Timbers' Ricketts is Goalkeeper of the Year; Valeri wins Newcomer of the Year

Timbers' Ricketts is Goalkeeper of the Year; Valeri wins Newcomer of the Year

NEW YORK – The awards keep piling in for the Portland Timbers. Major League Soccer announced Wednesday that goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts is the 2013 Allstate MLS Goalkeeper of the Year. Also, midfielder Diego Valeri is the 2013 MLS Newcomer of the Year.

Both players were part of the backbone that helped Portland to the top of the regular-season Western Conference standings, and a berth in the Conference finals of the MLS Cup Playoffs.

For Ricketts, this is the second time he has won this award in his career. Ricketts beat Nick Rimando of Real Salt Lake and Jimmy Nielsen of Sporting Kansas City in the voting. He becomes the fourth player in league history to win the award multiple times.

Ricketts joined Portland halfway through the 2012 season and struggled as the Timbers missed the playoffs. His turnaround in 2013 mirrored the Timbers record-setting season. The Jamaican international finished with a career-high 14 shutouts and 92 saves. His 0.97 goals-against average was second in the league behind Nielsen among goalkeepers with at least 20 appearances.

Valeri ran away with the Newcomer of the Year award, much like he ran away from opposing defenders throughout his first season in MLS. The Argentine playmaker led the league in assists with 13, and added 10 goals. He joined the club on loan from Argentine side Lanús in January.  He made an immediate impact scoring in his first MLS game against New York Red Bulls in March.

Valeri and Ricketts joined Timbers midfielder Will Johnson on the MLS Best XI squad. Head coach Caleb Porter was named MLS Coach of the Year on Monday.