SANDY, Utah / NEW YORK (Wednesday, November 10, 2010) - Major League Soccer today announced that Real Salt Lake FW Álvaro Saborío has been named the League's 2010 Newcomer of the Year, as voted on by his fellow players, coaches, general managers, and media. The 28-year-old Saborío beat out two New York Red Bull players - MF Joel Lindpere and FW Thierry Henry - to become the fourth player to earn the award since the League began bestowing it in 2007.
Saborío answered the question of who would pick up departed striker Yura Movsisyan's scoring slack in 2010 resoundingly, leading Real Salt Lake in scoring in both League play (12 goals - 8th on MLS Golden Boot chart) and during its maiden appearance in the CONCACAF Champions League (6 goals - T-2nd in the 2010 portion of the competition). His introduction to the Claret-and-Cobalt faithful at Rio Tinto Stadium was a dramatic one, as he came off the bench to head home the equalizing goal in the 94th minute against Seattle Sounders FC on April 10, punctuating the squad's Championship celebration evening and keeping alive what would later become the longest home unbeaten run in League history.
While Saborio's scoring total was prolific, his goals were also clutch, as the Costa Rican international tallied five match-winners and ended the regular season with a flourish, his double in stoppage time at Colorado single-handedly allowing RSL to earn a 2-2 draw and continue its team-record 14-match undefeated run in League play. While MLS competition is the focus for all awards, factoring in RSL's 2010/11 CONCACAF success brings Saborío's totals to 18 goals in 32 games - the scoring haul equal to MVP candidate and MLS Golden Boot winner Chris Wondolowski of San Jose during the MLS regular season. The Costa Rican international was thrice recognized by MLS during his first year in the League, earning two Player of the Week awards (Week 8 and Week 14) and the title of MLS Player of the Month for May.
Saborío is the first member of Real Salt Lake to capture the Newcomer of the Year honor from MLS, and the second RSL player to win a League award this season, joining Defender of the Year honoree Jamison Olave. The duo are the newest members of an elite list of players who have donned the Claret-and-Cobalt and garnered end-of-season awards from Major League Soccer, with past winners including Will Johnson (2008 Goal of the Year), Jeff Cunningham (2006 Golden Boot and Best XI Team), Chris Klein (2006 Fair Play Award), and Brian Kamler (2005 Humanitarian of the Year). Head Coach Jason Kreis can add to that growing list of award winners, as the RSL sideline boss is among the trio of candidates for the MLS Coach of the Year honor, which will be named tomorrow, Thursday November 11.
MLS Newcomer of the Year Award Winners
2010: Álvaro Saborío - Real Salt Lake
2009: Fredy Montero - Seattle Sounders FC
2008: Darren Huckerby - San Jose Earthquakes
2007: Luciano Emilio - D.C. United