Major League Soccer announced that Inter Miami CF forward Gonzalo Higuaín has been named the 2022 MLS Comeback Player of the Year after overcoming personal adversities in 2021, and injuries that kept him out of the starting lineup for 14 consecutive MLS games during the 2022 regular season. The iconic forward produced a club-record 16 goals and added three assists in Miami’s best regular season in its three-year club history in 2022.
Following Higuaín’s difficult 2021 on a personal level, Inter Miami head coach Phil Neville challenged the striker to contribute more offensively in his third MLS season. The Argentine forward responded with 16 goals this year despite starting only 20 games. His 0.82 goals per 90 minutes average was the best in MLS among players to log at least 1,500 minutes.
After scoring in consecutive games for the Herons at the beginning of the season on March 19 and April 2, Higuaín suffered a knee injury and did not return to Miami’s starting lineup until July 4. After July 12, the forward scored 14 goals, which were the second most in MLS behind only the Philadelphia Union’s Dániel Gazdag (15) over the span. Higuaín’s 14 goals in the second half of the season were crucial for a Miami team that set club records in points (48), wins (14), and goals scored (47).
Miami sat ninth in the Eastern Conference on September 13 before rattling off four consecutive victories, with Higuaín scoring in all four contests. Higuaín came through when the club needed him most, recording game-winning goals in the 82nd minute against the Columbus Crew (September 13), the 94th minute at D.C. United (September 18), and in the 86th minute at Toronto FC (September 30). He capped off the stretch by registering a brace in the October 5th win vs. Orlando City SC, which clinched Inter Miami an Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs position.
On October 3, Higuaín announced he would retire from professional soccer after the 2022 MLS season, completing his illustrious 17-and-a-half-year career.
The MLS Comeback Player of the Year honors an MLS player who overcame injuries and/or adversity to achieve success during the 2022 regular season. The award was voted on by MLS club technical staff, media, and current MLS players.
Below is a breakdown of the voting results, with Higuaín edging out the San Jose Earthquakes’ Jeremy Ebobisse and CF Montréal’s Kei Kamara.
A full list of previous MLS Comeback Player of the Year award winners can be found below: