Sounders Insider

MLS Newcomer Award will go to Sounder

MLSlogoWe know that because all three finalists are Sounders: Kasey Keller, Freddie Ljungberg, and Fredy Montero.

In fact, Sounders are well-represented among the list of postseason award finalists released today by MLS.

Here's the full list:

Goalkeeper of the Year FinalistsKasey Keller – Seattle Sounders FCDonovan Ricketts – Los Angeles GalaxyZach Thornton – Chivas USA

Fair Play Finalists - IndividualKasey Keller – Seattle Sounders FCPat Onstad – Houston DynamoSteve Ralston – New England Revolution

Comeback Player of the Year FinalistsBrian McBride – Chicago FireBen Olsen – D.C. UnitedZach Thornton – Chivas USA Defender of the Year FinalistsGeoff Cameron – Houston DynamoJhon Kennedy Hurtado – Seattle Sounders FCChad Marshall – Columbus Crew

Referee of the Year FinalistsAlex PrusRicardo SalazarKevin Stott

Rookie of the Year FinalistsStefan Frei – Toronto FCOmar Gonzalez – Los Angeles GalaxyChris Pontius – D.C. United

Coach of the Year FinalistsBruce Arena – Los Angeles GalaxySigi Schmid – Seattle Sounders FCRobert Warzycha – Columbus Crew

Newcomer of the Year FinalistsKasey Keller – Seattle Sounders FCFreddie Ljungberg – Seattle Sounders FCFredy Montero – Seattle Sounders FC

MVP FinalistsJeff Cunningham – FC DallasLandon Donovan – Los Angeles GalaxyShalrie Joseph – New England Revolution

The awards will be announced individually right up until MLS Cup, but starting Wednesday with Goalkeeper of the year and the fair play award for individual and team.

Anyway, which of the three Sounders would you give the Newcomer award to?

And interesting week for Onstad to show up among the fair play finalists, eh? Update: Here's the Sounders' release:

Major League Soccer today announced Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid, goalkeeper Kasey Keller, central defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, midfielder Freddie Ljungberg and forward Fredy Montero as finalists for its 2009 year-end awards. Winners for each award will be announced in the coming weeks, beginning with the Goalkeeper of the Year and Fair Play winners on Wednesday, Nov. 4.Schmid, the 2008 Coach of the Year, is a finalist for this year’s award. In his tenth season coaching in MLS, Schmid surpassed Bob Bradley in all-time wins (125), and led the expansion side Sounders FC to the 2009 U.S. Open Cup trophy and MLS Cup playoffs.

Keller is a finalist for three awards: Goalkeeper of the Year, Fair Play, and Newcomer of the Year. Keller finished his first year in MLS second among goalkeepers with a goals-against average of 0.92 and tied for second in shutouts (10) and wins (12). Keller was fourth in minutes (2549) and ninth in saves (78).

Hurtado is a finalist for Visa Defender of the Year after starting 26 of 27 appearances, playing a total of 2,334 minutes with one goal and one assist. Hurtado played the full 90 minutes in 25 games, anchoring a defense that ranked tied for first in goals allowed per game (0.97).

Montero and Ljungberg join Keller as the other two finalists for Newcomer of the Year. Montero finished tied for third in goals (12) and game-winning goals (4), and led MLS in shots (86) and was seventh in attempts on goal (32).

Ljungberg finished his first season in MLS with two goals and nine assists, and was ranked first in game-winning assists (5). Ljungberg had four assists in the final two regular season games, helping secure an MLS Cup playoff birth.

Montero and Hurtado, both Colombians, came to Sounders FC from Deportivo Cali. Keller, an Olympia native, returned to the state of Washington after a 16-year career in top-flight soccer in England, Germany and Spain. Ljungberg joined Seattle following ten years playing in the English Premier League. All four Sounders FC finalists appeared in this year’s MLS All-Star game.

The finalists, listed in alphabetical order below for each award, earned the most votes in polling of MLS players, general managers, coaches, referees and members of the media. The MLS W.O.R.K.S. – U.S. Soccer Foundation Humanitarian of the Year will be determined by representatives from the U.S. Soccer Foundation and MLS W.O.R.K.S., and is scheduled to be announced on Friday, Nov. 6.

This season’s most outstanding individual plays will be honored on Wednesday, Nov. 18 when the Goal of the Year presented by AT&T and the Save of the Year presented by Degree Men are announced. Voting for the Goal and Save of the Year is conducted on the League’s official web site MLSnet.com.

The 2009 awards announcements culminate on Saturday, Nov. 22 with the unveiling of the Commissioner’s Award winner.

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