2019 MLS Goalkeeper Roundup

cover photo belongs to Lindsey Wasson

Returning from last year’s roundup, we’re back with another edition of “Where Are They Now?” MLS teams are scrambling to get their rosters ready for 2019, with typically includes anywhere from 3-6 goalkeepers, depending on how much they value their USL connections. Updates will come periodically, typically based off of recent transactions, scrimmages, or any breaking news.

After rosters start getting settled, we’ll include a “Projected N3Y Grade” (Projected Next Three Years Grade) where I shed some light on whether the team’s ship is sailing towards smooth or rocky waters.

2018 Goalkeeper Grades

Columbus Crew A
Los Angeles FC A-

Seattle Sounders B+
Sporting Kansas City B+
Real Salt Lake B
Portland Timbers B-
Cincinnati FC B-
New England Revolution B-
Montreal Impact B-

Houston Dynamo C+
Atlanta United C+
Philadelphia C
Toronto FC C
Chicago Fire C
New York Red Bulls C-
Vancouver Whitecaps C-

Orlando City D+
Minnesota United D+
New York City FC D+
FC Dallas D
DC United D
San Jose Earthquakes D-
Los Angeles Galaxy D-

Colorado Rapids F

Atlanta United

Starter: Brad Guzan (34)
Backup:
Alec Kann (28)
In Reserve:
none
Coach: 
Aron Hyde

In: none

Out: Mitch Hildebrandt (29, option declined)

USL Affiliate: Atlanta United II
Paul Christensen (23, 10 starts)

Youth Prospects
Justin Garces (UCLA, FR)
Russell Shealy (Maryland, FR)

2018 Grade: C+
Projected N3Y Grade:
tba

Bill says: Guzan is sitting on a $700,000 contract and it’s person-to-person whether it’s a good deal. In contrast to Howard’s contract, it’s great. In contrast to some other goalkeepers, maybe Atlanta could save a few hundred thousand dollars.

Atlanta split playing time between five goalkeepers over the season, with rookie Paul Christensen getting the most starts with ten.

Don’t expect any notable changes with starting goalkeepers between the two teams. Even if Kann and/or Hildebrandt don’t return, Christensen will likely pick up the bulk of starts of ATL2.

Dec 9: Hildebrandt’s option isn’t picked up. For a veteran, it’s unlikely they are restructuring his contract and more likely ATL is making room for Christensen.

Dec 12: C+ may be a little low but I’m still not completely on board with the process. Guzan’s season felt a lot like “one step forward, one step back” - although he did have a nice save and shutout recently - and the same goes for Christensen with ATL2. Justin Garces earned the starting spot at UCLA but he’s still four years minimum away from taking over. If Atlanta can get another mid-20 year old to bolster the position, I’d feel much more confident moving forward.

 

Chicago Fire

Starter: Richard Sanchez (24)
Backup:
Stefan Cleveland (24)
In Reserve:
none
Coach: 
Aleksandar Saric

Youth Prospects
Sawyer Jackman (UIC, SR)
Miha Miskovic (Northwestern, Serbia, SO)
Jamison Yoder (Green Bay, SO)
Kyle Orciuch (Stanford, FR)
Cedrik Stern (Marquette, Germany, FR)
Damien Las (HS.JR)

In: none

Out: Patrick McLain (30, option declined)

USL Affiliate: Tulsa Roughnecks
Fabian Cerda (Chile, 28)

2018 Grade: C
Projected N3Y Grade:
tba

Bill says: Sanchez is possibly the most polarizing goalkeeper in the league. One moment he’s making a good save, then later that game it’s a poor tactical decision that lets one in the back of the net. For a goalkeeper who sat most the time in Mexico, it’s not too surprising to see. Needless to say, he’s far from securing the position. There have been rumors of bringing Iker Casillas to Chicago for the past couple years and while that’s still very unlikely, Sanchez should get a decent fight come next preseason. Cleveland earned only one start with Tulsa (raising questions about how well Chicago is getting their money’s worth from the USL) but if it wasn’t for McLain picking up an injury, he probably would have seen more than five starts this season.

No signs on if Chicago thinks McLain can bolster the position, but after allowing only six goals all year, he’s shown he has the talent if he can get stay healthy and get another chance.

Dec 10: Both Sanchez and Cleveland left unprotected for the expansion draft, if that says anything about the Fire’s faith in moving forward with the two goalkeepers.

FC Cincinnati

Starter: TBD
Backup:
Spencer Richey (26)
In Reserve:
none
Coach: 
Jack Stern

Youth Prospects
none

In: Spencer Richey (traded from Vancouver)

Out: none

USL Affiliate: none

2018 Grade: B-
Projected N3Y Grade:
tba

Bill says: FC Cincinnati relied on Evan Newton (29) and Spencer Richey (25) to split 20 and 14 games last season, respectively. For a new club, they’re going to want to save on money on backups so it depends how they view the two. Newton is about as steady as they come but Richey has some upside as well. It’s possible they bring them both up on $80,000-ish contracts but if I had to pick between the two, I’d lean Richey as he finished the season with the team but it’s essentially a tossup outside-looking-in.

Dec 9: Richey it is! This still doesn’t remove the possibility of Newton coming in but Head Coach Alan Koch has made it pretty clear Richey is valued, “Last season, he battled and remained resilient in a competitive goalkeeping environment and showcased his abilities with fantastic performances at the end of the year. We believe Spencer displayed significant growth over the course of the year and we are excited to give him a well-deserved opportunity with this club in MLS.”

Vancouver still held Richey’s rights so FC Cincinnati sent a 2020 third-round draft pick, essentially garbage, to the Whitecaps for a goalkeeper on the rise. It’s a great move for Cincinnati and while they may still pick up another goalkeeper in the expansion draft, it drastically lessens the possibility of them signing any goalkeeper on money over $120,000. Perhaps they steal another youngster but don’t expect them to sign “an established veteran” on ridiculous money.

Dec 12: You can’t grade Cincinnati on the same grading scale as the rest of the league. So considering they performed well all season and, more importantly, set themselves up to carry one over to the big leagues, it’s been a successful run from the Ohioans.

Dec 12: Cincinnati tied to Przemyslaw Tyton, a 31-year-old Polish goalkeeper who has 14 starts for Poland, but hasn’t been a starter since 2016. (Highlights here.) Unfortunately this feels a lot like a Carlo Cudicini-type of move.

 

Colorado Rapids

Starter: Tim Howard (39)
Backup:
none
In Reserve:
none
Coach: 
Chris Sharpe

Youth Prospects
Connor Gavigan (Florida Gulf Coast, SO)
Trevor Mowry (Cal Poly, FR)

In: none

Out: Andrew Dykstra (32, out of contract)
Zac MacMath (27, traded to Vancouver)

USL Affiliate: Charlotte Independence
Andrew Dykstra (32)
Brandon Miller (29)

2018 Grade: F
Projected N3Y Grade:
tba

Bill says: Another year where Colorado has zero youth development in mind. Not only does Colorado let 2018 draftee Thomas Olsen walk but Zac MacMath amounts for four total starts in all competitions as Dykstra picked up the bulk of time in Charlotte. With Howard on the largest MLS goalkeeping contract of all-time and only playing to the level of an average starter at best, it’s a great recipe for making in-house turmoil.

Dec 9: MacMath off the books for some TAM, a decent trade. Colorado fans should be less worried about a backup for 2019 and more concerned about how the Rapids are going to handle the position come 2020.

Dec 12: While I don’t think Howard had a bad year, at $2,475,000 you’re not hoping for just “not bad”. At that kind of money it has to be exceptional, which it wasn’t. Colorado did well to get a little return out of MacMath but the lack of forethought in the position after Howard is troubling.

 

Columbus Crew

Starter: TBD
Backup:
Jon Kempin (25)
In Reserve: Ben Lundgaard (23)
Coach: 
Pat Onstad

Youth Prospects
Parker Siegfried (Ohio State, JR)
Robbie McKelvey (Duquesne, JR)

In: none

Out: Zack Steffen (23, transferred to Manchester City)
Logan Ketterer (25, option declined)

USL Affiliate: Pittsburgh Riverhounds
Dan Lynd (24)

2018 Grade: A
Projected N3Y Grade:
tba

Bill says: It’s an interesting time for Columbus as there are a few different directions to go from Steffen’s sale. Do they invest in another youngster and hope he ends up in Europe (aka gives the Crew a nice transfer fee)? Do they trust Kempin or Lundgaard to take over? Do they opt for a more established veteran? Could we see Steffen back on a loan from Manchester City? Time will tell but I’m hoping to see Kempin get a fair shake. He did well with his time in LA but not as sharp in his five appearances this year.

Ketterer had his option declined and writes a thankful Instagram post for his time in Columbus.

Dec 12: Steffen is set to play the first half of 2019 with Columbus before heading off to Manchester City. The big question is whom the Crew are looking to replace Steffen with. Kempin earned some games last year and looked okay but he’s shown some really positive moments in both LA and Kansas City that I think he has enough reason to warrant another chance to get the keys to the car this summer.

The Crew earns an “A” for 2018, largely for their ability to convert a young prospect into $7-10 million. Steffen had some positive moments but also had some room to grow as well.

Dec 12: While most everyone has been positive about the Manchester City move, the Guardian astutely points out that Manchester City has a number of players out on loan (28 in total) and raises some concerns about the move.

On a side note, Onstad feels confident about replacing Steffen, “Our scouts already have players targeted as the Club identifies a high-caliber replacement.”

 

D.C. United

Starter: Bill Hamid (28)
Backup:
David Ousted (33, Denmark)
In Reserve:
none
Coach: 
Zach Thornton

Youth Prospects
Scott Rissler (Duquesne, JR)
James Knoebel (Liberty, JR)
Jacob Braham (Stony Brook, JR)
Lance DaSilva (Coastal Carolina, SO)
Noah Lawrence (Cincinnati, SO)
Quantrell Jones (UMBC, FR)
Dane Jacomen (Penn, FR)

In: none

Out: Travis Worra (25, out of contract)

USL Affiliate: Richmond Kickers
Travis Worra (25)
Trevor Spangenberg (27)

2018 Grade: D
Projected N3Y Grade:
tba

Bill says: Another confounding year in the goalkeeping department for DC. Ousted ends up being one of the highest paid backups at $370,000 while DC United bring back Bill Hamid on loan after his transfer fee to FC Midtjylland for zero dollars ended up amounting to Hamid having close to a zero dollar impact on the club. Hamid did well with his time in DC but United’s route going forward is more than muddied. They could theoretically take Hamid back full-time but I would imagine DC wouldn’t spend more than what they sold him for ($0) simply out of principle.

Dec 10: One way to protect a player for the expansion draft is to make them ineligible for the draft. The other way is to sign a backup player to a $370,000 contract. Ousted and Worra left open for Cincinnati.

Dec 12: DC United finish with a “D” on the year. Hamid came in and salvaged the position for the most part but the whole approach to goalkeeping is all over the place. If my math is right, I think Ousted is set to make more money than Hamid for 2019, if not at least very close to. DC United spent twice as much than LAFC did on goalkeepers and got less than half the results.

FC Dallas

Starter: Jesse Gonzalez (23)
Backup:
Jimmy Maurer (31)
In Reserve:
Kyle Zobeck (28), Carlos Avilez (19)
Coach: Drew Keeshan

Youth Prospects
Matthew Karasinski (Tulsa, JR)
Charlie Furrer (Stanford, JR)
Ben Hale (Furman, SO)
David Abonce (Ohio State, FR)
Trevor Jackson (Central Arkansas, FR)
Carlos Mercado (Incarnate Word, FR)

In: none

Out: none

USL Affiliate: North Texas SC
no players announced yet

2018 Grade: D
Projected N3Y Grade:
tba

Bill says: FC Dallas tries another year with Gonzalez and once again it’s mixed results. With FC Dallas treating the position with the right amount of fluidity, perhaps Avilez could work his way into the starting role if he does well enough with North Texas.

FC Dallas announces the creation of the USL side North Texas SC and with tryouts this month, it’s safe to say they don’t quite have the depth yet to really project much. Sports Day points out Ben Hale and Carlos Avilez as possible starters.

Dec 10: Somewhat interesting that FC Dallas protected Maurer for the draft, implying they’re not done with him yet.

Dec 12: Not a great year from Gonzalez and on $211,000, it has to be better. It’ll be interesting to see how many minutes Maurer gets in 2019. After earning 13 starts, does FC Dallas continue to lean on the 30-year-old or try to commit to Gonzalez even more? Hopefully FC Dallas is even quicker to put Maurer in the net if Gonzalez continues to struggle.

Houston Dynamo

Starter: Joe Willis (30)
Backup:
Chris Seitz (31)
In Reserve:
Tyler Deric (30), Michael Nelson (23)
Coach: 
Paul Rogers

Youth Prospects
Andy Rios (UT Rio Grande Valley, JR)
Charles Filby (Virginia Tech, JR)
Andrew Morrison (Washington, FR)
Alex Fetterly (New Mexico, FR)

In: none

Out: none

USL Affiliate: Rio Grande Valley FC Toros
Nico Corti (23)

2018 Grade: C+
Projected N3Y Grade:
tba

Bill says: The Dynamo started the season with Seitz in goal but after six games made the switch to Willis. Houston would later bring back Deric mid-season but outside of two starts it was all Willis. It’s a little unclear who the intended starter would be for 2019. Nelson is the one on the books with the parent team, not Nico Corti, who would end up getting the bulk of the starts at RGV. The Dynamo have never looked sold on Willis but there’s no denying he performed up to expectations this year, if not exceeding them at times. Nelson is likely still the long-term goal but he’s probably still 2-3 years from reaching that goal.

Dec 10: Nelson is the only goalkeeper available for the expansion draft. It’s a long shot Cincy picks him up but if they’re wanting a young project, Nelson isn’t a bad option.

 

Los Angeles FC

Starter: Tyler Miller (25)
Backup:
none
In Reserve: 
none
Coach:
Zak Abdel

Youth Prospects
none

In: none

Out: Charlie Lyon (26, option declined)
Quillan Roberts (24, Canada, option declined)
Luis Lopez (25, Honduras, loan expired)

USL Affiliate: Orange County SC
Andre Rawls (28, on loan from NYC)
Bennett Sneddon (21)

2018 Grade: A-
Projected N3Y Grade:
tba

Bill says: Tyler Miller went from an expansion draft pick to one of the top-five goalkeepers in the league. Based off of LAFC’s handling with the rest of the depth chart, it seems like it was more good fortune for LAFC as Miller simply ran with the opportunity in front of him. If LAFC could get a larger return out of the affiliate (LAFC goalkeepers combined for five starts with the OC) I’d be a little more convinced they had a cleared plan going forward but right now LAFC is paying Lopez $147,500 to sit the bench while their starter is made just under $69,000.

Dec 12: Lopez heads out, which certainly frees up some money for LAFC. Unless Miller re-negotiates a new contract, LAFC should have, at most, a cool $100,000 to spend on a backup. But overall it was an incredibly successful year after LAFC was wise to recognize talent left available in the expansion draft.

Los Angeles Galaxy

Starter: David Bingham (29)
Backup:
Justin vom Steeg (21)
In Reserve:
none
Coach: 
Oka Nikolov

Youth Prospects
Matt Watkin (San Diego State, JR)

In: none

Out: Brian Sylvestre (26, option declined)

USL Affiliate: Los Angeles Galaxy II
Eric Lopez (19)
Wade Hamilton (24)

2018 Grade: D-
Projected N3Y Grade:
tba

Bill says: After all the effort LAG spent to get Bingham, he ended up being a bottom five goalkeeper for the year. Vom Steeg (14), Eric Lopez (11), and Wade Hamilton (7) split time in USL action and right now I’m not convinced that vom Steeg couldn’t reproduce what Bingham has shown in goal. Unfortunately the Galaxy have locked themselves into a heavy contract with Bingham at $275,0000.

Dec 12: If it weren’t for the USL side the Galaxy would have received a straight F, but one has to think out of Lopez, vom Steeg, and Hamilton, at least one goalkeeper is going to work out between the three. So while 2018 is something fans are wanting to move past quickly, they do have a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel. Then again, every goalkeeper starts with a clean slate in March and 2019 wouldn’t be the first time a goalkeeper rebounded from a terrible year to remind the critics they deserve their paycheck.

 

Minnesota United

Starter: Bobby Shuttleworth (31)
Backup:
none
In Reserve:
none
Coach: 
John Pascarella

In: none

Out: Matt Lampson (29, option declined)
Alex Kapp (24, option declined)

USL affiliate: Forward Madison FC
will start play in 2019

2018 Grade: D+
Projected N3Y Grade:
tba

Bill says: It’s an interesting strategy Minnesota utilized with their goalkeeping core. Instead of paying big for one goalkeeper, which may or may not work out, they paid less than $300,000 for two goalkeepers, hedging their bets that one of them would work out. And it worked out, with Shuttleworth having a good year through 25 games. Similar to Houston, Lampson started the first six games then Shuttleworth took over after that. Kapp didn’t see any action all year and with Shuttleworth turning 31 this year, Minnesota will likely look to a very thin senior goalkeeping class to help out, although they’ve had zero luck with young goalkeepers in their short history. With Forward Madison joining League One in 2019, Minnesota can afford to pick up more than youngster to test drive.

Dec 10: Minnesota protected Shuttleworth for the expansion draft, implying they have some bigger plans for him in 2019.

Montreal Impact

Starter: Evan Bush (32)
Backup:
Clement Diop (France, 25)
In Reserve:
James Pantemis (Canada, 21)
Jason Beaulieu (Canada, 24)
Coach: 
Joël Bats

In: none

Out: Maxime Crepeau (Canada, 24, traded to Vancouver)

USL Affiliate: Ottawa Fury
Maxime Crepeau (likely won’t return)

2018 Grade: B-
Projected N3Y Grade:
tba

Bill says: After a strong year, Bush is rewarded with a million dollar contract over three years, placing her around 12th for most paid for an MLS goalkeeper. It’s a smart plan to keep Bush in charge until no later than 2021 with Crepeau (who quietly earned 35 starts with Ottawa this year) takes over whenever he’s ready. The rest of the roster is a bit of a head-scratcher, as the Impact are spending nearly $200,000 on the three goalkeepers sitting the bench, but at least they have a plan.

Dec 9: Scratch that. Montreal receives $50,000 in TAM and a third-round draft pick for the 2020 draft for Crepeau, a pretty low offer had Montreal rated Crepeau highly but, more likely, a decent offer if Montreal was ready to move on from him. This doesn’t give much confidence for Montreal post-Bush life. It takes a couple years to groom a goalkeeper into the starting spot.

Dec 12: Pantemis is awarded Team Canada save of the year for this quick paw.

I was in between a B-/C+ year for Montreal but with Bush playing so well and Montreal getting some return out of their youngsters, they’re getting the bump up. However, Bush will have raised expectations heading into 2019 with the new contract.

New England Revolution

Starter: Matt Turner (24)
Backup:
Brad Knighton (33)
In Reserve:
Cody Cropper (25)
Coach: 
Remi Roy

Youth Prospects
Austin Aviza (Connecticut, JR)
Eddie Walsh (Xavier, SO)
Trey Miller (Massachusetts, FR)
Matt Tibbetts (Holy Cross, FR)

In: none

Out: none

USL Affiliate: Hartford Athletic
will start play in 2019

2018 Grade: B-
Projected N3Y Grade:
tba

Bill says: In a surprising turn of events, Matt Turner started the year for the Revs until a string of poor performances saw Knighton earn seven starts before the end of the year. It’s not quite as stable of a goalkeeping situation that Manager Brad Friedel would like to have. Turner is likely to be the starter for 2019 but the bigger question is if New England are happy with their setup and if not, how could they add a goalkeeper in smoothly. Cropper seems like he could be meant for greener pastures and with Hartford Athletic joining USL play, New England may try to find a hidden gem in this year’s draft class.

Dec 12: When you look across the league and see how much teams are spending on the position and see how much of a return the Revs got on so little money, it’s truly impressive. Hopefully New England can build on the success and not be content with where they ended up.

New York City FC

Starter: Sean Johnson (29)
Backup:
Brad Stuver (27)
In Reserve: 
Jeff Caldwell (22)
Coach: 
Rob Vartughian

Youth Prospects
Johan Penaranda (Pittsburgh, FR)

In: none

Out: Andre Rawls (28, option declined)

USL Affiliate: San Antonio FC
Diego Restrepo (30)

2018 Grade: D+
Projected N3Y Grade:
tba

Bill says: NYC’s affiliate situation is odd, to say the least. Reported they’re not quite near having their own USL side, they’ve sent Rawls to Orange County (LAFC’s affiliate) and kept promising young prospect Jeff Caldwell in-house for the entirety of 2018 and allowing him zero professional starts for the year. It’s a hard sell to think that only training environments for Caldwell would be better off for him in the long run. Perhaps NYC could learn a lesson from San Jose or Colorado on how not to devalue young goalkeepers.

Dec 10: Jeff Caldwell - currently sitting on a $54,500 contract - is available for the expansion draft. He’s the top pick for my money, especially considering how cheap he is. Cincinnati will be able to find a relatively (if not free) veteran in the coming months while Caldwell is a goalkeeper with some massive upside.

 

New York Red Bulls

Starter: Luis Robles (34)
Backup:
Ryan Meara (28)
In Reserve:
Evan Louro (22)
Coach: 
Preston Burpo

Youth Prospects
Tomas Lapinas (George Mason, SR)
Ethan Koehler (Georgetown, SO)
Xavier Kennedy (Ohio State, SO)
Matthew Frank (Stanford, FR)
Steven Ortiz (Fairleigh Dickinson, FR)
Sam Ilin (LIU Brooklyn, FR)

In: none

Out: none

USL Affiliate: New York Red Bulls II
Louro (26 starts)

2018 Grade: C-
Projected N3Y Grade:
tba

Bill says: Overall it felt like a fairly underwhelming year from Robles and the three games Meara received he looked a step behind. Despite getting plenty of time in USL, Louro doesn’t look like he’s on track to replace Robles. The Red Bulls had highly touted collegiate goalkeepers Rashid Nuhu and Dayne St. Clair with the U23s this summer so they’re clearly aware of young goalkeepers, but they’re struggling to get the right return so far.

Dec 10: The Red Bulls protect all three goalkeepers for the draft which seems like one too many for where they are with their core right now. Either pave a way for one of the youngsters or move on to another project.

Orlando City SC

Starter: TBD
Backup:
Adam Grinwis (26)
In Reserve:
none
Coach: 
Tim Mulqueen

Youth Prospects
Justin Bauer (South Carolina, SO)

In: none

Out: Joe Bendik (29, option declined)
Earl Edwards (26, out of contract)

USL Affiliate: Orlando City B
will start play in 2019

2018 Grade: D+
Projected N3Y Grade:
tba

Bill says: Bendik is out and I would be surprised if Edwards returned either, who didn’t look sharp in his 4.5 games this year. Orlando had wisely signed Grinwis for peanuts ($67,500) and he’s definitely played above his value. I’ve always liked Griniws since his days in Michigan and was glad to see he finished the season as the starter. However, It’s tough to say Grinwis impressed too much as he only earned four points in five games but the team was already looking towards 2019 at that point so the jury is still out. Personally I thought he looked like an MLS starter in the last game of the season but time will tell how Orlando approaches filling the gaps. I would guess they try for another cheap, youngster and then a goalkeeper in the $150,000-$200,000 range, depending on how confident they are with the replacement. Fortunately Orlando is reviving their OCB side so any young goalkeepers they bring in surely will get some playing time.

Lastly, Orlando City had a wonderful video package on Mason Stajduhar, who is still fighting bone cancer and training with Orlando when he can. It’s an unbelievable story of determination in the face of an undeserved setback.

Dec 10: Bendik is on a bit of a contract ($189,000) and while Cincinnati can renegotiate, I’d be surprised if Bendik came below $150,000, which would likely make him a little too expensive for Cincinnati. Either way it sounds like Bendik is walking from Orlando still. They did hold onto Grinwis, which sounds like he will be given a fair shake at the starting gig for 2019.

Dec 12: Giving Orlando City a “D+” may feel overly nice considering the band seems to be breaking up, but the former Lions didn’t dig themselves into a hole this year. Yes, the defense was below par but the goalkeeping department wasn’t terrible and the team didn’t overcommit with contracts. And perhaps more importantly, Orlando gave Edwards and Grinwis a solid look before the season’s end. When they knew Bendik wasn’t the answer, they exhausted all their options instead of coming into 2019 thinking wondering who could take over.

Philadelphia Union

Starter: Andre Blake (Jamaica, 28)
Backup:
none
In Reserve:
none
Coach: 
Tim Hanley

Youth Prospects
Cameron Keys (La Salle, SR)
Andrew Verdi (Michigan, JR)
Jahmali Waite (Jamaica, Fairleigh Dickinson, SO)
Matt Freeze (Harvard, SO)
Tomas Romero (Georgetown, HS.SR)
Brady McSwain (Cornell, HS.SR)
Kris Shakes (Penn State, HS.SR)

In: none

Out: John McCarthy (26, out of contract)
Jake McGuire (24, option declined)

USL Affiliate: Bethlehem Steel
Jake McGuire (21 starts)

2018 Grade: C
Projected N3Y Grade:
tba

Bill says: McCarthy is out of contract while the Union opted to decline McGuire’s option, meaning that they’re moving on without him or, more likely, they’re re-negotiating his contract to replace McCarthy. Blake had a respectable year - not quite $500,000 worth but not awful - but for Philadelphia to have a real success with Blake he either needs to contend for GOTY every year or they sell him for at least seven figures. I don’t really see either of those two happening at this point.

On a minor note, the Union have an interesting batch of young goalkeepers. While Keys and Verdi have been relegated to backup roles, Freeze and Romero are two very talented goalkeepers that have a decent shot of landing with Philadelphia down the line.

Dec 10: McGuire available for the expansion draft. Similar to Houston’s Michael Nelson, it could be an option if Cincinnati is looking for a young goalkeeper.

Portland Timbers

Starter: Jeff Attinella (30)
Backup:
Kendall McIntosh (24)
In Reserve:
none
Coach:
 Guillermo "Memo" Valencia

Youth Prospects
Trevor Wilson (DePaul, JR)
Toby Holstein (Gonzaga, JR)
Joe Wheelwright (Utah Valley, SO)
Zachary Nelson (Xavier, SO)
Zachary Morris (Rider, SO)
Eric Cotton (Western Michigan, Canada, FR)
Broden Schull (VMI, FR)

In: none

Out:
Jake Gleeson (New Zealand, 28, out of contract)
Steve Clark (32, out of contract)

USL Affiliate: Portland II
Kendall McIntosh (17 starts)
Alex Mangels (24, 15 starts)
Austin Pack (24, 1 start)

2018 Grade: B-
Projected N3Y Grade:
tba

Bill says: We’re still waiting on Portland’s roster update but it would appear that Gleeson and Clark are battling for the same spot. Both are on similar money and Gleeson should be healthy this month and certainly by next season. The likely victor will come down to how the contracts play out. If one is out, or can have their option declined, Portland isn’t going to want to keep three goalkeepers with $120,000 contracts on the books. McIntosh was outplayed by Mangels with the USL side, the latter being a goalkeeper Portland casually picked up in last year’s offseason.

It all feels a little shoot-from-the-hip-ish in Portland, which has its pros and cons. It allowed Attinella to prove himself, leading the team to the MLS Cup, but also doesn’t give off the impression they have a clear plan three years or months from now.

Dec 10: Some intuitive contract planning by Portland to keep contracts with Gleeson and Clark short. It doesn’t rule out the possibility of them returning, but it definitely lessens it. Portland is likely looking to spend $80,000-$100,000 on their backup, a notable pay cut for both goalkeepers.

Real Salt Lake

Starter: Nick Rimando (39)
Backup:
Alex Horwath (31) / Andrew Putna (24)
In Reserve:
David Ochoa (17)
Coach: 
Todd Hoffard

Youth Prospects
Luis Barraza (Marquette, SR)
Gage Rogers (California Baptist, SO)
Jared Osgood (St. Louis, SO)
Jacob Jackson (Loyola Marymount, FR)

In: David Ochoa (homegrown)

Out: Connor Sparrow (24, option declined)

USL Affiliate: Real Monarchs
Jake Leeker (23)

2018 Grade: B
Projected N3Y Grade:
tba

Bill says: Somehow Rimando had a very underwhelming 2017 then followed it up with a top-five performance in 2018. Of course he gets overlooked again and I have no clue what it means for 2019, but he did more than earn his paycheck last year.

A knee injury derailed Sparrow’s 2018, where he was playing well for himself. Alex Horwath is still on roster but unless an injury hits Rimando, Horwath is likely to come and go from the come without much of a noise. Real Monarchs started Jake Leeker for half the season but he’s not slated to return as of right now. Ochoa is still quite green so RSL would do themselves a favor in picking up goalkeeper a year or two out of college to supplement Ochoa’s maturing process, or even pen recently graduated Luis Barraza to a homegrown contract.

Dec 10: I foolishly left off Andrew Putna, who just finished his second year within the RSL organization but only has 9 career games played. Putna spent most of 2018 with the parent squad after Horwath went down with an injury and even earned a game and a half with the first team. The outlook on Putna is a little tough to say. He looked fine in his three halves but RSL hasn’t invested in him to the point where they are expecting a return. Ochoa won’t be ready for a few years so unless Rimando is going to play until he’s 45, they’re going to have to lean on someone over the next 5-6 years.

All Horwath, Sparrow, Putna, and Jake Leeker are available for the expansion draft, giving more weight to RSL’s lack of trust in any of them replacing Rimando.

 

San Jose Earthquakes

Starter: TBD
Backup:
JT Marcinkowski (21) / Andrew Tarbell (25)
In Reserve:
Matt Bersano (26)
Coach:
Carlos Roa, Jyri Nieminen

Youth Prospects
Remi Prieur (Saint Mary’s, JR)
Drake Callender (California, JR)
Dominic Peters (Wake Forest, FR)
Cameron Douglas (UCLA, FR)
Andre Wangard (Louisville, FR)
Ben Ayers (California, FR)
Victor Juarez (UNLV, FR)

In: none

Out: none

USL Affiliate: Reno 1868 FC
JT Marcinkowski

2018 Grade: D-
Projected N3Y Grade:
tba

Bill says: It’s a little odd that San Jose went way out of their way to pick up Andrew Tarbell when they had Marcinkowski coming up through the ranks but it’s even more odd that the Earthquakes didn’t have an endgame in mind. Sure, maybe pick up the hottest commodity in the draft, but don’t let your investment go to waste within two years time. Tarbell was not developed well and simply put the responsibility is on San Jose. I suppose it’s not surprising the same organization that mishandled David Bingham is the one who mishandled Tarbell. We know Tarbell can play, as he’s shown in the past, so either the Earthquakes should have shipped him out when his value was still high or better prepared him for 2018. In hindsight, it seems like having him sit all of 2016 and half of 2017 wasn’t the best plan.

Both Marcinkowski and Tarbell are set to enter camp next March, where there will be plenty of quotes about it being an open competition, but the reality is that it San Jose is hoping Marcinkowski is ready to go for 2019.

Seattle Sounders

Starter: Stefan Frei (32)
Backup:
Bryan Meredith (29)
In Reserve:
none
Coach: 
Tom Dutra

Youth Prospects
Ben Willis (Gonzaga, SR)
Paul Lewis (Loyola Marymount, JR)
Saif Kerawala (Washington, JR)
Tor Saunders (Akron, SO)
Trey Muse (Indiana, SO)
Sam Fowler (Washington, HS.SR)
Robert Harraka (Harvard, HS.SR)

In: none

Out:
Calle Brown (26, option declined)

USL Affiliate: Seattle II
Calle Brown (21 starts)

2018 Grade: B+
Projected N3Y Grade:
tba

Bill says: There was a bit of discourse on the Swiss-American goalkeeper but Frei was a real bright spot for me this season but looking forward, things look grim. This is the same organization that completely whiffed on Tyler Miller despite having him for two years. The Sounders found four games between two teenager goalkeepers Sam Fowler and Jacob Castro but the Sounders seem to still be searching for their footing going forward. Signing Trey Muse to a homegrown contract would be a positive step but something tells me they’re going to need more than one young signing to right the ship with their youth goalkeeping development.

Sporting Kansas City

Starter: Tim Melia (31)
Backup:
Eric Dick (24) / Adrian Zendejas (23)
In Reserve:
TBD
Coach:
 Alec Dufty

Youth Prospects
Dakotah Bainter (UNC Asheville, JR)
Steven Tekesky (West Virginia, SO)
Freddy Lorenzen (Milwaukee, SO)
Alec Wons (Marquette, FR)
Alex Brown (Coastal Carolina, FR)
Connor Jordan-Hyde (Virginia Tech, FR)

In: none

Out:
none

USL Affiliate: Swope Park Rangers
Eric Dick (13 starts)
Adrian Zendejas (12 starts)

2018 Grade: B+
Projected N3Y Grade:
tba

Bill says: It’s always tough to follow up a Goalkeeper of the Year performance but Melia did well in goal this year. With no real doubt of him losing his starting spot until 2020 at the earliest. Dick and Zendejas battled it out at Swope Park, earning almost even playing time, which means they both were playing so well it was hard to pick or both were a little shaky and the coaches kept searching for the hot hand. It was a “boring” year for SKC narrative-wise, but one that may pay off in a couple years when the Wiz look to move on from Melia.

Toronto FC

Starter: Alex Bono (24)
Backup:
Caleb Patterson-Sewell (31)
In Reserve:
none
Coach:
 Jon Conway

Youth Prospects
Brogan Engbers (Liberty, Canada, SO)
Rimi Olatunji (Providence, Canada, FR)
Gianluca Catalano (Connecticut, Canada, FR)

In: none

Out: Clint Irwin (28, option declined)

USL Affiliate: Toronto FC II
Caleb Patterson-Sewell (19 starts)
Angelo Cavalluzzo (25, 5 starts)
Borja Angoitia (26, Spain, 5 starts)
Drew Shepherd (24, 1 start)

2018 Grade: C
Projected N3Y Grade:
tba

Bill says: Bono was the flavor of the month for most 2017 with the media but with a poor showing by the team as a whole, Bono has been shelved for the time being. He certainly showed flashes of being a USMNT contender but he’s going to need Toronto to help him raise his profile back up. Toronto wisely declined Irwin’s contract extension (the backup was on $220,000) but he seems to have gained Toronto’s favor so I wouldn’t be surprised if they brought him back on a drastically reduced salary. He’s a trustworthy backup and a positive veteran to help keep pushing Bono forward.

A minor note was 2018 draftee Drew Shepherd lodging only 16 minutes before going down with a season-ending injury. He had the talent to steady Toronto’s USL side, if not more, so here’s hoping he can bounce back for a strong 2019.

Vancouver Whitecaps

Starter: TBD
Backup: 
Zac MacMath (27) / Maxime Crepeau (24)
In Reserve:
Sean Melvin (24)
Coach: 
Youssef Dahha

Youth Prospects
Trevor Schneider (UTRGV, Canada, Vancouver, 18)

In: Zac MacMath (traded from Colorado)
Maxime Crepeau (traded from Montreal)

Out: Stefan Marinovic (New Zealand, 27, option declined)
Brian Rowe (30, out of contract)
Spencer Richey (26, traded to Cincinnati)

USL Affiliate: Fresno FC
Kyle Reynish

2018 Grade: C-
Projected N3Y Grade:
tba

Bill says: Ahhh they’re outta here. Vancouver cleans house for the second year in a row after missing the playoffs. Marinovic was conceding over two goals a game and Rowe was getting even less playing time than him.

Dec 9: Whoa big day for the Whitecaps. MacMath and Crepeau brought in and the Whitecaps had to spend $150,000, a midfielder (9 games played), and a third-round draft pick for the two goalkeepers. A decent swap. I don’t know if MacMath + Crepeau are going to be able to shore up one of the worst defenses in the league but it’s a start. After being tired of sitting on the bench for so many years, it’ll be interesting to see how MacMath approaches his newfound lifeline. For my money, MacMath is the better goalkeeper but I wouldn’t rule out some growing pains in the first couple games, which could leave the door open for Crepeau to steal the starting spot.

Dec 12: The goalkeeper coach from the Ottawa Fury follows Crepeau over, giving some indication that Vancouver is leaning towards, at the very least, splitting time between the two.

Four American Goalkeepers We Could See Back in the States

Brendan Moore

The UNC alum has had an up and down tenure overseas. After a successful time with Torquay United, earning 58 starts in just over a year’s time, Moore would proceed to earn then lose the starting spot twice with third division Rochdale, most recently stringing three shutouts before a gaffe in the FA Cup saw him return to the bench.

Moore is more than talented enough for the USL but considering his struggle to gain consistent playing time, it may be a good restart for his career. If he can get a team to promise more consistent playing time (Moore has only 15 starts in 18 months of play with Rochdale) and find an agreeable salary between the two, they should see a reward in their investment.


Lindsey Harris

Another UNC alum is making waves overseas as she comes to a bit of a crossroads in her career. She’s been successful at the two European clubs coming out of college. First with the Icelandic side FH, where she dropped the club’s goals allowed by over 35%, then with her current Norwegian club Klepp, which currently sit in Champions League position.

There aren’t many starting spots available in the NWSL to begin with, and even less when considering how many have already sorted out their starter for 2019. If Harris can get a decent offer with promising of playing time, she may end up stateside next spring. If not, expect to see Harris in the UEFA Champions League next season.


Eric Klenofsky

klenofsky-eric-israel.jpg

It’s hard to praise any goalkeeper who is starting for a team who has 6 points through 14 games, but considering Hapoel Marmorek has only scored 6 times and is already on their third coach for the season, it’s a pretty impressive feat. Klenofsky is moving the ball well and looking agile in goal after finally returning to the field after being sidelined with injuries.

There are a number of different paths Klenofsky can take but if he can put together a complete season, he might have a tough decision on in front of him: move up with another club (whether in Israel or elsewhere) or return stateside if an American team has been paying attention.

Emily Dolan

From Italy to Poland to now Spain, Emily Dolan is the prime example of how a goalkeeper can be rewarded after playing well in goal. Currently Dolan sits second string for 6th place Real Betis and most recently earned her first start with her new club, in a 1-0 loss to Logroño.

Dolan has plenty of potential suitors overseas but by the end of the season, there won’t be many goalkeepers around her age with the playing experience she has amounted. For NWSL teams who are so keen on having experienced goalkeepers in net, Dolan could be an outside pick for a side looking to bring in some fresh blood.

2018 NCAA Women's Goalkeeper Rankings

Available video attached to each goalkeeper. If known highlights of a goalkeeper are not linked, please head over to the contact page to submit them.

Seniors

1. Lainey Burdett (Arizona)
2. Ella Dederick (Washington State)
3. Alison Jahansouz (Stanford)
4. Vera Varis (UCF, Finland)
5. Cosette Morche (Texas A&M)
6. Arielle Schechtman (Georgetown)
7. Kaelyn Johns (Dayton)
8. Paige Simoneau (San Jose State)
9. Rachel Lusby (Portland)
10. Sarah Le Beau (Auburn)

Bill says: The senior class takes a massive blow with Ella Dederick tearing her ACL back in September, which likely makes her draft status drop considerably. However if Dederick can make a full recovery, don’t be surprised to see her name pop up again next year as she’s displayed the ability to play at the next level. Jahansouz and Burdett look to headline the draft class, earning second and third team All-Pac-12 honors, respectively. Schechtman was named Goalkeeper of the Year in the Big East and after an undefeated regular season run with Georgetown, she could very well hear her name called next January. Going back to the start of the season, the stars aligned to see Lusby and Simoneau fight to a 0-0 double shutout at the tail end of August.

Juniors

1. Mikayla Krzeczowski (South Carolina)
2. Jalen Tompkins (Colorado)
3. Jaelyn Cunningham (Illinois)
4. Rylee Foster (West Virginia, Canada)
5. Sandy MacIver (Clemson, England)
6. Mandy McGlynn (Virginia Tech)
7. Haley Smith (Illinois State, Canada)
8. Amanda Fitzgerald (Fairleigh Dickinson)
9. Megan Bonelli (Marshall)
10. Teagan Micah (UCLA, Australia)

Bill says: If you’re compiling a shortlist of top goalkeepers in college soccer, you have to consider Krzeczowski. The 1st-team All-SEC goalkeeper has kept offenses at bay, allowing just 10 goals in 19 games. MacIver missed the start of Clemson’s season as she was a little busy finishing third in the U20 World Cup, saving a penalty or two along the way. Mandy McGlynn served as the backup for the American U20 side this past World Cup but perhaps more notably, led her college side to their first NCAA Tournament win since 2015. Unfortunately Foster and Smith weren’t able to suit up for Canada this summer as they failed to qualify for the tournament, but the two combined for 44 starts and 31 goals allowed, giving confidence to Canada’s future goalkeeping core.

Recently the NWSL has announced that underclassmen can be drafted. However with how tough it has been for goalkeepers to crack into the league in the past, it seems unlikely a goalkeeper will leave early.

Sophomores

1. Kaylie Collins (USC)
2. Brooke Heinsohn (Duke)
3. Emily Alvarado (TCU, Mexico)
4. Hillary Beall (Michigan)
5. Jennifer Wandt (Baylor)
6. Laurel Ivory (Virginia)
7. Lysianne Proulx (Syracuse, Canada)
8. McKinley Crone (Oklahoma)
9. Sydney Schneider (UNC Wilmington, Jamaica)
10. Sofia Manner (Stony Brook, Finland)

Bill says: Collins locks down the top spot with All-Pac-12 honors by having performances all season as she did against LSU this past weekend. Beall rebounded well from sustaining an injury that removed her from the U20 World Cup to starting the final ten matches for Michigan, allowing just 11 goals over that period. While it was a 2-0 loss, Alvarado showcased her abilities through her eight saves against Texas A&M, giving fans and opposing strikers just an idea of how much of the goal she can cover. Schneider was a crucial piece in helping Jamaica qualify for their first World Cup ever, keeping a shutout in an upset victory over Costa Rica.

Freshmen

1. Claudia Dickey (North Carolina)
2. Hensley Hancuff (Villanova)
3. Brooke Bollinger (Florida State)
4. Mackenzie Wood (Northwestern)
5. Lauren Brzykcy (UCLA)
6. Meagan McClelland (Rutgers)
7. Lydia Kessel (Vermont)
8. Samantha Estrada (SMU)
9. Zoe Clevely (Pepperdine)
10. Sydney Martinez (South Florida)

Bill says: Dickey split time with senior goalkeeper Samantha Leshnak but should be in position to take the starting spot for 2019. 6’3” Wildcat goalkeeper Hensley Hancuff looks to build off her freshman year that saw notch six wins in ten appearances. Northwestern’s season ended on a 1-0 loss to NC State but could have been a much larger scoreline had it not been for a number of Wood’s goal-denying saves. Martinez jumped into the starting role with USF without much of a hiccup, going 14-4 through the regular season, reaching the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Past Collegiate Goalkeeper Rankings

2015: Preseason and Final
2016: Preseason and Final
2017: Preseason and Final
2018: Preseason

cover photo from the University of Arizona

2018 NCAA Men's Goalkeeper Rankings

Available video attached to each goalkeeper. If known highlights of a goalkeeper are not linked, please head over to the contact page to submit them.

Seniors

1. Todd Morton (Delaware)
2. Rashid Nuhu (Fordham, Ghana)
3. Bobby Edwards (Mount St. Mary's)
4. Briley Guarneri (Colorado Mesa, D2)
5. Jimmy Hague (Michigan State)
6. Hendrik Hilpert (Syracuse, Germany)
7. Dylan Castanheira (Columbia)
8. Luis Barraza (Marquette)
9. Henry Stutz (Holy Cross)
10. Sawyer Jackman (UIC)

Bill says: We were all spoiled last year after we saw four goalkeepers selected in the first 21 picks of the 2018 MLS Draft so don’t expect a repeat as this class’ talent hails a little farther off the radar. While Morton and Edwards’ respective schools struggled to put together consistent performances, they have the size and mechanics MLS scouts are looking for. Nuhu should impress others with his feet, possessing the best distribution skills in the class. Barraza holds the possibility of a Real Salt Lake homegrown contract but spent the summer with in Chicago a few months ago. Guarneri notched 54 wins and 37 shutouts in his four-year career with Colorado Mesa, relying heavily on his Tim Melia-esque ability to track down a ball no matter the situation.

Juniors

1. Dayne St. Clair (Maryland, Canada) **
2. Jimmy Slayton (Hartford)
3. Parker Siegfried (Ohio State)
4. Jacob Harris (Colgate)
5. Wallis Lapsley (UC Davis)
6. Drake Callender (California)
7. Carlos Caro (Howard)
8. Sawyer Gaffney (Davidson)
9. Andreu Cases Mundet (Wake Forest, Spain)
10. Mertcan Akar (Old Dominion, Germany)

** - graduating early

Bill says: Most of the junior goalkeepers return from the preseason rankings although there are some newcomers. It looks like Canada’s top young goalkeeper won’t be returning next fall and with the CPL gearing up for their inaugural season, we could see him playing sooner than later. St. Clair (Red Bulls U23s) and Slayton (Ocean City) continued their success after spending the summer with prestigious PDL sides. While Siegfried holds a possible homegrown option with the Crew, the MLS side still doesn’t have a proper USL affiliate, which could complicate things down the line.

Sophomores

1. Chase Vosvick (Loyola Maryland)
2. Ben Hale (Furman)
3. Will Pulisic (Duke)
4. Trey Muse (Indiana)
5. Matt Freese (Harvard)
6. Carson Williams (Villanova)
7. Will Palmquist (Denver)
8. Colin Shutler (Virginia)
9. Noah Lawrence (Cincinnati)
10. Miha Miskovic (Northwestern, Serbia)

Bill says: Out of the four classes, the sophomores stand out with the most depth. Vosvick is in the running for top goalkeeper in all of college soccer. FC Dallas product Ben Hale has quietly done very well at Furman, maintaining a sub 1.0 goals allowed stat line through his first two years starting for the Paladins. Thomas has transitioned well from Watford’s academy system into three-time national champions’ set up. Despite splitting time with senior Nick Gardner, Will Palmquist won first-team honors within the Summit League.

Freshmen

1. Justin Garces (UCLA)
2. Andrew Thomas (Stanford, England)
3. George Tasouris (Grand Canyon, Cyprus)
4. Giannis Nikopolidis (Georgetown, Greece)
5. Adrian Fernandez (Oregon State, Spain)
6. George Marks (Clemson)
7. Christian Miesch (Stony Brook, Switzerland)
8. Quantrell Jones (UMBC)
9. Sam Ilin (LIU Brooklyn)
10. Ryan Curtis (Sacramento State)

Bill says: For those worried about international talent squeezing out the American player, don’t look at the freshmen class. Universities across the country have done an excellent job at identifying talented, young goalkeepers from all over Europe while the 1999’s and 2000’s were a little thin for the US. Garces, Jones, and Marks carry USYNT-filled resumes but all experienced their ups and down throughout the freshman season. Stanford (Matt Frank), Wake Forest (Dominic Peters), Ohio State (David Abonce), and UCLA (Cameron Douglas) possess talented freshmen who sat the bench but could resurface down the line, although with full rosters it may be a while until we hear from the MLS academy products again.

Past Collegiate Goalkeeper Rankings
2014: Final
2015: Preseason and Final
2016: Preseason and Final
2017: Preseason and Final
2018: Preseason

cover photo from bluehens.com