More accolades could be in line for Colorado Rapids players in the coming weeks as Gabriel Torres, Hendry Thomas, and Vicente Sanchez have each made the 32-player field in FutbolMLS.com's Latino del Año contest.
Created in 2010, Latino del Año is the Spanish-language website's annual season-ending contest to select the best Latin American Player in MLS based on fan voting.
MLSsoccer.com and FutbolMLS.com editors selected 32 Latino players that made an impact throughout the 2013 MLS regular season, including winners of FutbolMLS.com’s weekly contest, Latino de la Jornada (of the Week), and a draw was held to divide the players in eight groups of four players each.
The competition will feature a group stage, round of 16, quarterfinals and a final stage composed of the four finalists. The top two vote-getters in each group advance to the subsequent knockout rounds.
Rapids forward Gabriel Torres was placed in Group A, along with Vancouver's Camilo, Seattle's Mauro Rosales, and Real Salt Lake's Alvaro Saborio. Torres was named Latino of the Week in Week 32 and Week 34, both by wide margins.
Thomas was named Latino of the Week for Week 25, becoming the first Colorado Rapids player to earn the honor since the weekly award began in the 2011 season. He is part of Group F along with Seattle's Osvaldo Alonso, Dallas' Michel, and Sporting KC's Claudio Bieler.
Sanchez, was included in Group G as an editorial decision based on his outstanding play since joining the club in late summer. He is grouped with Portland's Diego Valeri, Dallas' David Ferreira, and Houston's Boniek Garcia.
All MLS Players born in a Latin American country or those who were born in the United States but have hispanic heritage are eligible to participate.
2013 Latino del Año Schedule
October 28-31 – Latino del Año groups announced
November 4 – Online voting process opens for group stage
November 7 – Group stage winners announced & online voting opens for Round of 16
November 11 – Round of 16 winners announced & online voting opens for Quarterfinals
November 14 – Quaterfinal winners announced & online voting opens for the Final
Novermber 18 – 2013 Latino del Año winner announced.
In 2010, former Seattle Sounders Colombian striker Fredy Montero was crowned the winner. Former Sporting Kansas City Mexican forward Omar Bravo was the winner in 2011, while Boniek García won the 2012 contest.