 to 1.35 goals per game.
His team also won the Nutrilite Canadian Championship to qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League, where they have two wins and a draw thus far in group stage competition.
The Whitecaps and Impact face one another in the two-game playoff semifinals this weekend, with matches Friday night in Montreal and Sunday in Vancouver.
The first-place Islanders, who had the league's top attack and best defence, dominated the nominations.
Candidates for most valuable player are Puerto Rico's Jonathan Steele, Macoumba Kandji of the Atlanta Silverbacks and Alex Afonso of Miami FC, who led the USL with 15 goals - more than half the 28 goals scored by his club. Kandji had 11 goals in only 21 games before be was loaned to New York of Major League Soccer.
Defender of the year candidates are Cristian Arrieta of Puerto Rico, Taylor Graham of the Seattle Sounders and David Hughes of Atlanta.