After placing a remarkable, if overwhelming, three players on the MLS Best XI and earning Caleb Porter coach of the year honors, the Portland Timbers earned two more MLS honors on Wednesday.
Donovan Ricketts became the fourth player in MLS history to win multiple Goalkeeper of the Year awards and earn such honors with multiple teams. Ricketts won the 2010 award for his work behind the Los Angeles Galaxy (Zach Thornton and Joe Cannon have also done the double, so-to-speak, while Pat Onstad won both of his with San Jose).
Meanwhile, teammate Diego Valeri won one of the league’s newer honors in being named Newcomer of the Year in truly dominant fashion. Valeri was given 72 percent of club votes, 79 percent of media votes and 36 percent of player votes for a weighted total of 187.94, much higher than the runner-up’s number, the 22.19 posted by New England defender Jose Goncalves. Vancouver’s Nigel Reo-Coker and Colorado’s Clint Irwin rounded out the Top Four.
Ricketts’ victory was by a much slimmer margin, with the media being the biggest booster of the Timbers keeper. Nick Rimando of Real Salt Lake finished second across the board, continuing his Henrik Stenson-like “best at his position never to have won the big individual award” status. Reigning award winner Jimmy Nielsen (SKC) finished third. New York’s Luis Robles was fourth but third in the player voting.
The Timbers turnaround remains amazing, but it’s remarkable to see them tearing the postseason honors up. After all, this is a league where 59 points won the Supporters Shield but a team with 51 missed the postseason. Is it possible that Portland’s dominance was that great, these honors that deserved?