Brad Guzan, who could well be on his way to Arsenal next year, was today deservedly named MLS Goalkeeper of the Year.
“Winning the award reflects the hard work the guys have put in all year,” Guzan said today after training. “The biggest thing for me throughout the year was to be able to keep my head straight, never getting too high and never getting too low.”
Guzan beat out the New England Revolution’s Matt Reis and the Houston Dynamo’s Pat Onstad for the award and became the 10th different player to win.
From the MLS press release:
Guzan, 23, in only his third year as a professional, was awarded the Leagues top honor for goalkeepers after leading his club to the best record in the Western Conference (15-7-8), ranking first among goalkeepers in shutouts (13), tied for second in wins (14) and second in goals against average (0.93). Guzans 13 shutouts rank as the second most all-time behind Tony Meolas 16 in 2000. His goals-against average was the fourth best of all-time in MLS.
The native of Homer Glen, Ill., and former South Carolina Gamecock anchored a strong defense that allowed just 28 goals this season, the second-best mark in MLS this season.
Rumors over the last two weeks that Arsenal were scouting him were not dispelled by Guzan.
“I will wait for a later date to release that information,” he said. “If it does happen, great.
“I think they’re possibly one of the best teams in the world right now, if not the best,” he added. “The amount of talent they have is unbelievable.”
Except in the goalkeeping department, where the starter is the aging Jens Lehmann, who turns 38 next month.
Prediction: Guzan will join the English Premier League leaders when the international transfer window opens in January.
It will be a loss for MLS, but Guzan is already developing into a world class goalkeeper and U.S. Coach Bob Bradley will undoubtedly be happy if Guzan heads to England.
Goalkeepers typically peak much later than outfield players, so we can expect Guzan and Everton’s Tim Howard to compete for the starting job in the U.S. net for years to come, much as Tottenham Hotspur’s Kasey Keller and Blackburn Rovers’ Brad Friedel did in their prime.
In other MLS awards announced today, New England Revolution defender Michael Parkhurst was named the winner of the individual Fair Play award.
In 25 regular season games, he committed just five fouls and received no yellow or red cards, a remarkable achievement for a defender and a testament to his skill, positioning and ability to read the game.
Parkhurst is also expected to pick up the Defender of the Year Award.
The Columbus Crew earned the MLS Team Fair Play award, recognizing the Major League Soccer club with the fewest disciplinary points during the 2007 regular season.