By Don Ruiz The News Tribune
The Seattle Sounders’ Michael Gspurning finished third in voting for Major League Soccer’s goalkeeper and newcomer of the year awards announced Wednesday.
Jimmy Nielsen of Sporting Kansas City won the goalkeeping honor, with Dan Kennedy of Chivas USA as the runner-up.
Federico Higuain of Columbus took the newcomer award, with Victor Bernardez of San Jose as the runner-up.
Nielsen allowed 0.79 goals-per game and had a 74.2 save percentage. Gspurning had better numbers in both categories: a 0.73 goals-against average and 77 save percentage. However, he apparently was hurt in the voting by appearing in just 21 games. Nielsen started all 34 of SKC’s regular-season matches.
“If everybody who misses games for injury is immediately eliminated from consideration for postseason awards, then you’d have to eliminate a lot of guys,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said before the vote by clubs, players and media. “Then they should say this is the ‘Goalkeeper of the Year Who Played the Most Games.’”
Lack of games didn’t seem to hurt Higuain, who recorded five goals and seven assists in 13 matches after joining the Crew midway through the season.
The league will announce the last of its 2012 postseason awards today: MVP, goal of the year and save of the year. Sounders Fredy Montero and Patrick Ianni are among the four goal-of-the-year finalists.