Sounders FC

MLS awards? Sounders say playoffs all they need

Donovan Ricketts of Los Angeles was named Major League Soccer goalkeeper of the year Wednesday, as the league rolled out the first of its postseason awards.

Other announced winners were Andy Najar of D.C. United for rookie of the year, former Seattle Sounder Sebastien Le Toux of Philadelphia for the fair-play individual award, and the San Jose Earthquakes for the fair-play team award.

Additional awards will be handed out over the next couple of weeks, including defender of the year on Friday, coach of the year Nov. 11, and most valuable player Nov. 19.

What already is known is that none of the awards will go to anyone from Sounders FC. The league announced three finalists in each category last week, and no Sounders were among them.

“It’s just respect for our team is still not at that level, where it’s still considered an upstart team, an expansion team I think in a lot of people’s eyes,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “Some of the awards are interesting, obviously, and I think all the people that got nominated are well-deserving of the awards. ... Some years you’re up for awards. I think our players don’t care about the individual awards as long as we can continue to move forward in the playoffs.”

In order to do that, Seattle will need to win on the road Sunday against the Galaxy at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Los Angeles took a one-goal advantage in the aggregate-score series with a 1-0 win Sunday at Qwest Field.

In addition to Ricketts, other Galaxy players up for awards are Omar Gonzalez for defender of the year and Edson Buddle for MVP.

In their expansion season, Sounders were nominated in four categories, and Fredy Montero won as newcomer of the year.

For much of this season, Montero was considered a candidate for league MVP. Just last week, L.A. coach Bruce Arena said a case could be made for that.

However, Schmid believes timing may have worked against Montero, who was Seattle’s co-leader with 10 goals and outright leader in assists, shots, shots on goal and fouls suffered.

“If Montero has a streak at the end of the year instead of the middle of the year, maybe he’s up for an award,” Schmid said. “It all depends.”

Schmid also said that after Seattle earned all those nominations in 2009, league voters might have moved on to fresher faces such as San Jose striker Chris Wondolowski, who is an MVP candidate after winning this season’s Golden Boot as the league’s top scorer.

“I think it also is a little bit of flavor of the day, flavor of the month,” Schmid said. “So, (the voters think) ‘Here’s a new player, he got us excited; here’s another new player, he got us excited; oh, here’s a guy from last year, so we’re not excited.’ ...

“Obviously, you don’t expect a guy like Wondolowski to score 18 goals, so he’s up for MVP. I think we could have all gotten together and pooled a million dollars and never won that bet.”

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

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