Now that just-retired Seattle Sounders goalkeeper Kasey Keller has been named to Major League Soccer’s Best XI team, which recognizes the league’s best 11 players, he automatically becomes the overwhelming favorite to win the Goalkeeper of the Year award. MLS will announce its choice next week.
Keller is the lone Best XI representative from the Sounders, who rode the veteran goalkeepers dynamic play this season to a club-record 63 points and third a consecutive postseason berth.
Keller, who will turn 42 later this month, started all 34 games during the 2011 season and led all league goalkeepers with 18 wins. Keller also finished third in saves (110), tied for third in shutouts (nine) and fifth in goals-against average (1.09).
Hartman finished the 2011 season with a 1.06 goals against average, making 85 saves in the regular season to post a 15-11-7 record with 13 shutouts. The 13 shutouts ranked second in MLS behind Nick Rimando of Real Salt Lake, the team that ousted the Sounders from the playoffs.
Hartman cemented his status as a league legend in 2011, when he surpassed the century mark in career shutouts (106). After 15 seasons in MLS, the veteran goalkeeper owns virtually every record in the league, including games played, games started, minutes, saves, wins and shutouts.
Mondragon, the Philadelphia captain, has a legitimate shot. He posted a 1.09 goals-against average and seven shutouts in 27 matches.
Keller becomes just the second Sounders player to earn a spot on the MLS’s Best XI. The first came in 2009 with midfielder Freddie Ljungberg, who currently plays as a right winger for Shimizu S-Pulse in Japan. The Sounders did not have a Bext XI selection in 2010.
Two other Sounders representatives are in line for major postseason awards. Sigi Schmid is a Coach of the Year finalist along with Bruce Arena of the Los Angeles Galaxy and Peter Vermes of Sporting Kansas City. The award will announced Monday.
Mauro Rosales is a candidate for Newcomer of the Year. Rosales, who signed with Seattle last March, finished with 13 assists (a franchise record for a season and good for third in the league) and five goals.
Rosales’ competition: Eric Hassli of the Vancouver Whitecaps and Luke Rogers of the New York Red Bulls. The award will be announced Tuesday.