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Chivas USA's Zach Thornton named MLS goalkeeper of the year

November 4, 2009 |  1:12 pm

Zach Zach Thornton, whose play in the nets was largely responsible for Chivas USA reaching Major League Soccer's playoffs for the fourth season in a row, today was named the league's goalkeeper of the year for a second time.

Thornton, 36, compiled an MLS-best 0.87 goals-against average in 2009, the second-lowest in league history. He also won the award in 1998 while helping the Chicago Fire win both the U.S. Open Cup and the MLS title.

"I'm very proud," he said. "To wait this long and to have gone through what I've been through and to be able to win the award again is outstanding."

Thornton, who allowed only 23 goals in 27 regular-season games and had 12 shutouts, is only the third goalkeeper to win the award twice, joining the San Jose Earthquakes' Joe Cannon and the Houston Dynamo's Pat Onstad.

Thornton said credit for his season should not only go to the defenders in front of him but to Chivas USA goalkeeper coach Leo Percovich. "He keeps me in great physical shape and mentally strong," Thornton said.

Click here to see Thornton in action in 2009 and hear his thoughts on the season and the award.

-- Grahame L. Jones

Photo: Zach Thornton makes a save during a match against the Seattle Sounders on June 7. Credit: Victor Decolongon / Getty Images