As the season ages, the candidates for MASL’s Most Valuable Player become more clear. The three frontrunners of Franck Tayou, Leo Gibson, and Enrique Canez aren’t too surprising.
Tayou has already won the award three times (2015-16, 2016-17, and 2017-18) while Leo Gibson (2014-15), along with Nick Perera (2018-19), are the only other winners of the MVP in the MASL era. While the MASL has some studs on the defensive side of the game, the arena game definitely benefits the attackers and all winners of the award have been forwards.
As things stand now, the Ontario Fury’s Franck Tayou would probably be the favorite to claim his fourth MVP award. Leading the MASL with 34 goals, Tayou is having another outstanding season in his first season in California. While Tayou is far from the best year of his career (71 goals in 22 games in 2017-18), he is still setting the pace. He will need to keep Ontario’s place in the top four with the Tacoma Stars trailing closely behind.
Leo Gibson of the Kansas City Comets is having another stellar year in his first season with the added responsibility of head coach. The Liberian-born tank has logged quite a few minutes and has still shown great production on the field as player-coach, currently ranked second in the league with 45 points from 23 goals and 22 assists. Gibson has also shown great versatility after starting off the season in goal scoring mode, he has now taken on a more assist-minded role with six assists and just one goal in the last three games. The problem with Gibson is the Comets have their work cut out for them to make the playoffs with a tough schedule ahead.
After a less-productive 2018-19 in Monterrey, Enrique Canez is back amongst the best in the league with 30 goals, only behind former teammate Tayou, and third with 40 points. If Canez’s Sonora Soles are beat out by Ontario and Tacoma in the playoff race, it would be hard to see the award going his way.
Other borderline contenders can also impress throughout the remainder of the season as the season slowly winds down. Baltimore’s Vini Dantas may really explode with three of their six games remaining against the majorly struggling Orlando SeaWolves and Rochester Lancers. Tacoma’s Perera will look repeat as MASL MVP with a late playoff push for the Stars.
A lot can change by the season’s conclusion, including Tayou or Canez missing the playoffs, which would almost certainly eliminate them from MVP contention in a weaker Western Conference. If Gibson continues to produce for the Comets and can somehow guide them back to the Ron Newman Cup Playoffs, it would be hard to give it to anyone else. If both Tayou’s Fury and Canez’s Soles qualify for the playoffs, it may very well come down to who gathers more goals as Tayou currently has the four-goal advantage over Canez.