Despite posting the top goalkeeping statistics in Major League Soccer this season, Michael Gspurning lost out on both the Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year and the Newcomer of the Year awards on Wednesday.
Sporting Kansas City’s Jimmy Nielsen was the overwhelming pick for Goalkeeper of the Year – not necessarily a surprise after he was named to the MLS Best XI on Monday – with Gspurning finishing third behind Chivas USA’s Dan Kennedy.
Nielsen led the league with 18 wins and 15 shutouts, but his 0.79 goals against average was bested by the 0.73 GAA posted by Gspurning, who was second in winning percentage at 57% and second in save percentage at 77%, behind the LA Galaxy’s Josh Saunders (58% in wins) and DC United’s Bill Hamid (78% in saves), respectively.
Kennedy, meanwhile, finished 17th among the 18 goalkeepers who had at least 20 starts with a 1.69 GAA. He was 16th in saves percentage at 65%, but was second in the league with 109 total saves.
Nielsen finished with 49% of the club vote, 70% of the media vote and 26% of the player vote to win the award. Kennedy’s totals were 12%, 3% and 14% respectively, while Gspurning received 12%, 4% and 11% to finish third. Nick Rimando of Real Salt Lake finished fourth in voting and Columbus Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum was fifth.
In the vote for Newcomer of the Year, Columbus Crew midseason acquisition Federico Higuain won the award after posting five goals and seven assists in just 13 games. Winning 30% of the media vote earned him the honor, as he trailed San Jose defender Victor Bernardez in both the club and player votes. Bernardez finished second, while Gspurning finished third, followed by Vancouver defender YP Lee and Houston midfielder Boniek Garcia.
The Sounders won both of the awards in 2011, with Kasey Keller taking Goalkeeper of the Year and Mauro Rosales winning the Newcomer award. Fredy Montero was also the recipient of the Newcomer of the Year award in 2009.