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MLS awards go to Ricketts, Valeri

by: TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - After a late-September 1-0 home win over the Los Angeles Galaxy, goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts celebrated with Portland Timbers owner Merritt Paulson.Donovan Ricketts of the Portland Timbers has been named MLS goalkeeper of the year, and teammate Diego Valeri has been voted MLS newcomer of the year.

The awards are determined by vote of media, MLS players and club management and are based on regular-season performance.

Valeri, 27, led the league with 13 assists in 2013 and was Portland's top scorer with 33 points (10 goals). He came from Argentine club Atletico Lanus in January and is the third consecutive Argentine to receive the newcomer honor (Seattle midfielder Mauro Rosales won it in 2011 and Columbus forward Federico Higuain won it in 2012).

Ricketts was the goalie on the MLS Best XI all-star team announced Tuesday, and Valeri made the team in midfield.

Ricketts ranked among the league leaders in wins (13), goals-against average (0.97) and save percentage (73 percent).

The Jamaican international, who has spent five years in MLS, set career highs in 2013 in MLS shutouts (14), saves (92) and minutes played (2,880).

Ricketts, Valeri and Portland posted the best regular-season record in the MLS Western Conference. The Timbers reached the conference finals before falling to Real Salt Lake.

Ricketts, 36, also was MLS goalkeeper of the year in 2010 as a member of the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Ricketts, who had the MLS save of the week 10 times last season, beat three other finalists: Nick Rimando of Real Salt Lake, Jimmy Nielsen of Sporting Kansas City and Luis Robles of New York.

The voting breakdown:

Percentage of club votes

Ricketts 51.02

Rimando 22.45

Nielsen 6.12

Robles 4.08

Percentage of media votes

Rimando 40.26

Ricketts 22.08

Nielsen 14.29

Robles 9.09

Percentage of player votes

Ricketts 28.24

Rimando 21.96

Robles 8.82

Nielsen 3.52

Weighted total

Ricketts 101.34

Rimando 84.67

Nielsen 23.93

Robles 21.99

Valeri had three other finalists to beat, and he won convincingly over Jose Goncalves of New England, Nigel Reo-Coker of Vancouver and Clint Irwin of Colorado.

The voting breakdown:

Percentage of club votes

Valeri 72.34

Goncalves 6.38

Reo-Coker 6.38

Irwin 2.13

Percentage of media votes

Valeri 79.22

Goncalves 2.6

Reo-Coker 1.3

Irwin 3.9

Percentage of player votes

Valeri 36.38

Goncalves 13.21

Reo-Coker 8.54

irwin 5.89

Weighted total

Valeri 187.94

Goncalves 22.19

Reo-Coker 16.22

irwin 11.92