Meola’s MLS GK Power Rankings: Rimando is best between the pipes

USA centurion Tony Meola brings you the first edition of his MLS goalie rankings.
It’s time to begin the speculation as to who will be lifting trophies and receiving honors at the conclusion of the MLS season. Each month, check back here at Goal.com, as I provide my thoughts on MLS keepers in the running for the 2012 Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year Award.  The league’s top goalkeeping honor, the Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year will be announced in November at the conclusion of the season.

Last week's ranking in parenthesis




1. Nick Rimando, Real Salt Lake (NR)


Big saves translate to points in the standings, and Nick Rimando makes the big saves. He’s captured four Save of the Week honors, three of which secured close wins for RSL. Rimando is tied among the top for wins (8) and has recorded four shutouts in the 12 matches he’s played.


2. Ryan Meara, New York Red Bulls
(NR)

MLS rookie Ryan Meara has been the most tested keeper this season with an average of 5.15 shots per match. He also has a share of the lead for another statistical category – wins (8). Following two road losses to start the 2012 campaign, Meara and the Red Bulls have been on a tear, dropping only one contest out of their next 11.



3. Jimmy Nielsen, Sporting Kansas City (NR)

After seven consecutive wins to kickoff the season, Jimmy Nielsen and Sporting KC have slumped to only one win of their last five matches, allowing the competition to surpass them in the standings.  Despite the recent struggles, Nielsen has been a lot of fun to watch in goal thus far. He leads the league in shutouts (5) and snagged a Save of the Week honor back in Week 7.



4. Dan Kennedy, Chivas USA
(NR)

Chivas would not have four wins to its name without Dan Kennedy in goal.  Despite his team’s struggles in the tables, Kennedy is third in the league in goals allowed per game (1.08) for keepers with at least nine appearances. But throw out the stats, because Kennedy has simply been outstanding this season.


5. Andy Gruenebaum, Columbus Crew
(NR)

Andy Gruenebaum’s consistency has been key to Columbus’ mixed bag of success following the loss of the team’s leading goal scorer Andrés Mendoza, who joined Mexican club Atlante in the offseason. Of the 14 MLS keepers with 10+ appearances this season, Gruenebaum leads the league in save percentage (78%) and allows only 1.08 goals per appearance.  Columbus is currently in form and embracing its new identity – watch for the club to stay on pace with the leaders in the East with big thanks to the man in net.

Honorable Mention

Michael Gspurning, Seattle Sounders
(NR)

Call in the dark horse.  Michael Gspurning was off to a dynamite season before sustaining a hip injury that’s kept him out of half of the Sounders’ 13 matches thus far, but he’s looking to make a return to the lineup in mid June.  When he was healthy, Gspurning allowed only three goals in seven matches to tally a 5-1-1 record.  After his injury?  The Sounders have cooled to 7-3-3.  Expect Gspurning to climb my list if he returns in good form.

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