Donovan Ricketts, unbeaten in May, remains the league’s top performer in goal for 2013The Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year is awarded at the end of the year, but this is my monthly list that tracks the ebbs and flows of Major League Soccer’s best shot stoppers. If you score things differently, join the conversation below in the comments section.
|1. Donovan Ricketts, Portland Timbers (1)
As I often say, the sign of a great goalkeeper is making the saves you’re supposed to – and then one save that you’re not. Donovan Ricketts has earned a landslide league-high five saves of the week this season, including three weeks in a row. Some of Ricketts’ top saves of this campaign have been the determining factor for points in the table, which is why he remains on top. Portland is second in the West in terms of points per game, with only one loss in 13 matches, but June’s schedule will present a challenge in the shape of Dallas, LA Galaxy and Colorado in consecutive weeks.
|2. Nick Rimando, Real Salt Lake (4)
RSL maintained its solid position in the table with wins over Vancouver, New England and Chivas in May, as well as a 3-0 shutout this first week of June against San Jose. Nick Rimando’s most impressive moment of the past five weeks came during injury time against New England, as he denied a penalty to secure a 2-1 win. Rimando and RSL take on the LA Galaxy and the streaking Seattle Sounders in the next few weeks of competition.
|3. Troy Perkins, Montreal Impact (3)
Stealing tight wins over RSL and Sporting KC in recent weeks, Montreal continues to legitimize its 2013 success. Despite the wins, Troy Perkins’ best performance during the past five weeks came in a tie against the Earthquakes in which his plethora of first-half saves kept the teams level. Perkins isn’t among the league leaders in the shutout category, but he does have a knack for showing up big when the Impact most need him. Remaining June matches include Columbus, Houston and Colorado.
|4. Jimmy Nielsen, Sporting Kansas City (2)
Jimmy Nielsen continues to be the league’s shutout leader, compiling seven in his first 15 appearances this year. However, Sporting KC attackers were held to one or fewer goals during all but one league match in May and June. The team remains a playoff contender in my eyes with its ability to halt the attack. After losing last week to the Eastern Conference leader, Montreal, Nielsen and Sporting will travel to face the best of the West, FC Dallas.
|T5. Clint Irwin, Colorado Rapids (Not Ranked)
Colorado was unbeaten in May and managed to secure a point over Dallas this past weekend. Being recognized as a top performer in matches against Toronto and San Jose, Clint Irwin already has contributed a handful of saves to his personal highlight reel during his rookie year. Irwin’s top stop thus far was a full-stretch PK save against RSL in week six of the season. With five shutouts in 12 appearances, the former Elon star has established himself as the regular starter in Colorado and will be one to watch for years to come.
|T5. Bobby Shuttleworth, New England Revolution (Not Ranked)
Pressing Nielsen’s shutout tally with six in only 11 games played, Bobby Shuttleworth joins the watch list fray. New England is the only team remaining with a single-digit in the goals-against column, but the Revs currently fall below the red line in the playoff picture because of a lack of scoring. New England’s five goals against LA Galaxy last week represent a third of its overall goal total (15) this year. Shuttleworth is the league’s leader for save percentage (80 percent) among keepers with at least three appearances, and he will look to continue that trend in upcoming matches against D.C., Vancouver and LA Chivas.