The former U.S. national team shot-stopper reveals his veteran-heavy picks for goalkeeper of the year honors.
This is it! On Wednesday, Major League Soccer will announce its finalists in line for the Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year award. I’ve ranked MLS goalkeepers who I think should be receiving a congratulatory phone call in the coming hours.
Sound off in the comments below and tweet the player hashtags to join the debate. Enjoy the rest of the action this year!
|1. Nick Rimando, Real Salt Lake (1)
Nick Rimando’s MLS season was shortened due to his appearance at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, yet he emerged in my eyes as this year’s best protector. RSL visibly missed Rimando when he was unavailable, as the squad’s points per match average dipped 56 percent without the veteran. Rimando was consistently solid in goal, leading all goalkeepers in save percentage (73 percent), and nine of his stops were selected as Saves of the Week, including three honors in the final six weeks of the regular season. Rimando also collected nine clean sheets and maintained a 1.04 goals allowed per game average.
|2. Donovan Ricketts, Portland Timbers (T4)
Donovan Ricketts appeared to be in his 2010 form, when he was honored as the league’s top keeper featuring for the Galaxy. Unbeaten in his first seven starts for Portland and ending the year with 14 unbeaten matches, there was not another goalkeeper who was as streaky as Ricketts. The Jamaican international also topped the league in shutouts (14) and Saves of the Week (10). Ricketts received a contract extension in July, so I can’t to see if he can maintain this level of competition in 2014.
|3. Luis Robles, New York Red Bulls (T2)
What a campaign it was for New York. Luis Robles shared the most wins (17) with Jimmy Nielsen and strung together eight-consecutive unbeaten matches to help claim the Supporters’ Shield. After starting the campaign 2-4-2, many critics expressed doubts of the Red Bulls’ potential, but Robles and company scratched on and became increasingly successful before lifting the franchise’s first major piece of hardware at season’s end.
|T4. Jimmy Nielsen, Sporting Kansas City (T2)
Last year’s Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year, Jimmy Nielsen, was among the top in almost every category available to goalkeepers. He matched Robles atop the table in wins (17), was second in clean sheets (13) and boasted the strongest goals allowed average (.88) for a second-consecutive year. Nielsen did not collect a Save of the Week honor, but his consistency helped SKC achieve the second spot in the Eastern Conference standings.
|T4. Tally Hall, Houston Dynamo (N/A)
Houston knows exactly what it takes to secure points late in the season. The Dynamo put a scare into their supporters, nabbing only a single point in four matches in late August / early September. Then, according to the usual script, Houston finished the season 4-1-2. Tally Hall was the catalyst during that stretch, allowing just three goals in seven matches (excluding a 3-0 loss to Red Bulls). Hall was also one of only four keepers to play every minute of every regular season match, something he also did in 2011.