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Wave’s Alex Morgan, Red Stars’ Mallory Pugh lead NWSL MVP nominees

Mallory Pugh is fourth in the NWSL Golden Boot race with 10 goals this season. (Jamie Sabau/USA TODAY Sports)

The NWSL announced the nominees for its end-of-season awards Friday afternoon ahead of the start of the playoffs Sunday.

Golden Boot winner Alex Morgan leads a field of five nominees for the Most Valuable Player award. The San Diego Wave striker is joined by Chicago Red Stars forward Mallory Pugh, who she will face in a first-round match Sunday, as well as Wave teammate Naomi Girma, Portland Thorns forward Sophia Smith and North Carolina Courage forward Debinha.

Girma also made the list of nominees for the Defender of the Year award and for the Rookie of the Year award.

For the former, she is joined by OL Reign defenders Alana Cook and Sofia Huerta, Courage defender Carson Pickett and Thorns defender Becky Sauerbrunn, all of whom (like Girma) have featured for the U.S. women’s national team this year.

For the latter, Girma is joined by Thorns midfielder Sam Coffey and Courage forward Diana Ordóñez.

Nominees for Goalkeeper of the Year include AD Franch of the Kansas City Current, Kailen Sheridan of the Wave and Phallon Tullis-Joyce of OL Reign.

Coach of the Year contenders include Laura Harvey, who led OL Reign to the NWSL Shield, as well as Matt Potter from the Current and Casey Stoney from the Wave.

The NWSL will also name a Best XI first team and second team for the season.

Fans can vote for their choices via the NWSL website any time before the end of the day on Oct. 18. Fans’ selections will account for 10 percent of the weighted vote count. Players’ choices will account for 50 percent; owners, general managers and coaches for 20 percent; and media members for 20 percent.

The award winners will be announced in the days leading up to the NWSL championship match on Oct. 29.