Real Salt Lake striker Alvaro Saborio was named the MLS Newcomer of the Year on Wednesday, punctuating a breakthrough MLS season that saw the Costa Rican import become one of the most feared goal scoring threats in the league.
Signed in March to bolster RSL's attack while looking to defend their MLS crown, Saborío didn't disappoint. He scored a team-high 12 goals this season and added four assists in 23 starts for the club up top. Those efforts were enough to top fellow nominees Joel Lindpere of the New York Red Bulls and Thierry Henry, who earned a nomination after joining the Red Bulls from Barcelona in July.
Saborío finished ninth in the Golden Boot race this season, scoring multiple goals in three games in 2010. His last such effort came in RSL's season finale in Colorado, where Saborío scored two goals during stoppage time to help the visitors salvage a 2-2 draw and maintain possession of the Rocky Mountain Cup.
He also scored two goals during a 5-0 RSL romp over New England on July 2 and in a 3-1 win over Houston on May 13. He finished the season with five game-winning goals as RSL challenged for the Supporters' Shield until the final day of the regular season and posted an undefeated record at Rio Tinto Stadium this season.
And although his efforts in this year's CONCACAF Champions League were not considered in the voting, Saborío notched six goals in six group stage matches as RSL became the first MLS team to win a group in the tournament's brief history.
A former mainstay with Costa Rican side Saprissa from 2001-06, Saborío also made 87 appearances with Swiss side FC Sion before joining English Championship side Bristol City on loan in 2009.