2018 MLS Goalkeeper Roundup

The past couple years I've done a rundown of all the offseason transitions, rumors, and wild speculations for goalkeepers in MLS, NASL, USL, and the NWSL. This year I'm dropping the NASL, USL, and NWSL coverage for a couple reasons. First, there is no rumor mill to go off of, which of course everyone knows that MLS is great at stirring up endless rumors. Secondly NASL, USL, and NWSL rostelors are typically played out. You know who the starter will be and which goalkeeper will ride the bench the whole season. There's not much speculation to do for the majority of teams. So this year we're just diving into MLS rosters.

To start off, I've given grades to every MLS team on their goalkeeping development. The grade includes the game performance but also off-field issues like salaries, depth, and general management of the goalkeepers. If a team has found success on the field but have problems away from the pitch, the grade will reflect according. Scroll down to each team to see a review of the previous season, plus speculation on where the team is going.

Like in the past, this page will update over the next couple months as rosters change.

 

2017 Goalkeeper Grades

Sporting Kansas City A+
Atlanta United FC A
Columbus Crew SC A-

Portland Timbers B+
Houston Dynamo B
Toronto FC B
Orlando City SC B-
Seattle Sounders FC B-

FC Dallas C+
Philadelphia Union C+
Vancouver Whitecaps FC C
San Jose Earthquakes C
New York Red Bulls C
New York City FC C-
Chicago Fire C-

Montreal Impact D+
Minnesota United FC D+
Real Salt Lake D
New England Revolution D
LA Galaxy D-

DC United F
Colorado Rapids F

 

Various League Rumors

December 22nd: Alex Horwath rumored to return to MLS. Horwath has been a backup goalkeeper with SK Brann since 2015.

December 28th: Polish goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton "mulling" over MLS offers. Tyton has 14 caps with the Polish national team.

January 17th: Honduran Luis Lopez has accepted a deal from MLS. Lopez has 12 caps with the Honduran national team.

January 18th: A young Jamaican goalkeeper, Jeadine White, misses the Caribbean Combine.

 

Atlanta United

Starter: Brad Guzan (33)
Backup: Alec Kann (27)
In Reserve: Mitch Hildebrandt (29)
Coach: Aron Hyde

In: Mitch Hildebrandt (signed)

Out: Kyle Reynish (33, out of contract)
Alexandros Tabakis (24, traded to SKC)

USL AffiliateAtlanta United II
no goalkeepers on roster

2017 Grade: A

Bill says: Kann's starting tenure didn’t sink the ship by any means, but I do think he missed his opportunity to jump to a starting spot somewhere else. Guzan had a fantastic year and I think he’s definitely a frontrunner for 2018 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year. Tabakis doesn’t have the youth value Atlanta is looking for for the new USL side but they are trying to add three or four goalkeepers by the end of the offseason. They’ll probably pick one up in the draft and could even bring in homegrown U17 USYNT goalkeeper Justin Garces, who graduates high school this spring. Atlanta are probably a little disappointed they let 2017 draft pick Alex Kapp walk.

It's worth nothing that somehow Guzan only comes in at $400k. Rimando was $450k. It’s an unbelievable price for a goalkeeper of Guzan’s qurality. Guzan can play for at least two more years until they find a quality replacement once. Hildebrandt was brought in but Garces is the only real long term answer in Atlanta's house.

December 11th update: Atlanta trade Tabakis to Sporting. They need another two or three goalkeepers for the USL side.

December 12th update: Eric reminds me that Guzan was prorated for half the season and his contract will likely jump for 2018. But even at $800K or one million, it's a great price for a top goalkeeper in the league.

January 19th: The first two rounds come and go and Atlanta are probably disappointed they didn't land a goalkeeper. While there are still quality goalkeepers out there, no one was expecting so many goalkeepers to go in the first round.

 

Chicago Fire

Starter: TBD
Backup: Richard Sanchez (23)
In Reserve: Stefan Cleveland (23)
Coach: Aleksandar Saric

Youth Prospects
Kyle Dal Santo (SIUE, SR)
Sawyer Jackman (Florida Gulf Coast, JR)
Robbie White (Northwestern, JR)
Jacob Rooth (Pittsburgh, SO)
Jamison Yoder (Green Bay, FR)
Damien Las (15)

In: none

Out: Richard Sanchez (23, option declined)
Jorge Rodrigo Bava (Uruguay, 36)

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

2017 Grade: C-

Bill says: If you’re going to move a goalkeeper like Johnson - one that was making a quarter million in salary - you might as well bring in legitimate starters but Chicago spent that money to bring in Bava, who would end up getting replaced by Lampson fairly early into the season. Why even bring Bava in? The only reason the Fire don't get an F is because Lampson actually did a wonderful job of taking the starting spot from Bava and other teams have proved that it can always get worse.

Chicago switched their USL affiliate from St. Louis to Tulsa, which should open up more doors for Cleveland, who only earned two starts in St. Louis. Dal Santo is a little undersized so it’s an outside chance he could sign as a homegrown. Sanchez still has negotiations going. I’d say it’s likely he returns but I’m not sure how confident the Fire feel that Sanchez will turn into an eventual starter. There are upgrades over Lampson, but we’ll see if the Fire go for them or not. On a side note, Damien Las had a moderately successful U17 Nike Friendly showing.

December 11th: To no surprise at all, the $267K goalkeeper is left unprotected for Los Angeles to select in the expansion draft. I'm sure as enticing of an offer it will be, LAFC will look elsewhere. Lampson and Cleveland are also left unprotected, which really makes you have to wonder when you're leaving your entire goalkeeping core available for a team to take for free.

December 14th: Iker Casillas tied to MLS once again. This isn't our first rodeo with Casillas being tied to MLS, which has happened every year since 2015, but there is a little more reason to trust this go-around. Casillas will be out of contract soon and isn't Porto's number one anymore. He's been linked to Miami with David Beckham, but also Newcastle. Casillas seems to be going somewhere and the general consensus is that he'll make around $6,000,000 from the ever trustworthy Twitter poll.

December 23rd: It looks like Casillas to Chicago is becoming more likely as the rumor has resurfaced multiple times in the past couple weeks. Chicago is set to be take the number one spot in money spent on their starting goalkeeper and their backup goalkeepers.

January 1st: David Villa has told Casillas he likes living in MLS.

January 11th: Bava isn't returning, as I predicted last year, "I wouldn’t expect Bava to be with Chicago for more than a year and could very well put Chicago into a similar position in 2018. End of the day, Brava isn’t a huge upgrade if at all from Lampson." The returning Casillas rumors don't seem to give much confidence in the idea that Lampson will be the starter for 2018 but it's not out of the realm of possibility.

January 15th: Sanchez re-signs and is in line to take over the starting position over the next couple years. If the Fire are really bringing in Casillas, they'll likely look to dump either Lampson or Cleveland, but neither have much trade value. They could maybe get a fourth round or $50K in allocation money for Lampson but I doubt teams are looking to shell out that much for him.

January 19th: Chicago trades Lampson to Minnesota for a top first round draft pick. It's probably all they could get for him but they also clear room for Casillas and Sanchez.

 

Colorado Rapids

Starter: Tim Howard (38)
Backup: Zac MacMath (26)
In Reserve: none
Coach: Chris Sharpe

Youth Prospects
Connor Gavigan (Florida Gulf Coast, FR)
Kainoa Likewise (18)

In: none

Out: John Berner (26, option declined)

USL AffiliateCharlotte Independence
Starter TBD

2017 Grade: F

Bill says: MacMath has 37 starts with the Rapids over two years, and most of them were because Howard was with the national team or injured. The Rapids continue to start (and spend on) a $2.4 million dollar average goalkeeper. Howard is 15 months away from turning 40. At some point they’ll transition the two goalkeepers? But they haven’t show any signs of it yet. Meanwhile MacMath sits on the sideline.

For those who remember Andrew Epstein (would have just finished his senior year at Stanford) retired early from soccer and went to Africa with the Peace Corps.

December 23rd: It's been a quiet winter for Colorado's goalkeeping department. Berner signed with USL side, Phoenix Rising.

January 4th: Cody Mizell is leaving Charlotte for Tampa Bay so the starting spot is theoretically open to a young goalkeeper from Colorado. MacMath isn't looking for USL time but this does up the odds that Colorado select a young goalkeeper in the draft, with more playing time available now.

 

Columbus Crew

Starter: Zack Steffen (22)
Backup: Jon Kempin (24)
In Reserve: Logan Ketterer (24)
Drafted: Ben Lundgaard (22)
Coach: Pat Onstad

Youth Prospects
Parker Siegfried (Ohio State, SO)
Carter Richardson (Columbia, SO)
Robbie McKelvey (Duquesne, SO)

In: Jon Kempin (traded from LA Galaxy)

Out: Brad Stuver (26, traded)
Logan Ketterer (24, option declined)

USL AffiliatePittsburgh Riverhounds
Trey Mitchell (26)

2017 Grade: A-

Bill says: Crew fans are absolutely swooning over Steffen, and for good reason. While I’m not really a huge fan of USYNT players being immediately rewarded with a starting spot in MLS after struggling overseas, he had a solid regular season and a wonderful postseason. It’s hard to project what’ll happen with Steffen as most youngsters with his talent are sold to Europe, which he specifically opted out of. Perhaps he stays in Columbus (or Austin) for the next ten years?

Steffen played every minute of 2017 so backups aren’t a huge priority for the Crew. Ketterer seems more likely to return to Columbus than Stuver (cheaper, younger) but neither goalkeeper really has than many starts under his belt. It’s hard to develop two goalkeepers so Columbus may end up selecting a veteran goalkeeper in the re-entry draft.

December 13th: Kempin comes in at the cost of a fourth round draft pick, which is probably good for both teams. Columbus gets a steady backup and LAG wasn't going to get much else for a goalkeeper that probably wasn't returning. Also, after deleting a tweet that spelled his name "Stuber", Kristian Dyer reports that Stuver is drawing interest from a number of teams around the league.

December 14th: Stuver is not returning. Columbus receive a fourth round pick for him. I think this still leaves the door open for Ketterer to return.

January 11th: Ketterer re-signs. Kind words from Berhalter, “Logan is a guy who does everything a coach asks him to do and he made a lot of progress in his first year in MLS." Columbus is set for 2018, with the youngest goalkeeping core in MLS.

January 19th: Columbus pick up Ben Lundgaard (Virginia Tech) in the first round, as four goalkeepers were selected in nine picks. If Columbus signs him, they'll have four goalkeepers under 25 without a USL affiliate. It's an odd by Columbus as they have to juggle four developing goalkeepers now.

 

D.C. United

Starter: Steve Clark (31)
Backup: David Ousted (32)
In Reserve: Travis Worra (24)
Coach: Zach Thornton

Youth Prospects
Jacob Braham (Stony Brook, SO)
Lance DaSilva (Longwood, SO)
James Knoebel (Liberty, SO)
Noah Lawrence (Cincinnati, FR)
Chase Vosvick (Loyola Maryland, FR)

In: none

Out: Bill Hamid (27, out of contract)
Eric Klenofsky (23, option declined)

USL AffiliateRichmond Kickers
No Starter

2017 Grade: F

Bill says: I still can’t believe Hamid left for zero dollars. Talks on extending his contract started in April of 2017 and somehow it got to the point where Hamid’s contract just ran up. Surely at somewhere over the past couple years someone in DC would have realized that Hamid had a load of value they could have cashed in on. It'd be a little different if Hamid finished on a good year, or if DC was phasing in a younger goalkeeper, but Hamid was really poor last year and DC didn't have another goalkeeper to turn to.

Klenofsky doesn’t re-sign as he waits to get back to 100% health. Worra is the only goalkeeper coming back from last year but the team has yet to show faith that he’ll be a starter down the line. Clark is set to return as the starter but at 31, they need to develop a trustworthy replacement sooner than later, which DC seems inept at doing. While Clark's addition is a positive step, United's goalkeeping situation for 2017 was bad on a variety of levels.

December 11: Clark officially announced but left unprotected for LAFC to select. Surely this can't backfire on DC.

December 23: DC could be bringing in Ousted but that's a lot of money thrown at the goalkeeping position. Clark is around $200K and Ousted will be $300K, if not more. This is an odd move for DC, if true, to be spending $500K on two half-starters.

DC's USL affiliate, the Richmond Kickers, only have Marcel de Bellis on roster. DC haven't had a ton of success in the past in developing a goalkeeper with the Kickers but they have an opportunity in front of them if they want to take it.

January 1st: DC are apparently looking at setting up their own USL affiliate in Loudoun for 2019, at the earliest.

January 8th: David Ousted acquired by DC, which is a really odd move by United. If they don't trust Clark, then they shouldn't have brought him in. If they don't think Ousted is fit to be a starter, then they're overpaying their backup. It's a head scratcher for sure.

 

FC Dallas

Starter: Jesse Gonzalez (22)
Backup: Jimmy Maurer (30)
In Reserve: Carlos Avilez (18)
Coach: Drew Keeshan

Youth Prospects
Matthew Karasinski (Tulsa, JR)
Charlie Furrer (Stanford, SO)
Landon Plunkett (Harvard, SO)
Ben Hale (Furman, FR)
David Abonce (Ohio State, FR)
Carlos Mercado (18)
Jacob Tagert (17)
Zach Schawl (15)

In: Jimmy Maurer (signed)

Out: Chris Seitz (30, out of contract)

USL AffiliateOklahoma City FC Energy
Cody Laurendi (29)

2017 Grade: C+

Bill says: Gonzalez had an okay 2017, but much better than 2016 so that’s a strong plus. I’m still suspect that Gonzalez is a top starter in MLS but at $100K, we can give him another year to figure it out. FC Dallas would likely be better off trying to flip him for more money instead of hoping he turns into a star.

Big D Soccer had a very kind farewell to Seitz, a much respected veteran player. FC Dallas could bring Richard Sanchez in, who is out of contract with Chicago but apparently is in negotiations with the Fire to return. FC Dallas have ran with two goalkeepers in the past but they will probably pick up another goalkeeper just so the bench isn’t too green.

December 14th: The honorable Jeff Rueter reporting that FCD is closing in on the Cosmos' Jimmy Maurer. Maurer was on loan this summer but it sounds like that was more of a trial for the 29 year old. Unfortunately this isn't good news for the Cosmos - or NASL, as he was their top goalkeeper - but it's interesting that Maurer is joining MLS as a backup role. It seems pretty clear that NASL players don't get too many chances to play in MLS so Maurer likely jumped at the rare opportunity, even if it means less playing time. For $60-80K, it's a wonderful move by FC Dallas and puts cold water on the chance of Richard Sanchez returning to Frisco.

December 23rd: Maurer is a great pickup for FC Dallas and Maurer gets some stability moving forward. Seitz heads south to Houston so FC Dallas fans will see him again soon.

December 25th: I'm not sure what happened to Eduardo "Pollo" Cortes, who signed as a homegrown back in September. He's not currently listed on FC Dallas' roster, so I suppose he signed a three month contract or something? Not sure but I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't return to FC Dallas in the end.

 

Houston Dynamo

Starter: TBD
Backup: Chris Seitz (30)
In Reserve: none
Drafted: Michael Nelson (22)
Coach: Paul Rogers

Youth Prospects
Johan Welch (Trinidad and Tobago, North Carolina, JR)
Charles Filby (Virginia Tech, SO)
Andrew Morrison (Washington, FR)

In: Chris Seitz (free agent)

Out: Tyler Deric (29, option declined)
Joe Willis (29, option declined)
Calle Brown (25, option declined)

USL AffiliateRio Grande Valley FC Toros
Matt Sanchez (23)
Nico Corti (22)

2017 Grade: B

Bill says: When your backup goalkeeper is winning you games, you’re either doing really well or doing really poorly, and Houston definitely wasn’t the latter.

All goalkeepers are getting a new contract, whether with Houston or somewhere else. I would expect at least Willis to return, if not also Deric. Willis is the best backup in the league and came in clutch more than once this year. Deric’s off the field issues have derailed his development more than once so it’ll be interesting to see if the Dynamo take him back in. Brown is the most expendable, as he hasn’t shown MLS starting capabilities and the Dynamo are set on backups.

Rio Grande Valley goalkeepers include Borja Angoitia and Marco Carducci, which could conceivably slide up but I'm not sure either are to MLS status yet.

December 11th: Joe Willis was protected so you have to think he's returning next year. Deric was not on the protected list as he is a free agent at the moment.

December 15th: Seitz brought in so at best, only Deric or Willis are returning, not both. It looks like Willis has the inside edge but both are likely to start over Seitz. One of the first free agent goalkeeper signings in league history!

December 23rd: Willis is rumored to want a number one spot and Houston doesn't think he's the fit. Houston could trade his rights as his value has never been higher but I'm not sure where the fit is for him. Perhaps one of the LA teams but it seems unlikely.

December 24th: Chris Seitz already tied up in some drama thanks to an unfortunate typo.

January 9th: 26-year-old Carlos Caceda is linked in a possible loan move to the Dynamo. Caceda has three caps with Peru but has been sitting the bench with Veracruz in Mexico. I'm skeptic on the move, unless they're looking at pushing him to USL. If Houston are truly searching for a number one, I doubt they'll go with an unproven goalkeeper. 

January 19th: No news on the starter-front but Houston quietly bring in three goalkeepers over the weekend. Michael Nelson is drafted in the first round and RGV signs Matt Sanchez, who trained with DC United over the past year, and Nico Corti, who just won a national championship with Stanford. It's an interesting move by Corti, who was draft-eligible but opted to sign with Rio Grande Valley instead. Nelson, Sanchez, and Corti were all present at the Dynamo goalkeeper combine.

 

Los Angeles FC

Starter: TBD
Backup: Tyler Miller (24)
In Reserve: none
Coach: Zak Abdel

Youth Prospects
none

In: Tyler Miller (expansion draft)

Out: none

USL Affiliate: Orange County Blues FC
Charlie Lyon (25)

2017 Grade: F

Bill says: I don’t know what grade to give LAFC but since they haven’t even announced a goalkeeper coach they get an F. LAFC will certainly pick up an available goalkeeper in the expansion draft to be a backup but it’s hard to say any more than that.

December 12th update: Miller taken with their very first pick in the expansion draft so naturally he is going to sit behind a foreign goalkeeper getting paid way too much and then halfway through the season LAFC will realize they spent $200K on the wrong player.

December 16th: Some friendly banter towards Miller about the whole hat thing.

December 23rd: Horwath linked back to MLS and LAFC is one of the remaining teams that this could possibly work.

December 24th: Sure enough, here is Tyler Miller doing the hat thing.

January 7th: Abdel announced as the goalkeeper coach. Abdel played with the Egyptian youth national teams as well as coaching up and down California.

 

Los Angeles Galaxy

Starter: David Bingham (28)
Backup: Brian Sylvestre (25)
In Reserve: Luis Lopez (24, Honduras)
Coach: Oka Nikolov

Youth Prospects
Matt Watkin (San Diego State, SO)
Matthew Reich (Davidson, FR)
Jordan Aldama (17)
Anthony Rodriguez (16)

In: David Bingham (traded)
Brian Sylvestre (signed)

Out: Brian Rowe (29, traded)
Clement Diop (France, 24, option declined)
Jon Kempin (24, traded)

USL AffiliateLos Angeles Galaxy II
Eric Lopez (18)
Justin vom Steeg (20)
Bennett Sneddon (20)

2017 Grade: D-

Bill says: Kempin was one of the few bright spots from LAG’s season last year but it’s hard to see it clearly when a team finishes last place. If he can put the pieces in order, he can be a starter, but that’s also the same thing we said about Rowe for the last five years.

For Rowe’s price, LAG need to move on. Then again, don’t be surprised if the Galaxy find three new goalkeepers entirely. Diop has had his up and downs but there isn’t much point in bringing him back as a number two. Seems like they should know if he’s ready to be number one or if there are better options elsewhere. Eric Lopez has done well with the USL side but jumping from USL to MLS is quite a task.

The Galaxy can go a number of different directions and I’d like to see Kempin brought back in but something tells me that LAG are leaving all three out in the cold.

December 13th: Kempin officially not returning. LAG get a fourth round draft pick, which isn't much but they weren't going to get much else for him. LA Galaxy still searching for a starter for the 2018 season.

December 14th: Diop is selected by Montreal in the re-entry draft so the only returning possible goalkeeper is Rowe. (Theoretically the Galaxy could trade for Diop to return but don't count on it.) It's been six years and fans are still waiting for the Brian Rowe to reach his potential. While we've seen glimmers of it, it's just hasn't been consistent enough. Perhaps Sean Johnson's move to NYC, or Bendik to Orlando, can motivate Rowe to be optimistic about a change of scenery. If it hasn't worked well in six years at one place, what's the think the seventh year will be any better? Meanwhile, Lopez's option gets picked up.

December 15th: Rowe is sent north for a second round draft pick. Again, it's hard to get high trade value when a player is already on the way out so this is a good pickup for LAG.

However the bigger news today is the league blocking Ousted's move to south, which Ousted made it clear he was not happy about. It looks like the Galaxy tried to use TAM on Ousted, who doesn't qualify because his salary isn't high enough. TAM can only be used to bring down players' salaries that are above the maximum budget charge ($480,625 in 2017). Unfortunately Ousted's salary isn't high enough, but this does bring into question about the point of TAM, which is described as "funds strategically provided by the league to teams to add or retain players that will make an immediate impact on the field." Clearly Ousted would make an immediate impact but because Ousted isn't making enough money - despite his talent and LAG having the money to spend - he doesn't qualify for the use.

And just to continue the exciting day, Bingham is tied to the Galaxy, although sounds like LA would be giving up a fair chunk of change.

Lundgaard and Caldwell have some friendly banter about going to the Galaxy.

December 23rd: Things quieted down and Bingham's incoming has stalled. I've heard rumors that he's asking for $400K and considering Europe but make of that as you will. The Galaxy would be better off at letting Bingham walk at this point, especially for any salary north of $200K. Alex Horwath is linked to MLS and the team without any goalkeepers on their roster has got to be in the running, right?

Some light is shed on Ousted's bizarre TAM situation.

January 9th: Montreal and Diop "officially come to terms", or as one LAG fan put it, "Yes, people do 'come to terms' with having Diop on their roster", if anyone was wondering of his legacy in LA. It's not too long ago Galaxy fans were excited about Diop's arrival but it seems like last season has soured everyone's outlook.

January 10th: The Bingham move is penned. Schmid said Bingham is a "reliable" goalkeeper, which I'm not sure that's what you're looking for when you're shelling out $200K in allocation and another $200-300 on salary. The whole move has been such a high risk for LA, I'm not optimistic that fans will think this was worth it in 2-3 years.

January 12th: Brian Sylvestre is now with his fifth professional team and he's only 25 years old. To no surprise, a player who bounces around so much is always praised with "potential" but struggles to find a consistent level of play. A backup roll could give time for Sylvestre to reset and find that much need consistency.

January 17th: Luis Lopez going to the Galaxy as their number three. This is a really underwhelming move and I can't imagine Lopez will be there in 2019. It's a third string goalkeeper so it doesn't really matter but at the same time it's a bizarre signing.

 

 

Minnesota United

Starter: Bobby Shuttleworth (30)
Backup: Matt Lampson (28)
In Reserve: Alex Kapp (23)
Coach: John Pascarella

In: Matt Lampson (traded)

Out: Patrick McLain (29, out of contract)
Alec Ferrell (22, out of contract)

USL affiliate: no USL affiliate

2017 Grade: D+

Bill says: Last year I wrote, “Swedish international John Alvbage was signed. At 34, I don’t expect to see him in 2018” and I was certainly correct there. Once again another example of teams needlessly spending big (almost $250K) on foreign goalkeepers.

Ferrell had a really bright college career but there’s a strong possibility knee injures have prematurely ended his career. Minnesota was close to the lone Pool Keeper this year, Bill Heavner, so keep an eye out for his signing. Minnesota’s last goalkeeper coach, Marius Røvde, has yet to be replaced. Minnesota revitalized Shuttleworth’s career so that’s a small plus in a slew of unfortunate decisions.

December 16th: I don't believe Minnesota have Ferrell's rights anymore (or at least are close to losing them) but this is still great news to hear for the young goalkeeper. 2019 is probably the earliest we'll see him but at least he's on a positive path now.

December 23rd: Highly regarded goalkeeper coach John Pascarella brought in. Minnesota still need a number two, which could possibly be Alex Howarth.

January 13th: U15 goalkeeper Fred Emmings is called into a USYNT camp, the first Minnesota academy player to make a roster.

January 19th: Minnesota quietly pick up a goalkeeper during the draft via a trade with Chicago. Lampson likely hops on as the backup in Minnesota but could compete for the starting spot if Shuttleworth backsteps this year. Minnesota picked up another $175,000 in allocated money for dropping twelve spots in the draft. It's a great move for Minnesota.

 

Montreal Impact

Starter: Evan Bush (31)
Backup: Maxime Crepeau (Canada, 23) / Clement Diop (France, 24)
In Reserve: James Pantemis (Canada, 20) / Jason Beaulieu (Canada, 24)
Coach: Jack Stern

Youth Prospects
Jason Beaulieu (Canada, New Mexico, SR)

In: James Pantemis (homegrown signing)
Clement Diop (re-entry draft)

Out: Eric Kronberg (33, out of contract)

USL Affiliate: Ottawa Fury
Callum Irving (Canada, 24)

2017 Grade: D+

Bill says: I think there’s a real strong possibility that Crepeau won’t be ready to start in 2018 and Montreal will be in an awkward transition year. Crepeau only saw seven starts last year, while Bush continued to get the bulk of them. Bush didn’t have a great 2017 - nearing “bad” territory - but I don’t expect 2018 to be any better. Montreal needs help on defense to make a playoff push, not more uncertainty.

Callum Irving is still with the Ottawa Fury and Montreal has surely been keeping tabs on him.

December 14th: Not a bad pickup for Montreal, as they shore up their bets. If Crepeau isn't ready to go and Bush is struggling, they can turn to Diop. But to no surprise, Crepeau isn't thrilled about the pickup and has asked to be traded. It's another classic case of mismanaging young talent. I would imagine Montreal could receive a second or third round pick for Crepeau but for all the hype and time that went into developing Crepeau, you have to chalk this up as a failure on Montreal's part. Either he wasn't good enough and the front office missed the selling point or he's going to show Montreal why they shouldn't have let him go.

January 9th: Montreal and Diop "officially come to terms", or as one LAG fan put it, "Yes, people do 'come to terms' with having Diop on their roster", if anyone was wondering of his legacy in LA. It's not too long ago Galaxy fans were excited about Diop's arrival but it seems like last season has soured everyone's outlook. They're also bringing in New Mexico alum Jason Beaulieu as a homegrown, which seems to indicate that Crepeau is still on his way out but no official word yet. Pantemis was also called into the U23 camp.

Lastly, retired French international goalkeeper Joël Bats (50 caps) comes in as the new goalkeeper coach, replacing Jack Stern who is now with FC Cincinnati.

 

New England Revolution

Starter: Cody Cropper (24)
Backup: Matt Turner (23)
In Reserve: none
Coach: Remi Roy

Youth Prospects
Matt Mozynski (Campbell, SR)
Austin Aviza (Syracuse, JR)
Eddie Walsh (Xavier, FR)
Trey Miller (Louisville, FR)
Patrick Quinn (17)

In: none

Out: Brad Knighton (32, out of contract)

USL Affiliate: no USL affiliate

2017 Grade: D

Bill says: Perhaps my biggest frustration with New England is that they brought Cropper in - after not catching on in England - they didn't offer him any real competition. Knighton is in the twilight of his career and I don't think Turner is getting a fair shot at the starting gig. Or if Turner isn't good enough, New England should have brought in another keeper to challenge Cropper.

Cropper wasn’t a quality MLS starter in 2017 but and there’s not any reason to expect 2018 to be different. He hasn't show many signs of developing and he's not competing for the starting spot. He Just kind of inherited it. The one plus here is they are spending pennies on Cropper, only $65,000. Mozynski could sign a homegrown contract but with their previous USL affiliate folding, the Rochester Rhinos, he may struggle to see any meaningful playing time.

December 16th: Knighton returns and I don't think more of the same is what the Revs need at this time. Cropper needs some more competition but instead we'll see a replay of 2017.

January 8th: Cropper called into the US Soccer camp.

 

New York City FC

Starter: Sean Johnson (27)
Backup: Brad Stuver (26)
In Reserve: Andre Rawls (28)
Drafted: Jeff Caldwell (21)
Coach: Rob Vartughian

In: Brad Stuver (traded from Columbus)

Out: Eirik Johansen (25, Norway, option declined)

USL AffiliateSan Antonio FC
Diego Restrepo (30)

2017 Grade: C-

Bill says: Despite his collapse against Columbus, Johnson had a better season with NYC than we've seen with Chicago for a while. Is it worth $220k? No, but it's nice to see Johnson step up his game. Eirik Johansen walks as it was becoming increasingly clear that he was not going to get to the starting spot. NYC still don’t have any homegrown goalkeepers in the college game but somehow they seem like the organization that don’t really mind.

December 14: Stuver comes in for the price of a 4th round draft pick. I'm not sure where Stuver places on the depth chart but I would guess he's ahead of Rawls. It's not a young goalkeeping core so I'm going to go out on a limb and say none of the goalkeepers will be with NYC by the time the 2021 season kicks off.

January 19th: In a surprising move, NYC draft Jeff Caldwell out of Virginia. I'm not sure what the plan is with Caldwell as San Antonio isn't looking to move on from Restrepo (just won USL Goalkeeper of the Year) and NYC already have three goalkeepers on roster. While this puts some pressure on Stuver and Rawls in the immediate future, this also puts some long term pressure on Sean Johnson. If Caldwell develops as a top prospect should, Johnson could be out of NYC before he turns 30.

 

New York Red Bulls

Starter: Luis Robles (33)
Backup: Ryan Meara (27)
In Reserve: Evan Louro (21)
Coach: Preston Burpo

Youth Prospects
Ethan Koehler (Georgetown, FR) #
Xavier Kennedy (Ohio State, FR)
Matthew Frank (Stanford, HS.SR)
Steven Ortiz (17)
Sam Ilin (17)
Arturo Magana (15)

In: none

Out: Rafael Diaz (26, option declined)

USL AffiliateNew York Red Bulls II
no goalkeepers on roster

2017 Grade: C

Bill says: What a polarizing organization. Of course everyone loves Robles but what’s Meara’s track? Robles is making $430K so they can’t afford to sit Robles. All the while Meara goes on smurfing in the USL.

Perhaps more concerning, the Red Bulls have put out a number of collegiate goalkeepers but struggle to see a return. Of course there is Louro, who has had a very good 2017, but David Greczek (Rutgers), Gianni Carillo (Sienna), Yusuf Ozen (Memphis), Nicholas Giordano (Loyola Maryland), Tomas Lapinas (George Mason) and Wojciech Gajda (Stony Brook) all have moved to another team, a non-D1 school, or quit soccer altogether. These next few years will be interesting to see how they play out but Louro seems more likely to replace Robles than Meara at this point.

December 11th update: Red Bulls protect both Robles and Meara for the expansion draft. Louro is automatically exempt.

December 12th update: Eric reminds me that Diaz's option was not picked up. He's a fine USL goalkeeper so they're either restructuring his contract or going for a younger goalkeeper. Koehler only played with the academy teams for two years with the U13s and U14s so he may not actually be homegrown eligible.

December 16th: Four goalkeepers shown here and I'm 90% sure that's Stanford's Nico Corti in the middle. Not sure on the rest of them. (edit: It is actually Paul Blanchette, who was playing overseas in Finland for 2017.)

 

Orlando City SC

Starter: Joe Bendik (28)
Backup: Earl Edwards (25)
In Reserve: Adam Grinwis (25)
Coach: Tim Mulqueen

Youth Prospects
Braeden Luna (Kentucky, 21)
Philipp Stone (South Florida, 19)

In: Adam Grinwis (25, signed)

Out: Josh Saunders (36, option declined)
Mason Stajduhar (20)

No USL Affiliate

2017 Grade: B-

Bill says: Bendik had a slow start to 2017 but he’s in a prime spot to finally become a top starter in MLS. It’s a story we've heard a number of times so I’m skeptic for now, but 2017 was his best year so far. Edwards did fine in the USL but he’s not at the point where he’ll be competing for time in MLS. Stajduhar, a promising homegrown and USYNT product, was diagnosed with a form bone cancer and we're all wishing a quick recovery for him.

January 5th: Adam Grinwis signed and I think it's a great signing. For me, he's one of the top USL goalkeepers but has had to fight for time at every club (only 34 starts in three years). Hopefully he'll get some more playing time with Orlando's USL side with Edwards backing up Bendik in MLS.

January 12th: USL conference alignment comes out, finalizing that OCB will be on hiatus for 2018. Grinwis will be third string with the senior squad.

 

Philadelphia Union

Starter: Andre Blake (Jamaica, 27)
Backup: John McCarthy (25)
In Reserve: Jake McGuire (23)
Coach: Tim Hanley

Youth Prospects
Cameron Keys (La Salle, JR)
Justin Bajek (Maryland, SO)
Andrew Verdi (Michigan, SO)
Jahmali Waite (Jamaica, Fairleigh Dickinson, FR)
Matt Freeze (Harvard, FR)
Tomas Romero (17)

In: none

Out: none

USL AffiliateBethlehem Steel
no goalkeepers on roster

2017 Grade: C+

Bill says: 100% the right move is to sell Blake as soon as possible. You can probably get a cool million for his services and his $186K salary is likely to jump another $50-100K when his contract runs up in the next year or two. Philly have a nice core of young goalkeepers and are in a great place to flip them for upgrades or just straight cash. Of course the Philadelphia front office isn’t known for these types of moves so perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself.

December 16th: Romero commits to Georgetown.

January 17th: Still no word on their Bethlehem goalkeepers but in the meantime, Andre Blake signs a multi-year contract. TAM was used in the contract so Blake will be doubling if not tripling his salary of $186K from 2017. It's a lot of money spent for Philadelphia who could have probably spent it elsewhere.

January 20th: Not sure when news broke on this but Tim Hanley replaces Oka Nikolov as the goalkeeper coach. Hanley recently had an interview with Soccer America.

 

Portland Timbers

Starter: Jake Gleeson (New Zealand, 27)
Backup: Jeff Attinella (29)
In Reserve: Kendall McIntosh (23)
Coach: Guillermo "Memo" Valencia

Youth Prospects
Collin Partee (Utah Valley, SR)
Toby Holstein (Gonzaga, SO)
Trevor Wilson (DePaul, SO)
Joe Wheelwright (Utah Valley, FR)
Zachary Morris (Rider, FR)
Zachary Nelson (Xavier, FR)
Miguel Deunas (18)

In: none

Out: none

USL Affiliate: Portland II
Wade Hamilton (23)

2017 Grade: B+

Bill says: The Timbers are stocked on goalkeepers. Gleeson struggled to find some consistency with multiple injuries but Attinella did a wonderful job when called upon. With so many options of capable goalkeepers, it’s hard to see Portland going wrong down the line. On top of that, Gleeson can be a top starter in the league if he gets his feet under him.

December 11th update: Both Gleeson and Attinella available in the expansion draft.

January 8th: A little bit of a coaching shake up with Portland. Adin Brown slides down to be the goalkeeper coach for the USL squad while Guillermo “Memo” Valencia joins newly appointed head coach from the Cosmos.

 

Real Salt Lake

Starter: Nick Rimando (38)
Backup: Connor Sparrow (23)
In Reserve: none
Coach: Daryl Shore

Youth Prospects
Luis Barraza (Marquette, JR)
Gage Rogers (Oregon State, FR)
Jared Osgood (St. Louis, FR)

In: none

Out: Matt Van Oekel (31, option declined)
Eduardo Fernández (25, out of contract)

USL AffiliateReal Monarchs
Andrew Putna (23)
Christian Herrera (20)

2017 Grade: D

Bill says: Rimando is out of contract, which was one of the most expensive contracts a goalkeeper in MLS has ever seen at $470K. It was too much money two years ago so it only makes sense that Rimando would return at still too much money.

Sparrow and Putna could turn into starters down the line but we’re still a few years removed from that. Herrera returns on loan from Timbers 2 after making zero appearances, which can't be a confidence boost for either Herrera or RSL. It’s a poor situation that they've dug themselves into with no clear plan of going forward. Bring Rimando back another year? Try to find a stop gap? Force a young goalkeeper into the starting spot? None of the options traditionally have high yields. Perhaps letting Attinella go wasn’t the best idea.

December 13th: Sounds like Rimando is coming back but I am assuming it will be less than $470K. It's a tough situation for fans as Rimando is one of the most likable players in the league but whose game has fallen to the point where he's simply not worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Instead of running him into the ground, RSL would best be served by moving Rimando to a coaching role and helping bring young talent up. RSL don't have many homegrown options in the collegiate ranks and even with the ones they do have, only OSU's Gage Rogers is on path for MLS. If Rimando can start helping RSL figure out what to do with their youth goalkeepers, then it's well spent money.

January 12th: "Real Salt Lake confident Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando will re-sign". Not a ton of news but there you go.

January 15th: Rimando officially re-signs. Rimando was on $470K last year so I'm curious as to what his salary is now.

 

San Jose Earthquakes

Starter: Andrew Tarbell (25)
Backup: Matt Bersano (24)
In Reserve: JT Marcinkowski (20)
Coach: TBD

Youth Prospects
Evan Finney (Penn State, SR)
Remi Prieur (Saint Mary’s, SO)
Drake Callender (California, SO)
Connor Hountalas (San Diego, SO)
Reece Mladjov (UC Riverside, FR)
Dominic Peters (Wake Forest, FR)
Cameron Douglas (UCLA, HS.SR)
Cameron Braaten (18)

In: JT Marcinkowski (homegrown signing)

Out: David Bingham (28, out of contract)

USL AffiliateReno 1868 FC
Marcinkowski or Bersano likely to go on loan

2017 Grade: C

Bill says: It’s been a long journey with David Bingham and San Jose. Dating back to 2011, where Bingham landed at San Jose after a weighted lottery placed the Generation Adidas signing. He struggled to find playing time behind Jon Busch for three years so San Jose says “Hey, you know what Bingham? You need more than 1-2 games a year. Let’s send you on loan.” They send him on loan to San Antonio, where he didn’t care for much. Then he goes halfway around the globe to Norway, in a league that’s probably the same as MLS all things considered. By the time the 2015 season rolls around, they let Jon Busch walk (who had just set the franchise record for most saves in a year) and Bingham finally arrives to the starting position with maybe 20 professional games under his belt in four years. Over the next couple years, Bingham did well enough to receive some USMNT call-ups but finished 2017 on the bench, behind Tarbell. Bingham’s father made it pretty clear they weren't happy with how the organization treated his son and to be fair, they have a pretty strong case. San Jose didn’t take care of his development early on and they didn’t build a successful team around Bingham (net -21 goal differential over the regular season). A few signs of trouble and they're moving onto the next young prospect. So the cycle starts all over again.

It’s a mess and San Jose didn’t handle Bingham well but they have some positive pieces to move forward. It’s an average C to even it all out for the Earthquakes.

December 15th: San Jose could be receiving almost half a million in allocated money from LAG for David Bingham.

January 20th: Goalkeeping coach Tim Hanley heads to Philadelphia and San Jose has not announced a replacement yet.

 

Seattle Sounders

Starter: Stefan Frei (31)
Backup: Bryan Meredith (28)
In Reserve: none
Coach: Tom Dutra

Youth Prospects
Paul Christensen (Portland, SR)
Ben Willis (Gonzaga, JR)
Saif Kerawala (Washington, SO)
Tor Saunders (Akron, SO)
Paul Lewis (Loyola Marymount, SO)
Trey Muse (Indiana, FR)
Sam Fowler (17)
Noah Thomas (16)

In: none

Out: Tyler Miller (24, selected in expansion draft)

USL Affiliate: Seattle II
no goalkeepers on roster

2017 Grade: B-

Bill says: Well Frei had another strong postseason and that’s something that’s hard to gauge in goalkeepers. He still has another few years and the hope is that Miller will be able to take the reigns by 2020 or so.

December 12th: Didn't think too much about it when I saw Miller's name on the expansion draft list but LAFC took him number one. Meredith isn't the replacement for Frei so Seattle are now on the hunt for their 2020 starter.

December 13th: Meredith officially out of contract. Now my B- seems out of place. Seattle has a number of homegrown options but I don't think any will be ready by 2020. There are some young goalkeepers out there worth getting their hands on but not many at an affordable price. It's a tough situation for the Sounders.

December 14th: Frei said Toronto deserved to win the Cup. I don't know if that's news or not but I found it very interesting.

December 16th: Meredith returns. Seattle haven't given any indication that he's the replacement for Frei and the Sounders still need another three or four goalkeepers to sign.

 

Sporting Kansas City

Starter: Tim Melia (30)
Backup: Andrew Dykstra (31)
In Reserve: Adrian Zendejas (22),
Alex Tambakis (25)
Drafted: Eric Dick (22)
CoachAlec Dufty

Youth Prospects
Ryan Krutz (Notre Dame, SO)
Dakotah Bainter (UNC Asheville, SO)
Freddy Lorenzen (Milwaukee, FR)
Andrew Blalock (Drake, FR)

In: Alex Tambakis (traded from Atlanta)

Out: David Greczek (23, out of contract)

USL Affiliate: Swope Park Rangers
Darrin MacLeod (Canada, 23)

2017 Grade: A+

Bill says: Admittedly I was bummed with Kempin wasn’t brought back to KC but Melia made everyone forget about it. A fantastic season that had a really sour ending with the injury at the end of the regular season. Dykstra did well - maybe well enough to compete for a starting spot elsewhere? - but the Melia magic just wasn’t there anymore. Now the big question is if he can repeat it. The scrambling style isn’t easy to rollover from one season to another but I think his ability to solve unfamiliar situations will win out. Kansas City are set up well with some young goalkeepers down the line.

December 11th update: A very bizarre trade but SKC receives a middling young goalkeeper in an already fairly crowded field. Alex Tambakis joins SKC from Atlanta.

January 19th: Eric Dick was rated by a number of people as the top goalkeeper in the draft so in some sense it's not surprising SKC took him. However, they now have six goalkeepers over the two teams. The move seems to show a collective lack of confidence in Zendejas, MacLeod, and Tambakis.

 

Toronto FC

Starter: Alex Bono (23)
Backup: Clint Irwin (28)
In Reserve: none
Drafted: Drew Shepherd (23)
Coach: Jon Conway

Youth Prospects
Brogan Engbers (Liberty, FR)

In: none

Out: Mark Pais (Canada, 26, out of contract)

USL Affiliate: Toronto FC II
Angelo Cavalluzzo (Canada, 24)
Phil di Bennardo (Canda, 20)

2017 Grade: B

Bill says: In some sense I want to give Toronto an F for how they handled Irwin. They leave him exposed in the expansion draft - a move so obviously dumb that even MLS themselves said it was a bad idea - and Atlanta wisely drafts Toronto’s starting goalkeeper only to trade him back to Toronto for allocation money. It was essentially like Toronto just gave Atlanta money for no reason at all.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Irwin ends up penning a new $200K contract only to see six starts, around $35K per start. Bono, on the other hand, ends up starting the majority of the season which averages out to $3,100 per start. Now the backup is making more than twice the starter's salary.

So in spite of their incredibly poor mismanagement of the goalkeeping situation heading into the 2017 season, finding a long-term starting goalkeeper in MLS is very hard to do and their patience with Bono was rewarded. Bono didn’t have a great 2016 in the USL and while I don’t think he was especially tested this year (i.e see 2017 MLS final), having a young goalkeeper at the helm goes a long ways in this league.

December 11th: Of course Irwin is available in this expansion draft. Only this time, Toronto wouldn't mind unloading $200K from their books.

December 13th: One of the talking heads during the expansion draft suggested that drafting Irwin would be a good idea for LAFC. 

December 14th: Pais not returning as of right now.

January 19th: Western Michigan alum Drew Shepherd drafted in the very last pick of the second round. Out of five goalkeepers, Toronto only have one goalkeeper over 24 so it's an interesting move to stock up on even more young talent. But when you have confidence in Bono and Irwin, it's not completely out of place.

 

Vancouver Whitecaps

Starter: Stefan Marinovic (New Zealand, 26)
Backup: Brian Rowe (29)
In Reserve: none
Coach: Stewart Kerr

Youth Prospects
Thomas Hasal (Whitecaps Academy, 18)
Aidan Aylward (Loyola Chicago, FR)

In: Brian Rowe (traded from LAG)

Out: David Ousted (Denmark, 32, option declined)
Spencer Richey (24, on loan to Cincinnati FC)
Sean Melvin (23, on loan to Fresno)d
Paolo Tornaghi (Italian, 28, out of contract)

USL Affiliate: Fresno FC
Sean Melvin (Canada, 23)

2017 Grade: C

Bill says: Changing goalkeepers is rarely ever clean but I think Vancouver did it as well as they could have. They saw the writing on the wall: Ousted’s game was slipping and it wasn't going to get back. Instead of trying to drain every last ounce out of the Danish goalkeeper, they said “Thank you for your service” and moved on without stirring up much drama. I’m sure it’s a sensitive subject for fans but it’s about as clean of a break as you’re realistically going to get. Franchises are trying to make money and Ousted was costing them a lot, almost $380K.

Marinovic is right under $80K so now the Whitecaps save $300K, and have honestly upgraded their goalkeeping position. Ousted was a class act about it all so I have no problem saying what I said a few years ago again: Ousted should have won the 2015 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year award.

The biggest problem I have with Vancouver right now is that they had to outsource to solve their goalkeeping needs. Their USL side folded and they've sent Richey on loan to Cinciny and Melvin to Fresno FC.

December 15th: Rowe brought in but Marinovic did fine last season. Seems like an odd move but I'm assuming Rowe is understanding he'll be a backup for 2018. Vancouver give up a second round draft pick for a sturdy number two goalkeeper, which is a fine trade.

December 23rd: Vancouver could be getting something from DC United if this trade does go down. After the bizarre TAM episode, anything is possible.

January 9th: 18-year-old Thomas Hasal invited into the Canada U23 camp.