Ricketts named MLS Goalkeeper of the Year again, Valeri awarded Newcomer of the Year

DonovanRickettsTimbers (GettyImages)

By CAITLIN MURRAY

Donovan Ricketts resumes his reign as top goalkeeper in Major League Soccer.

With the edge in club votes and player votes, respect from his colleagues has earned Ricketts his second MLS Goalkeeper of the Year award, the league announced Wednesday.

The Jamaican international guided a still-developing Portland Timbers back line under first-year coach Caleb Porter with poise, displaying the leadership of a veteran and making big saves along the way.

Posting career highs in shutouts (14) and saves (92), the 2013 season was something of a comeback for Ricketts. He won the top goalkeeper award in 2010 with the Los Angeles Galaxy but was later replaced after injury cost him the starting spot.

Ricketts’ only real competition for the honor came from Nick Rimando, who helped elevate what was expected by many to be a rebuilding year for Real Salt Lake. Arguably Rimando’s veteran leadership, distribution and game-saving blocks just may be the reason Salt Lake City has landed in Saturday’s MLS Cup.

Vote breakdown after the jump:

PLAYER % Club Votes % Media Votes % Player Votes WEIGHTED TOTAL
1. Donovan Ricketts (POR) 30.61 58.44 28.24 101.34
2. Nick Rimando (RSL) 22.45 40.26 21.96 84.67
3. Jimmy Nielsen (SKC) 6.12 14.29 3.52 23.93
4. Luis Robles (NY) 4.08 9.09 8.82 21.99

2013 Newcomer of the Year

With Diego Valeri in the running, it wasn’t even close.

Valeri made an impressive impact in 2013 that few newcomers can and easily led all voting categories to snag the award that goes to a first-year MLS player.

Coming off a stint with Argentine club Atlético Lanús, Valeri joined the Portland Timbers as a Designated Player and led the league with 13 assists and set single-season records in both goals (10) and assists for the Timbers.

Valeri turned out to be the missing play-maker in the midfield that the Timbers so badly needed and a key piece of the Timbers’ impressive turnaround this year.

Here’s the vote breakdown:

PLAYER % Club Votes % Media Votes % Player Votes WEIGHTED TOTAL
1. Diego Valeri (POR) 72.34 79.22 36.38 187.94
2. José Gonçalves (NE) 6.38 2.60 13.21 22.19
3. Nigel Reo-Coker (VAN) 6.38 1.30 8.54 16.22
4. Clint Irwin (COL) 2.13 3.90 5.89 11.92

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What do you think of these awards? Did you have Ricketts and Valeri as your top picks of the year? Did you think Rimando deserved the win?

Share your thoughts below.

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16 Responses to Ricketts named MLS Goalkeeper of the Year again, Valeri awarded Newcomer of the Year

  1. BKBOOGER says:

    Wow, I thought Rimando would take it. Rickets does tend to pull off a few wundersaves, but overall I think Rimando won more games for his squad…

    • Neruda says:

      I think this like coah of the year. It’s the more dramatic turnaround which stands out more than the consistent upper echelon quality. Ricketts wasn’t highly regarded when he was with expansion mtl because they sucked. Suddenly he’s back on top because mtl foolishly trades him to a revamped timbers side.

      I will say both rickets and rimando made a goal costing mistake in the playoffs. Rimando made a mental error on will Johnson’s free kick goal by cheating way to much away from the open side of the goal. He also made a few nice saves in that same game that RSL won. Ricketts gave Robbie findley a goal in the second leg because he blocked a shot right back into the front of goal and Robbie got his sneaky goal for the win in Portland. Overall I’d take rimando over Ricketts as well.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        You could say something similar about LA and Ricketts. Who’s it been since? Saunders, Cudicini, Penedo….Arena’s generally sharp at constructing teams within MLS rules but this particular decision seems a mistake.

        Amplifying your comment on his revival post-Montreal, you notice the top 4 in the voting all play on playoff teams.

    • Horsewhistle says:

      I love Manute Bol between the sticks

  2. Neruda says:

    Good job Rickets. He’s been great all year. Rimando just has to go out and help RSL win MLS cup as I’d suspect that is a bigger reward to him than GKOY.

  3. bottlcaps says:

    Ricketts was key for the Galaxy, but he was often injured and Saunders won the spot just by being healthy, but he too, was a a head case and the Galaxy made a mistake in putting too much pressure on him so early. The Galaxy eventually dealt away Ricketts, not because of his injuries or they found a better goalkeeper, it that he demanded a big salary, that the Galaxy did not want to or couldn’t pay. This lead to the ill-fated Cudicini decision. He was brought on because he had a novel contract, he would be payed only what the Galaxy had under the Salary Cap, as the Galaxy had only 2 DP’s (before Gonzales made the third), he was paid handsomely but performed poorly. The Galaxy saw the folly of skimping on a good goalkeeper and brought in Peneda, a young and very good keeper.

  4. Jones says:

    As a Timbers supporter, I can tell you Ricketts has been immense this season and has plenty of world class saves in him. But I’d still trade him for Rimando in a heartbeat. Ricketts still has those games where he looks his age whereas Rimando is just consistently brilliant. Plus, distribution wise it doesn’t get much better than Rimando.

  5. Oog says:

    Rimando deserved the award.

    • scottishkyle says:

      I agree that a strong case can be made for Rimando, but note that Ricketts came in first among the owners, the media and the Players. Ricketts earned the award.

  6. rph says:

    Wow, the snubs continue for RSL. I imagine they will be pretty fired up by the total lack of respect come Saturday night. I simply cannot imagine what that team needs to do to win awards.

    • RB says:

      Why RSL people think they’re being snubbed, I don’t know. The logical implication is that they think the other candidates in these categories are undeserving, which is clearly not true at all. Maybe RSL folk just need a lot of attention or something?

  7. Birgit Calhoun says:

    And why isn’t Gspurning not mentioned anywhere?

  8. Joamiq says:

    I think Rimando was better. Nice to see Robles get some recognition. I think Nielsen is overrated a bit thanks to the defense in front of him.