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November 28, 2012
Nielsen top 'keeper; Higuain best newcomer

NEW YORK---Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen has been named Major League Soccer's Goalkeeper of the Year and the Columbus Crew's Federico Higuain has been named the league's Newcomer of the Year.

The Danish goalkeeper put together one of the best regular seasons performances in recent history in just his third year in MLS. Nielsen led League in shutouts (15 – one behind Tony Meola for the All-Time Single-Season record), wins (18), and also held the season’s longest shutout streak at 414 minutes.

Sporting Kansas City’s captain was one of only two players in the League to allow less than one goal per game (0.79), and he was among the leaders in save percentage at 74.2 percent.

The award was voted on by media, MLS players and MLS club management based on regular season performance. The other two finalists were Chivas USA’s Dan Kennedy and Seattle Sounders FC’s Michael Gspurning.

Higuain made an immediate impact for the Columbus Crew when he joined the team as a Designated Player midway through the 2012 season. In just 13 matches, he scored five goals and recorded seven assists, helping the crew turnaround their season and barely miss a berth in the MLS Cup Playoffs.

The Argentine forward began his career at the famed club River Plate in 2003 before moving to six other clubs including Colón, where he spent two seasons prior to signing with the Crew. Higuain comes from a renowned soccer family as his father, Jorge, played for several of the top clubs in Argentina and his younger brother, Gonzalo, is one of the top forwards for Real Madrid and Argentina’s national team.

The Newcomer of the Year honors the player who is in his first season in Major League Soccer, but has prior professional experience, making him ineligible for Rookie of the Year honors.

The award was voted on by media, MLS players and MLS club management based on regular season performance. The other two finalists were San Jose Earthquakes defender Victor Bernardez and Seattle Sounders FC goalkeeper Michael Gspurning.

Goalkeeper of the Year Winners:
2012: Jimmy Nielsen – Sporting Kansas City
2011: Kasey Keller – Seattle Sounders FC
2010: Donovan Ricketts – LA Galaxy
2009: Zach Thornton – Chivas USA
2008: Jon Busch – Chicago Fire
2007: Brad Guzan – Chivas USA
2006: Troy Perkins – D.C. United
2005: Pat Onstad – San Jose Earthquakes
2004: Joe Cannon – Colorado Rapids
2003: Pat Onstad – San Jose Earthquakes
2002: Joe Cannon – San Jose Earthquakes
2001: Tim Howard – MetroStars
2000: Tony Meola – Kansas City Wizards
1999: Kevin Hartman – Los Angeles Galaxy
1998: Zach Thornton – Chicago Fire
1997: Brad Friedel – Columbus Crew
1996: Mark Dodd – Dallas Burn

MLS Newcomer of the Year Winners:
2012: Federico Higuain – Columbus Crew
2011: Mauro Rosales – Seattle Sounders FC
2010: Alvaro Saborio – Real Salt Lake
2009: Fredy Montero – Seattle Sounders FC
2008: Darren Huckerby – San Jose Earthquakes
2007: Luciano Emilio – D.C. United

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