Five Sounders named finalists for year-end awards

Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid, goalkeeper Kasey Keller, central defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, midfielder Freddie Ljungberg and forward Fredy Montero are finalists for MLS 2009 year-end awards.

RENTON , WASH. – 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. 

2009 Major League Soccer Awards Finalists

Goalkeeper of the Year Finalists
Kasey Keller – Seattle Sounders FC
Donovan Ricketts – Los Angeles Galaxy
Zach Thornton – Chivas USA

Fair Play Finalists - Individual
Kasey Keller – Seattle Sounders FC
Pat Onstad – Houston Dynamo
Steve Ralston – New England Revolution

Comeback Player of the Year Finalists
Brian McBride – Chicago Fire
Ben Olsen – D.C. United
Zach Thornton – Chivas USA

Visa Defender of the Year Finalists
Geoff Cameron – Houston Dynamo
Jhon Kennedy Hurtado – Seattle Sounders FC
Chad Marshall – Columbus Crew

adidas Referee of the Year Finalists
Alex Prus
Ricardo Salazar
Kevin Stott

Rookie of the Year Finalists
Stefan Frei – Toronto FC
Omar Gonzalez – Los Angeles Galaxy
Chris Pontius – D.C. United 

Coach of the Year Finalists
Bruce Arena – Los Angeles Galaxy
Sigi Schmid – Seattle Sounders FC
Robert Warzycha – Columbus Crew

Newcomer of the Year Finalists
Kasey Keller – Seattle Sounders FC
Freddie Ljungberg – Seattle Sounders FC
Fredy Montero – Seattle Sounders FC

Volkswagen MLS Most Valuable Player Finalists
Jeff Cunningham – FC Dallas
Landon Donovan – Los Angeles Galaxy
Shalrie Joseph – New England Revolution

Awards Announcements Schedule 
(Schedule subject to change)

Wednesday, November 4
Goalkeeper of the Year
Fair Play Award Individual & Team

Thursday, November 5
Visa Defender of the Year
adidas Referee of the Year & Assistant Referee of the Year

Friday, November 6
MLS W.O.R.K.S. – U.S. Soccer Foundation Humanitarian of the Year

Tuesday, November 10
MLS Newcomer of the Year
MLS Comeback Player of the Year

Wednesday, November 11
MLS Coach of the Year

Thursday, November 12
Rookie of the Year

Monday, November 16
MLS Best XI

Wednesday, November 18
Goal of the Year presented by AT&T
Save of the Year presented by Degree Men

Thursday, November 20
Volkswagen MLS Most Valuable Player

Saturday, November 22
MLS Commissioner’s Award

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