American goalkeeper Zach Thornton and Colombian forward Fredy Montero claimed Major League Soccer season awards on Tuesday, just days after their teams were ousted from the title chase.
Seattle Sounders striker Montero claimed the MLS Newcomer of the Year award while 36-year-old Thornton of Chivas USA captured the league's Comeback Player of the Year award to join his MLS Goalkeeper of the Year trophy. Montero, 22, led the first-year club in scoring with 12 goals, four of them winners. He joined the Sounders after four seasons with Deportivo Cali in his homeland, including a season on loan to Atletico Huila.
Thornton, in his first full season as a starter since 2006, led Chivas to a mark of 13-11 with six drawn, posting a career-best 12 cleansheets with a 0.87 goals-against average, the second best in MLS history. After eight seasons as a starter for Chicago, Thornton was demoted to a reserve role in 2007 at Colorado and a bench-warmer last year at New York before a late-season trade to Chivas after Brad Guzan left for Aston Villa.
This year, Thornton led Chivas into the MLS play-offs for a fourth season in a row but the club was ousted by its city rival, Los Angeles Galaxy, in the opening round. The Galaxy will play host to Houston, which ousted Seattle in another first-round meeting, on Friday with the winner to face either Chicago or Real Salt Lake in the MLS Cup final. Players, coaches, general managers and media all voted upon the awards.