If you're looking for a reason why the Portland Timbers have made the jump from an eight-win, second-to-last-place Western Conference club in 2012 to the pace setter in the West in 2013, you needn't look much further than goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts.
Ricketts' steady play in net guided the Timbers to six more wins, and 11 fewer losses compared to a year ago. In his 32 games, the five-year veteran recorded a 13-5-14 record, making 92 saves – several of which were Save of the Week caliber – and had a goals against average of .97. He had been so dominant that, at one point, LA Galaxy coach Bruce Arena dubbed him an MVP candidate.
For his consistency, the Castrol Index had Ricketts at the top of the list for 2013. He shook up a list that was forward-dominant a year ago, with the likes of LA Galaxy's Robbie Keane, the San Jose Earthquakes' Chris Wondolowski and Real Salt Lake's Alvaro Saborio in the top three.
The top 'keeper a year ago didn't come in until No. 12, where Michael Gspurning of the Seattle Sounders landed. Along with Ricketts at No. 1, Real Salt Lake GK Nick Rimando also finished in the top 10 at No. 7. Gspurning did not make the Top 25 this year.
Between Ricketts and Rimando, the list was filled with strikers from No. 2 to 6, including Marco Di Vaio, Mike Magee, Keane, Wondolowski and Jack McInerney. There were 14 forwards, five midfielders, four goalkeepers – Ricketts, Rimando, Luis Robles and Jon Busch – and two defenders – Drew Moor and Jose Goncalves – in the Top 25.
See how players collect points in the Castrol methodology here.
Castrol Index 2013 Top 25 performers
|1||Donovan Ricketts||Portland Timbers||2,880||810|
|2||Marco Di Vaio||Montreal Impact||2,743||810|
|3||Mike Magee||Chicago Fire||2,790||808|
|4||Robbie Keane||LA Galaxy||1,982||762|
|5||Chris Wondolowski||San Jose Earthquakes||2,610||760|
|6||Jack McInerney||Philadelphia Union||2,253||754|
|7||Nick Rimando||Real Salt Lake||2,430||735|
|8||Blas Perez||FC Dallas||2,020||731|
|9||Eddie Johnson||Seattle Sounders FC||1,725||724|
|10||Graham Zusi||Sporting Kansas City||2,356||714|
|11||Diego Fagundez||New England Revolution||2,425||712|
|12||Camilo Sanvezzo||Vancouver Whitecaps||2,415||705|
|13||Tim Cahill||New York Red Bulls||2,239||699|
|14||Lamar Neagle||Seattle Sounders FC||2,410||683|
|15||Ryan Johnson||Portland Timbers||1,768||681|
|16||Thierry Henry||New York Red Bulls||2,522||681|
|17||Luis Robles||New York Red Bulls||3,060||677|
|18||Will Bruin||Houston Dynamo||2,591||671|
|19||Drew Moor||Colorado Rapids||2,793||664|
|20||Giles Barnes||Houston Dynamo||2,552||647|
|21||Jose Goncalves||New England Revolution||3,060||620|
|22||Dominic Oduro||Columbus Crew||2,852||618|
|23||Diego Valeri||Portland Timbers||2,273||616|
|24||Jon Busch||San Jose Earthquakes||2,970||616|
|25||Conor Casey||Philadelphia Union||2,198||615|