Yesterday it was the LA Galaxy, today it was Seattle Sounders FC: the Pacific Northwest club became the second team in a row to take in two of Major League Soccer’s year-end awards on the same day.
Sounders FC backstop Kasey Keller and midfielder Mauro Rosales were named Goalkeeper and Newcomer of the Year, respectively, in voting by players, coaches, club administrators, and media members.
Keller, who retired at the end of the season, dropping the curtain on one of the best careers in U.S. soccer history, led MLS with a save percentage of 76.0 this year, while producing nine shutouts.
He helped the Sounders to the league’s second-best regular-season record (18-7-9) and to a third straight U.S. Open Cup championship.
Keller edged Philadelphia’s Faryd Mondragon and FC Dallas’s Kevin Hartman in the balloting. (And we were happy to see Chivas USA’s Dan Kennedy sneak into the vote.)
Rosales, whose league-minimum salary of $42,000 made him the bargain of the year—if not the history of the league—led Seattle with 13 assists this season (in just 22 starts). The Argentine winger also scored five goals, and almost certainly would have had more of both if knee injuries hadn’t caused him to miss games in September and October.
Seattle might have had a longer playoff run, too, if not for Rosales’s October MCL injury, which was a re-injury of a knock he took late in the Sounders’ 3-0 win over DC United on Sept 17th.
Rosales defeated New York’s Luke Rodgers and Vancouver’s Eric Hassli in the vote.
While Keller will not be back next season, Rosales certainly will—at a much, much higher salary, of course.
And Seattle fans are probably salivating at the prospect of Rosales and a hopefully healthy Steve Zakuani manning their wings next season.