Keller, Rosales, Win Goalkeeper, Newcomer of the Year Awards

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.

Rosales Has Slight MCL Tear, Will Miss Two to Four Weeks

For the fourth time this season, an MVP-caliber player has been sidelined by a reckless tackle in MLS action.

Fortunately for Seattle, the damage is relatively limited this time around, as Sounders winger Mauro Rosales suffered only a slight MCL tear after a needless challenge by DC United defender Daniel Woolard in the 90th minute of Seattle’s 3-0 win this past Saturday.

Rosales could return as early as Oct 3, the eve of Seattle’s US Open Cup final against Chicago.

The 30-year-old Argentine, who has five goals and a club-record 12 assists this season, joins Dallas’s 2010 league MVP David Ferreira, Seattle’s speedy winger Steve Zakuani, and Real Salt Lake’s playmaker Javier Morales as highly skilled players who suffered unsettling injuries in MLS action this year. (Ferreira and Morales both hope to return in time for the MLS playoffs; Zakuani is out for the year.)

Rosales is not only an MVP candidate, he’s also hands-down the best bargain in the league right now. The former Ajax and River Plate star, who has 10 caps and one goal for Argentina, is making just $42,000 for Seattle. Look for that to change next year.