It’s been a busy time in Major League Soccer. Sporting Kansas City is back in charge in the East, the All-Stars gathered in Portland and pulled out a win over Bayern Munich, and I’ve been busy keeping track of the league’s goalkeeping. If you’re new here, I’ll be tracking performances all the way to the announcement of the Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year award, which is given to the best keeper at the end of the season in December.MORE: Alex Morgan upset at 159-degree temps | Transfer photos
Despite the loss of one of my top contenders, Eric Kronberg who broke a finger, we’re starting to see some guys break away from the pack. As always, let us know in the comments below where you see the goalkeepers stacking up.
T1. Bill Hamid, D.C. United (T1)
D.C. United still sits at the top of the Eastern Conference table, and its goalkeeper still continues to be one of my top contenders and one of the strongest performers in MLS. His goals against average and save percentage remain steady at 1.15 and 75 percent respectively. He’s also making the big saves when needed most. In Week 21, Hamid matched his career high with eight saves against Toronto FC, earning his fifth shutout of the season. Hamid also has received Save of the Week nominations in Weeks 18, 21, 22 and 23.
T1. Nick Rimando, Real Salt Lake (N/A)
Rimando missed out on GK rankings for much of this season, as his service to the United States national team didn’t allow us to see him in league play. Now that he’s back, he’s as impressive as ever. Let’s start with the numbers. Rimando boasts an impressive goals against average of 1.06 and one of the best save percentages in the league (73 percent). The vet also bettered Kevin Hartman’s career shutout record with his 113th clean sheet, solidifying his legacy within MLS. What puts him at the top of my list, however, are his big saves in Weeks 18, 21 and 22 – all nominations for Save of the Week – that have helped RSL remain in good position in the Western Conference.
3. Steve Clark, Columbus Crew (3)
Since my last ranking, things have started to look up for Columbus, and Steve Clark has remained solid in net. Out of all the goalkeepers in the league, Clark has been one of the busiest. He's faced 108 shots and has kept a goals against average of 1.28 by denying 70 percent of shots faced. In Weeks 18 and 19, Clark’s steady performance earned him Save of the Week nominations. Week 19, in the 63rd minute with the game square at 1-1 against the Montreal Impact, Clark made a spectacular double save denying Marco Vi Vaio and Andres Remero to help the Crew secure three points and nab Save of the Week honors for himself.
4. Jaime Penedo, Los Angeles Galaxy (4)
While things have been looking up, it’s been a mixed bag for LA Galaxy recently with four wins, two losses and a tie. In what’s shaping up to be a fight to stay above the line in both conferences, the Galaxy will need to rediscover and maintain their winning ways before too long, and Penedo is a key to making that happen. In Week 20, Penedo claimed Save of the Week for his well-timed stretch save off the foot of Clint Dempsey – a stop that helped the Galaxy keep a clean sheet against the Sounders. Penedo will need to keep up performances like that as the playoff race continues.
5. David Ousted, Vancouver Whitecaps (N/A)
Making a debut on the list this month is Vancouver Whitecaps goalkeeper David Ousted. Let’s start with shut outs – Ousted has a league-high seven. While he shares this category with four other goalkeepers, it is important to note that Ousted also has a top-five goals allowed average (1.29) among keepers with 16 or more appearances. The Whitecaps have posted only one loss since my last rankings posted, claiming a mix of wins and draws before their matchup against LA Galaxy. Vancouver currently sits on the right side of the red line, and I’ll be watching how Ousted will react to the pressure as match intensity hits the boiling point.