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SKC’s Nielsen voted top keeper in MLS, Crew’s Higuain top newcomer; Gspurning third in each

Post by Don Ruiz / The News Tribune on Nov. 28, 2012 at 8:18 am with No Comments »
November 28, 2012 11:03 am

This (disappointing) news just in from MLS:

Major League Soccer today announced the 2012 Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year and Newcomer of the Year awards.

2012 Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year: Jimmy Nielsen – Sporting Kansas City

The Danish goalkeeper put together one of the best regular seasons performances in recent history in just his third year in MLS. Nielsen led League in shutouts (15 – one behind Tony Meola for the All-Time Single-Season record), wins (18), and also held the season’s longest shutout streak at 414 minutes.

Sporting Kansas City’s captain was one of only two players in the League to allow less than one goal per game (0.79), and he was among the leaders in save percentage at 74.2 percent.

The award was voted on by media, MLS players and MLS club management based on regular season performance. The other two finalists were Chivas USA’s Dan Kennedy and Seattle Sounders FC’s Michael Gspurning. Below … the top five candidates:

Jimmy Nielsen (SKC)
Dan Kennedy (CHV)
Michael Gspurning (SEA)
Nick Rimando (RSL)
Andy Gruenebaum (CLB)

2012 Newcomer of the Year: Federico Higuain – Columbus Crew
Higuain made an immediate impact for the Columbus Crew when he joined the team as a Designated Player midway through the 2012 season. In just 13 matches, he scored five goals and recorded seven assists, helping the crew turnaround their season and barely miss a berth in the MLS Cup Playoffs.

The Argentine forward began his career at the famed club River Plate in 2003 before moving to six other clubs including Colón, where he spent two seasons prior to signing with the Crew. Higuain comes from a renowned soccer family as his father, Jorge, played for several of the top clubs in Argentina and his younger brother, Gonzalo, is one of the top forwards for Real Madrid and Argentina’s national team.

The Newcomer of the Year honors the player who is in his first season in Major League Soccer, but has prior professional experience, making him ineligible for Rookie of the Year honors.

The award was voted on by media, MLS players and MLS club management based on regular season performance. The other two finalists were San Jose Earthquakes defender Victor Bernardez and Seattle Sounders FC goalkeeper Michael Gspurning. Below … the top five candidates:

Federico Higuain (CLB)
Victor Bernardez (SJ)
Michael Gspurning (SEA)
Young-Pyo Lee (VAN)
Boniek Garcia (HOU)

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