Sounders pair up for MLS awards
Gspurning finalist for top goalie, newcomer; Johnson finalist for league's comeback player of year
The list of award finalists announced by the league Thursday showed Gspurning in the running for top goalkeeper and top newcomer, while Johnson is among the top three for Comeback Player of the Year.
"Michael's done tremendous and awesome in the locker room, he's been great with the team," Sounders midfielder Brad Evans said Thursday. "(And Johnson) came in and from minute one in the preseason he put in the work, and I thought that was the most important thing. He's just so explosive, and a pure game changer, and he's done tremendous for us this year."
Evans spoke in a national conference call in advance of the Sounders' Western Conference final against Los Angeles on Sunday at CenturyLink Field.
No members of the Galaxy were among the award finalists.
Gspurning was the MLS regular-season leader in goals-against average (0.73) and goals allowed (15), and second in win percentage (.69) and saves percentage (74.6).
Johnson previously won the comeback player award in 2007 when he played for Kansas City. He was sixth in the league with a club-record 14 goals this season.
The finalists were determined by a vote of players, media and club representatives.
The winners will be named in a series of announcements starting Monday and concluding Nov. 29 with the MVP and commissioner's awards.
The comeback award winner will be announced Nov. 27, while the goalkeeper and newcomer awards will be announced Nov. 28.
Here is a list of finalists:
Rookie of the Year -- Austin Berry (Chicago), Nick DeLeon (D.C.), Darren Mattocks (Vancouver).
Defender -- Victor Bernardez (San Jose), Matt Besler (Kansas City), Aurelien Collin (Kansas City).
Humanitarian -- Kei Kamara (Kansas City), Michael Lahoud (Philadelphia), Chris Seitz (Dallas).
Coach -- Ben Olsen (D.C.), Peter Vermes (Kansas City), Frank Yallop (San Jose).
Comeback Player -- Alan Gordon (San Jose), Eddie Johnson (Seattle), Chris Pontius (D.C.).
Goalkeeper -- Michael Gspurning (Seattle), Dan Kennedy (Chivas USA),
Jimmy Nielsen (Kansas City).
Newcomer -- Victor Bernardez (San Jose), Michael Gspurning (Seattle),
Federico Higuain (Columbus).
MVP -- Thierry Henry (New York) Chris Wondolowski (San Jose),
Graham Zusi (Kansas City).
Fair Play -- Ante Jazic (Chivas USA), Logan Pause (Chicago), Heath Pearce (New York).
Team Fair Play -- Chicago, Houston, New England.
Referee -- Silviu Petrescu, Baldomero Toledo, Armando Villarreal.
Assistant Referee -- Ian Anderson, Gregory Barkey, Corey Parker.
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