In the Sporting Kansas City playoff preview last year I wrote that for SKC in 2018, the bottom didn’t fall out. That doesn’t sound particularly noteworthy, but it has been an ongoing theme through the years with Peter Vermes’ teams. His up tempo and high press style has often faced scrutiny due lack of rotation. It’s led some to question whether Vermes’ tactical approach is viable for 34 to 40 games per season.
But their late season volatility isn’t all that surprising when you consider how a lack of depth during an MLS season can cause issues. It’s even less surprising that SKC would have encountered it considering their organizational constraints over the years. Read More
It’s hard not to have a love-hate relationship with the MLS offseason. On one hand, we get to talk about goalkeepers more often. (A massive plus for anyone.) Typically the narrative wraps up a year-long performance in one or two sentences - “Goalkeeper X will look to build off of last year’s success by relying on his shot stopping and distribution skills.” - but that’s hardly a problem considering the larger headache that resurfaces this time of year. Every January we hear about an unnamed MLS team being linked to a foreign goalkeeper. We just had one happen last week, with a “lucrative offer” apparently on the table for a German goalkeeper. Read More
Typically MLS’s spring season is marred by goalkeepers shaking off rust from an extended offseason, but this season fans have witnessed a breath of fresh air when it comes to goalkeeping. First, we've had a number of young goalkeepers far exceed expectations, despite not even being starters last year. Tyler Miller, Matt Turner, and Richard Sanchez were all sitting a bench somewhere last year but have shown the public (and previous employers) why they are worth putting in goal. Luis Robles and Alex Bono have done well in the Champions League, while Sean Johnson and Jimmy Maurer are seeing some resurgence in their careers. It hasn't been all daisies and roses, but compared to previous years, it’s been a blast seeing goalkeepers win games instead of costing their teams points. Read More
It’s that time of year again. Every October excitement fills the air over fans and media answering the question “who was the best goalkeeper in MLS this year?” Let no fanbase’s optimism come into question, as just about each one thinks their team has one of the best goalkeepers in the league. But the award is a true test only the most recent meritocracy. It forgets the past and rewards the present. To put it more simply, if the MLS GOTY award had a muppet doppelganger, without question it would be the jolly Ghost of Christmas Present from the Muppet Christmas Carol. A goalkeeper could have a constant howler in 2016 but be redeemed through grit and hard work in 2017. A young goalkeeper could be thrust into the limelight and propel their career forward. An aging veteran could finally receive the recognition they've worked so hard for. There are too many fantastic narratives to come to fruition and only one can actualize. Read More
It seems like every week I see multiple goalkeepers launch a hopeful goal kick to a teammate close to the sideline, only to overhit it by about twenty yards. While fans may appreciate the invitation to be a part of the game, they’d rather not see their goalkeeper concede possession so easily. MLS goalkeeping standards aren’t the same as La Liga, but surely there is some standard, right? Read More
I accessed the secret scrolls of passing statistics dating back to the 2015 season to see just how often MLS goalkeepers launch a ball straight out of bounds. For this exercise, we’ll be using the stat BOB, which stands for for “Ball Out of Bounds” because having a stat acronym with two O’s would jump ASA’s rating from G to PG and I couldn't bring myself to be the sole reason for that. We don't have the data to separate punts, throws, passes, and goal kicks but I think this still addresses the topic at hand. As such, the below BOB pulls in all 'keeper distribution, be it a goal kick launched towards midfield or a toss to a nearby teammate a foot away.
Over a total of 1587 BOB in 1622 games puts the average BOB/gm for a goalkeeper at .978.
Over the course of a year, the Columbus Crew have gone from runner-ups in the 2015 MLS Cup to bottom dwellers, finishing ninth in the Eastern Conference in 2016. After losing a number of games off conceding late goals and tying over a third of their games, Crew fans are right to be polarized when evaluating their team, especially the defense. In 2015 the Crew conceded 53 goals and another 58 in 2016, both getting close to most in the league. Currently all eyes are on Steve Clark, with debate on both sides on if he is the right goalkeeper for Columbus.
Every team needs a goalkeeper that fits their style of play. For example, if a defense is bleeding crosses, they may want a strong goalkeeper to handle the dangerous lobs into the box. When looking at Columbus, it’s easy to look at the number of goals they’re giving up and think they need a better shot stopper, when in reality, Clark is above average on saving shots in both expected goals and save percentage. The Crew don’t need a spectacular shot stopper. Instead, there are two main things they require from their goalkeeper. Read More
Well looks like my hot takes from last month are already starting to crumble. Let’s take a quick run through before we go into MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Power Rankings.
1. Luis Robles and David Ousted will duke it out for Goalkeeper of the Year again - Off to a rough start to say the least. I wouldn’t count them out completely, but the first month was definitely not kind to them. Expect them to turn it around, but it will take a strong push to get them in the conversation for a second year. However, play across the board has been thin by the majority of goalkeepers so maybe just maybe.
2. Dykstra will make people momentarily forget about Bill Hamid - Well the injury definitely was not kind but there could be some time for Dykstra to start before Hamid gets back to 100%. The jury is still out on this although they are all heavily leaning “no” at the moment.
3. Tim Howard will have a forgettable year - The 2-0 loss to Guatemala isn’t helping his case, let me just say that.
4. Sean Johnson starts seeing his way out in Chicago - The strongest prediction as of right now. There’s been rumors of wrist injuries but it seems he’s been on the bench mostly due to a coach’s decision. Even if Johnson does top Matt Lampson in the depth chart, don’t count out Patrick McLain. At this point, I’d expect McLain to get a game over Johnson.
5. Philadelphia and Los Angeles’ goalkeeping woes continue - Andre Blake is red hot right now but knowing Philadelphia juju, it seems a strong possibility that they will sign four more goalkeepers and Blake willl pick up a knock sooner than later. Rowe is sitting even keel between boom and bust right now but to be honest, all of this doesn’t matter until playoffs come. That will be the make or break for these teams.
More after the jump. Read More