Zach Thornton joined Chivas USA on Aug. 1, 2008, from the New York Red Bulls after the departure of Brad Guzan. In his 14-year MLS career, Thornton has earned many accolades, including being named MLS Goalkeeper of the Year in 1998, the year he helped the Chicago Fire to the MLS Cup and the U.S. Open Cup. He is a six-time MLS All-Star (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2009), and won two additional U.S. Open Cups with Chicago in 2000 and 2003, as well as the Supporters Shield with the Fire in 2003. A fixture in Chicago from 1998-2006, Thornton played a total of 215 games with the club (starting 212), and was named the team’s MVP in 2002 and the Fire’s defender of the year in 2001 and 2002. Thornton added four post season MLS and team awards for his stellar play throughout the 2009 MLS Regular season, including Chivas USA’s Team MVP, MLS Best XI, MLS Goalkeeper of the Year (his second nomination) and MLS Comeback Player of the Year.
2009: Thornton had a stellar year in goal for Chivas USA, playing in 27 games (all starts) and leading the league in both goals against average with a 0.87 mark (second-lowest in league history) and shutouts (12). Thornton was named to his sixth MLS All-Star team, and later earned the titles of MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, Comeback Player of the Year, Best XI, and Chivas USA MVP.
2008: Started the season with the New York Red Bulls but did not make an appearance before a trade brought him to Chivas USA on August 1 after the departure of Brad Guzan. Started seven matches for the Red-and-White before going down with a thigh injury on Sept. 6 at Toronto, and returned in the final match of the season after a red card was given to Dan Kennedy. Started both of Chivas USA’s playoff games.
2007: Was acquired by Colorado for a conditional 2008 MLS Supplemental Draft pick, and played in one game for the Rapids.
2006: In his final season with Chicago, Thornton played 24 matches (all starts), posting a 1.25 GAA and seven shutouts. All-time for the Fire, Thornton finished with 57 shutouts in 215 games.
2005: Became the second goalkeeper in MLS history to reach 100 wins on July 2 at Chivas USA, and recorded his 50th career clean sheet a week later against New England. Played 27 matches (starting 26) and posted a 1.64 GAA.
2004: Did not play in any League matches or Cup competitions for the Fire after re-signing with the club on Sept. 10 after spending the season in Portugal with Benfica.
2003: Started all 30 of the Fire's contests, notching a 1.22 GAA, 15-6-8 record and eight shutouts in helping Chicago capture its first-ever MLS Supporters Shield title as regular season champions. Helped the team reach the MLS Cup and win the Open Cup, allowing Chicago to become the first road team in the MLS era to win the tournament.
2002: Thornton started in 27 of 28 Fire games, making 124 saves, allowing 34 goals for a 1.22 GAA while collecting seven shutouts, the second most in the League.
2001: Named Chicago's 2001 Defender of the Year, thanks in part to a career and League-best 1.08 GAA and 16-6-5 record in 27 appearances (all starts)…Was the only Fire player to play every minute of every game (2,496), earning a League- and career-high nine shutouts.
2000: Started in 25 games, compiling a 15-4-6 record and recording 91 saves, earning a 1.28 GAA en route to being named to the MLS West All-Star squad, coming on as a second-half sub and playing 45 minutes. Played the every minute of Chicago’s run to the Open Cup crown, including the victory over Miami on October 21 to earn their second Open Cup title in three years.
1999: Won a career-best 17 games in 30 appearances (all starts), finishing the season with a 17-12 record and a 1.09 GAA, earning a second straight nod to the MLS All-Star Game.
1998: In his first year as a starter in MLS, appeared in 25 matches (23 starts) while notching a 16-8 record, 1.17 GAA and eight shutouts, numbers that earned him the 1998 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year honor and his first MLS All-Star appearance. Played all 450 minutes for the Fire in its five playoff wins, while his impressive 0.40 GAA helped the Fire to the MLS Cup title in the club's inaugural season. Thornton also helped Chicago to its second championship title of the season on 10-30 vs. CLB in the U.S. Open Cup with a 2-1 OT victory.
1997: Appeared in three games for the MetroStars, including two starts, posting a 1-1-0 record and 2.28 GAA while serving as a back-up for starter Tony Meola.
1996: Played in three games for the MetroStars and recorded a 3.00 GAA and 1-2 record.
Other Professional Experience
Thornton signed with Portuguese First Division club Benfica on Feb. 2, 2004, but did not see any time with the first team during his nine-month stint with the club before returning to the Chicago Fire.
Has a total of eight caps with the United States National Team, most recently on Dec. 9, 2001, in a 1-0 loss to South Korea. Also participated in the Pan Am Games and the World University Games.
At Loyola College (Md.), he finished his collegiate career with 31 shutouts and a .58 GAA in 43 total matches. Thornton was induced in the Loyola Hall of Fame in 2003, and was also an All-American in lacrosse as a midfielder.
Most rewarding soccer moment was winning the "Double" in 1998 with Chicago… Most respected soccer player is Peter Schmeichel…Considered former MetroStars 'keeper and friend Tim Howard his most anticipated foe… Most influential soccer figure is Essex Community College coach Sonny Askew…Would like to own a restaurant one day…Enjoys listening to hip hop music…An avid movie-goer, he likes actors Denzel Washington and Halle Berry.
MLS Cup Champion (1998)
U.S. Open Cup Champion (1998, 2000, 2003)
MLS Supporters Shield (2003)
MLS All-Star (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2009)
Chicago Fire MVP (2002)
Chicago Fire Defender of the Year (2001, 2002)
Goalkeeper of the Year (1998, 2009)
Chivas USA MVP (2009)
MLS Comeback Player of the Year (2009)
MLS Best XI (1998, 2009)
Acquired from New York on August 1, 2009, in a trade for monetary allocation.