Two Sounders finalists for MLS awards

sounders FC: Gspurning up for goalkeeper of year, top newcomer; Johnson may win comeback award

don.ruiz@thenewstribune.comNovember 16, 2012 

Sounders FC goalkeeper Michael Gspurning is among the finalists for two Major League Soccer postseason awards and forward Eddie Johnson for one.

The list of award finalists announced by the league Thursday showed Gspurning in the running for goalkeeper of the year and newcomer of the year, while Johnson is among the top three for comeback player of the year.

“Michael’s done tremendous and awesome in the locker room, he’s been great with the team,” Sounders midfielder Brad Evans said Thursday. “(And Johnson) came in and from minute one in the preseason he put in the work, and I thought that was the most important thing. … He’s just so explosive, and a pure game-changer, and he’s done tremendous for us this year.”

Evans spoke in a national conference call in advance of the Sounders’ Western Conference final against Los Angeles on Sunday at CenturyLink Field.

No members of the Galaxy were among the award finalists.

Gspurning was the MLS regular-season leader in goals-against average (0.73) and goals allowed (15), second in win percentage (.69) and fourth in saves percentage (74.6).

Johnson previously won the comeback player award in 2007 when he played for Kansas City. He was sixth in the league this season with a club-record 14 goals.

The finalists were determined by vote of players, media and club representatives.

The winners will be announced starting Monday and concluding Nov. 29 with the MVP and commissioner’s awards.

The comeback award winner will be announced Nov. 27, while the goalkeeper and newcomer awards will be announced Nov. 28.

MLS AWARD FINALISTS

Rookie of the Year: Austin Berry (Chicago), Nick DeLeon (D.C.), Darren Mattocks (Vancouver).

Fair Play: Ante Jazic (Chivas USA), Logan Pause (Chicago), Heath Pearce (New York).

Team Fair Play: Chicago, Houston, New England.

Defender: Victor Bernardez (San Jose), Matt Besler (Kansas City), Aurelien Collin (Kansas City).

Humanitarian: Kei Kamara (Kansas City), Michael Lahoud (Philadelphia), Chris Seitz (Dallas).

Referee: Silviu Petrescu, Baldomero Toledo, Armando Villarreal.

Assistant Referee: Ian Anderson, Gregory Barkey, Corey Parker.

Coach: Ben Olsen (D.C.), Peter Vermes (Kansas City), Frank Yallop (San Jose).

Comeback Player: Alan Gordon (San Jose), Eddie Johnson (Seattle), Chris Pontius (D.C.).

Goalkeeper: Michael Gspurning (Seattle), Dan Kennedy (Chivas USA), Jimmy Nielsen (Kansas City).

Newcomer: Victor Bernardez (San Jose), Michael Gspurning (Seattle), Federico Higuain (Columbus).

MVP: Thierry Henry (New York) Chris Wondolowski (San Jose), Graham Zusi (Kansas City).

Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 don.ruiz@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer @donruiztnt

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