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 rosters 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.

 

Goalkeeper Grades
2017 season / 2018 offseason

Sporting Kansas City A+ / A+
Columbus Crew SC A- / A
New York City FC C- / A-

Minnesota United FC D+ / B+
San Jose Earthquakes C / B
FC Dallas C+ / B
Orlando City SC B- / B-
Houston Dynamo B / B-

 
Toronto FC B / C+
Atlanta United FC A / C+ 
Vancouver Whitecaps FC C / C
New York Red Bulls C / C
New England Revolution D / C
Chicago Fire C- / C
Portland Timbers B+ / C-
Philadelphia Union C+ / C-

Los Angeles FC F / D+
Seattle Sounders FC B- / D+
Real Salt Lake D / D
LA Galaxy D- / D
Montreal Impact D-

Colorado Rapids F / F
DC United F / 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)
Drafted: Paul Christensen (22)
Coach: Aron Hyde

In: Mitch Hildebrandt (signed)

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

USL AffiliateAtlanta United II
Nicolas Caraux (France, 26)

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 quality. 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.

January 21st: United selects Paul Christensen with the first pick of the fourth round.

February 6th: AU2 signs their first goalkeeper, French 26 year old Nicolas Caraux. I wish I could say I knew anything about Caraux but you're out of luck.

February 7th: Justin Garces commits to UCLA. Previous starter Kevin Silva has transferred to Rutgers although USYNT Cameron Douglas still remains on the roster.

 

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)
Kyle Orciuch (Stanford, HS.SR)
Damien Las (HS.SO)

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 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.

February 7th: Goalkeeper Kyle Orciuch will be heading to Stanford this fall.

February 8th: It's been a while since the Casillas rumor has floated back up so there's a decent chance it's dead, which would set Richard Sanchez up as the starter for 2018. He'll be a little green but I don't see him necessarily sinking Chicago's season, although I wouldn't say he'll be a top goalkeeper either.

Sanchez starts over Lampson in a preseason against Philly. Apparently, "The Fire do have some money to play with after shedding Accam’s substantial salary and landing a total of $1.2 million in Targeted and General Allocation Money from the Union for the Ghanaian. Rodriguez said they’ll look to use that on another goalkeeper..."

February 12th: Sam Howard is listed as a trialist. 

 

Colorado Rapids

Starter: Tim Howard (38)
Backup: Zac MacMath (26)
In Reserve: Andrew Dykstra (32)
Drafted: Thomas Olsen (22)
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
Brandon Miller (28)

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 shown 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 selects a young goalkeeper in the draft, with more playing time available now.

January 21st: Olsen drafted in the third round, which I posted some negative responses here. Head coach Fernando Clavijo said Colorado will have a USL team next year.

February 1st: 2015 USL Goalkeeper of the Year Brandon Miller heads to Charlotte. If the Rapids sign Olsen, that'll be his main competition for playing time.

February 2nd: There is another goalkeeper here and I have no clue who it is.

February 8th: Dykstra brought in in exchange for a second-round draft pick. I'm guessing this has something to say about one of the other goalkeepers as Colorado doesn't exactly seem like the type of organization that would carry four goalkeepers. Trading a second rounder for a backup is probably overpaying but if Colorado can flip MacMath for something worthwhile, it should play out. For a good laugh, "Rapids Executive VP and general manager Padraig Smith in a club release, 'Alongside Tim Howard and Zac MacMath, Andrew joins one of the very best goalkeeping units in Major League Soccer.'"

 

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)
Logan Kowalczyk (HS.JR)

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 that 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 receives 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 picks 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 odd by Columbus as they have to juggle four developing goalkeepers now.

January 31st: 17-year-old goalkeeper Logan Kowalczyk trains with the first team.

 

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 hasn'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.

January 23rd: Just Clark, Ousted, and Worra on the training roster.

 

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 has run 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.

January 22nd: Pollo Cortes in training camp.

February 3rd: Jimmy Maurer plays 90 against Chattanooga and gives up a pretty bad goal after misreading a cross.

February 8th: Kyle Zobeck, who played with Maurer on the Cosmos, starts as a trialist in a preseason matchup.

February 10th: Gonzalez with 90 minutes in preseason.

 

Houston Dynamo

Starter: TBD
Backup: Chris Seitz (30) / Joe Willis (29)
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)
Alex Fetterly (New Mexico, HS.SR)

In: Chris Seitz (free agent)

Out: Tyler Deric (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 of them have reached 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 skeptical on the move unless they're looking at pushing him to USL. If Houston is 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.

January 23rd: Patrick McLain called into training camp. McLain was at a goalkeeper clinic in December so it's safe to say Houston is intrigued by McLain. I don't think McLain is being looked at (again) as a potential starter, but as a potential number three.

February 1st: This article makes it sound like the Dynamo were seconds away from signing 23-year-old Croatian Ivica Ivusic, until Olympiacos stepped in. It's safe to say the Dynamo are still looking for another goalkeeper.

February 3rd: Well the RGV goalkeepers didn't look great in the 9-1 loss to the Dynamo but Seitz, Nelson, and McLain all split time for Houston.

February 7th: Joe Willis returns but if Houston really are looking externally for a number one (see February 1st) then I don't get the sense that Willis is their go-to starter. Nelson, Corti, and Sanchez can go to RGV while Houston could theoretically pull in a number one still.

February 12th: Alex Fetterly signs with New Mexico. His peers are currently finishing their freshmen year in college so it's a bit odd he's signing so late.

 

Los Angeles FC

Starter: TBD
Backup: Luis Lopez (24, Honduras)
In Reserve: Tyler Miller (24)
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.

January 22nd: In classic MLS-form, the Galaxy were confused for LAFC. Buba Lopez is coming to LAFC.

February 2nd: 23-year-old Canadian goalkeeper Quillan Roberts pops up as a trialist for LAFC. I don't think Roberts is the starter they're still looking for but won't be a bad project if they were willing to commit to developing the former Toronto FC player.

 

Los Angeles Galaxy

Starter: David Bingham (28)
Backup: Brian Sylvestre (25)
In Reserve: none
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 finds 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 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 the 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 role 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.

January 22nd: In classic MLS form, the Galaxy were confused for LAFC. Buba Lopez going to LAFC.

February 3rd: Vom Steeg plays the final 30 in a scrimmage.

 

 

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 injuries 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 has 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 needs 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 picks 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.

February 6th: Minnesota talking to St. Louis as a possible USL affiliate, which would be a win-win for everyone involved. St. Louis is set to start Tomas Gomez in goal this year but Alex Kapp could still pick up some time, as opposed to sitting on the bench.

 

Montreal Impact

Starter: Evan Bush (31)
Backup: 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)
Maxime Crepeau (Canada, 23, on loan to Ottawa)

USL Affiliate: Ottawa Fury
Maxime Crepeau (Canada, 23)
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.

January 21st: Creapeu on loan to Ottawa. Montreal's long-term plan with Creapeu is still unclear. They're stocked up on goalkeepers and there are a number of teams that could use a young goalkeeper. Why not trade him out for something in return? If they're going to commit to him as a future starter, why not give him more game time in MLS? Unless they find a way to get Crepeau a few MLS games this year, it seems like most likely scenario when Bush's contract runs up is the shoulder shrug emoji.

 

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 shown 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 a USMNT camp.

February 3rd: Brad Knighton plays 90 in a scrimmage.

 

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 doesn’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 has 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.

January 23rd: Only the four goalkeepers in training camp.

January 24th: Stuver linked to a League One club (Barnsley) in England. This report says the rumor is "wide of the mark" which I honestly have no idea what that means. If it's true, it's a great opportunity for a goalkeeper who hasn't had that many chances in MLS.

 

 

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.)

February 6th: Stumbled on a rumor that undrafted UConn senior, Scott Levene, is in camp with RBNY.

February 14th: The Red Bulls acquire a fourth-round pick from Toronto for Caleb Patterson-Sewell because MLS's rules are so goofy.

February 17th: UConn graduate Scott Levene and James Hickok (one year removed from graduating from Dartmouth and playing in the lower leagues in Sweden) spotted on trial with RBNY. Levene is a little undersized (6'1" with a very thin frame) but he'd be a great pickup for the Red Bulls as an actual project that could pay off down the line. Unfortunately I don't know enough about Hickok so it's tough to say what all he took away from playing overseas.

 

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 skeptical 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 (Georgetown, HS.SO)

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 has 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.

February 11th: Georgetown commit Tomas Romero plays 90 for Bethlehem. It sounds like Philly is really investing in the youngster.

 

Portland Timbers

Starter: TBD
Backup: Jeff Attinella (29) / Jake Gleeson (New Zealand, 27)
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 shakeup 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.

January 31st: Attinella starts over Gleeson in their first preseason scrimmage. Attinella might be more of the steady goalkeeping Portland is looking for.

 

Real Salt Lake

Starter: Nick Rimando (38)
Backup: Alex Horwath (30)
In Reserve: Connor Sparrow (23)
Coach: Todd Hoffard

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

In: Alex Horwath (signed)

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 doesn'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.

January 29th: Horwath is reported to sign soon. Unfortunately, it's a couple years too late for Horwath to take over the starting spot for Rimando but I do think RSL has picked up one of the best backups in the league.

February 13th: Apparently Todd Hoffard took over as the Director of Goalkeeping for RSL last summer. He was previously with a community college but has MLS and USYNT coaching experience. Hoffard and Horwath crossed over in New York with the Red Bulls.

 

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.

January 24th: Jyri Nieminen comes in as the goalkeeper coach. I believe Nieminen was actually more of a striker in his playing career.

 

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 is 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 hasn't given any indication that he's the replacement for Frei and the Sounders still need another three or four goalkeepers to sign.

February 5th: Calle Brown pops up in a preseason match.

 

Sporting Kansas City

Starter: Tim Melia (30)
Backup: Adrian Zendejas (22)
In Reserve: Eric Dick (22) / Alex Tambakis (25)
CoachAlec Dufty

Youth Prospects
Ryan Krutz (Notre Dame, SO)
Dakotah Bainter (UNC Asheville, SO)
Freddy Lorenzen (Milwaukee, FR)
Caden McCullough (Drake, FR)
Alec Wons (Marquette, FR)
Alex Brown (Coastal Carolina, HS.SR)
Connor Jordan-Hyde (Virginia Tech, HS.SR)

In: Alex Tambakis (traded from Atlanta)

Out: David Greczek (23, out of contract)
Andrew Dykstra (31, traded)

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 roll over from one season to another but I think his ability to solve unfamiliar situations will win out. Kansas City is 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.

February 8th: SKC drafts one of the best goalkeepers in years and then trades their backup for a second rounder. It's a huge win for SKC and sets up Dick to take over in a few years.

February 10th: SKC celebrates goalkeepers signing with D1 programs.

February 15th: Eric Dick officially signs, being the first drafted goalkeeper to do so. It'll probably be him and Zendejas duking it out for Swope Park this year but I'd keep an eye on who ends up with more playing time, as that is probably an indicator of who their future is really stacked on.

 

Toronto FC

Starter: Alex Bono (23)
Backup: Clint Irwin (28)
In Reserve: Caleb Patterson-Sewell (30)
Drafted: Drew Shepherd (23)
Coach: Jon Conway

Youth Prospects
Brogan Engbers (Liberty, FR)
Rimi Olatunji (Providence, HS.SR)
Gianluca Catalano (Connecticut, HS.SR)

In: Caleb Patterson-Sewell (traded with RBNY)

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 has 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.

February 7th: Gianluca Catalano commits to Connecticut while Rimi Olatunji will be heading to Providence this fall.

February 10th: Juan Pablo is listed as subbing on as a goalkeeper for Swope Park. No clue who that is.

February 14th: Despite last playing for the Jacksonville Armada, Caleb Patterson-Sewell is traded from the Red Bulls for a fourth-round pick. Fourth rounders don't carry a ton of weight in the league but I can't see Patterson-Sewell being with Toronto come 2020, if not 2019.

 

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)
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 gives 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.

2017 American Goalkeeper Destinations

AGD is back for a third year. With the NASL is turmoil, it's hard to say exactly where every team is going to end up, much less their goalkeepers. Follow along with the tracker below to see what your team is looking to do in their goalkeeper department.

Click the team to jump to their section, unless you're on your phone which you will need to click here to use the hyperlinks.

 

What's Going to Happen to NASL Goalkeepers?

With the New York Cosmos announcing that they would cease operations, the NASL is teetering on the edge of closing up shop themselves. The uncertainty leaves the future for NASL goalkeepers to anyone's guess right now. A 2017 NASL season isn't completely out of the picture but teams are reportedly eyeing a switch to USL. While the NASL is a lower division under MLS, there are still a few goalkeepers we should keep an eye on.

 

Jimmy Maurer (29) - New York Cosmos

 Photo belongs to Brad Penne

Photo belongs to Brad Penne

For anyone who has watched Maurer's play, he's clearly the most complete goalkeeper in the league. He may not be the quickest or the strongest, but he's going to limit mistakes in the back and keep his team in games. Compared to the current MLS crop, he could very well not only earn himself a contract in the senior league but perhaps a starting spot. Assuming Maurer doesn't explore options overseas, NASL will have something to boast about if he signs with MLS.

 

Sammy Ndjock (26) - Minnesota United

  Photo belongs to Brian Peterson

Photo belongs to Brian Peterson

Probably the goalkeeper with the most guaranteed spot of landing somewhere next year. MLS's latest expansion team, Minnesota United, could carry him over from the jump but even if they don't, Ndjock's reflexes alone should peak someone's interest. Lots of fans want to believe their team's goalkeeper has quick reactions but Ndjock is in North America's top five quickest paws. Unfortunately Ndjock's biggest Achilles' heel is consistency. One moment he will wow you with an unbelievable save and the next he'll end up on ESPN's Not Top Ten Plays of the Week.  

 

Jon Busch (40) - Indy Eleven

The last American goalkeeper to play into their 40's was Brad Friedel. So needless to say, Busch is in good company. Teams aren't always going to want to give a starting spot to someone late in their career but every team wants a veteran to steward their young goalkeeper. Busch is still wanting to play next year but Indy Eleven's plans are unclear at this moment. With Indy Eleven being one of the more stable teams in NASL, he may just stay put in Indiana.

 

Brian Sylvestre (24) - North Carolina FC

 Photo belongs to Paul Rudderow

Photo belongs to Paul Rudderow

Sylvestre has already spent time in MLS, playing for the Philadelphia Union in 2015 after being released by the Whitecaps back in 2012. So it's not a shock to think Sylvestre will most likely end up back in the league one way or another. NCFC has made their intentions known they'd like to get to MLS down the line. They haven't officially left the NASL but it's a strong possibility they'll slide to USL for a few years with a good chunk of their roster.

 

Trevor Spangenberg (25) - Puerto Rico FC

Probably overlooked by even fans inside the league, Spangenberg finished as Puerto Rico's starting goalkeeper by the end of the season, allowing just fourteen goals in twelve games. Spangenberg is at a great point in his career that if an MLS team needs a starter, he's had the game time to step in without jitters but if a team wants to loan him to USL, they can still get a return from him there as well. As a previous backup for Chivas and the New England Revolution, he could see a return to MLS sooner than later.

 

Matt Van Oekel (30) - FC Edmonton

 Photo belongs to Codie McLachlan

Photo belongs to Codie McLachlan

Van Oekel was awarded NASL's Golden Glove in 2016 with a 0.55 GAA. While that will give him a foot in the door, the question becomes if he'll be content with taking a backup spot somewhere in MLS. There have been some rumors of Canada starting their own league, albeit unlikely for 2017. If Van Oekel is wanting to start somewhere, Scandinavia may be his best shot.

 

Matt Pickens (34) - Tampa Bay Rowdies

 Photo belongs to  Matt May

Photo belongs to Matt May

Beloved in Colorado for his time with the Rapids, Pickens is in a similar boat as Busch. Teams will be looking for that added experience and he will be cheaper than bringing in a foreigner. Tampa Bay may slide to USL so Pickens might not have to pack up but if a team wants to open the starting job up, Pickens could relocate to throw his name in the ring.

Ten MLS Goalkeepers Who Could Get Selected in the Expansion Draft

In December, MLS will host their tenth expansion draft to welcome in Atlanta and Minnesota. In the previous nine drafts, seven of thirteen new teams selected a goalkeeper so there's a decent chance we'll see at least one goalkeeper selected. Atlanta needs two more goalkeepers - they have already signed a twenty-three year old Greek-American goalkeeper, Alexander Tambakis - while Minnesota still need to pen three.

Expansion teams are looking for one of two things when selecting a goalkeeper in an expansion draft. First, if they can get a starter at a reasonable price, they will pick them up. The "reasonable price" varies from team to team, but teams can definitely be pushed away if a player is wanting too much, regardless of how good he is. Expansion teams are allowed to renegotiate contracts with selected players but if they can't agree on a salary, it's a wasted pick. Typically teams do their homework going into the draft to avoid the problem. The second route a team can look when selecting a goalkeeper is picking up a cheap, reliable backup. A backup makes around 60-80k in 2016 and if either team has another starter in mind, it makes sense to grab a goalkeeper to solidify the position if the money lines up.

No team has released names for the expansion draft yet so it's hard to say who will and won't be protected. On top of that, each team will only get five picks each this year, so it's not unlikely that both will pass on goalkeepers entirely. However, there are a number of goalkeepers we could see getting selected in the expansion draft.

1. Sean Johnson

  Mike Dinovo / USA Today Sports

Mike Dinovo / USA Today Sports

The five-timed capped goalkeeper is most likely on his way out of Chicago. Johnson hails from Georgia so it would make sense geographically-speaking for Atlanta to pick up the goalkeeper. However, after another mediocre year at $250,000, neither team is exactly foaming at the mouth to select him. If Johnson agrees to a pay cut, or if one of the teams is willing to spend big, Johnson could see himself relocate for 2017.

 

2. Zac MacMath

 Russell Isabella/USA Today

Russell Isabella/USA Today

It'll come down to the cost but the twenty-five year old has made it clear he wants to play. Most would agree that MacMath has reached the quality to start for an MLS team and at $140,000, he isn't a bad buy. If MacMath isn't selected in the expansion draft, he'll probably leave Colorado soon after either way. There's a place for MacMath to play, it might be with the new expansions or it might be elsewhere.

 

3. Joe Willis

 Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Willis has filled in for Deric wonderfully this season and true to backup goalkeepers' nature in MLS, he has gone completely overlooked by almost everyone. He's a cheaper alternative to Johnson/MacMath and has shown he can start for a team with causing little worry. At $94,500, any team would benefit from having Willis in goal.

 

4. Alec Kann

 Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Kann has been in the league for a while but it wasn't until last year that the mustached custodian finally got his first start. Now he's picked up seven starts for Sporting Kansas City and at $63,000, a team could roll the dice with ease. He'd most likely be a strong number two in the goalkeeper chart, with a chance at pushing for the starting spot like he's done with SKC.

 

5. Travis Worra

Worra continues to defy the odds. Undrafted out of college, he's played for DC now thirteen times. Granted, he's not completely polished, but at $53,000, the expansions teams aren't going to find a better rate for someone who's played as much as Worra has. He'll be a work in the making but could easily pay off. 

 

Five other names to keep an eyes on

6. Cody Cropper - $70,000-90,000 - We don't know what Cropper signed for yet but it's doubtful New England brought him in just to lose him in an expansion draft. He's from Minnesota, so heading there makes sense on paper. Hypothetically a deal could be made between the two teams to benefit both sides, like how Portland covered a lot of Donovan Ricketts' contract when Orlando selected him.

7. Ryan Meara - $75,200 - Meara is most likely not going anywhere but to be fair, there were rumors of RBNY trying to trade him last SuperDraft. Robles still has time with the Red Bulls and Meara may be eyeing a starting spot somewhere else.

8. John McCarthy - $79,000 - McCarthy clearly appreciates being at Philadelphia but Philadelphia are committed to Andre Blake. If McCarthy is looking out, this would be his shot.

9. Brad Stuver - $63,000 - If either team has done their homework, they'll know Stuver is more than a competent backup. He's worked with Canadian goalkeeping legend Pat Onstad in a very tough system at Columbus and should be able to translate to another team with ease.

10. Jeff Attinella - $90,000 - It's not clear how much time Rimando has left but it can't be long. Attinella knows this and will be given a shot at starting for RSL in a year or two at most. If Attinella wants out, Atlanta or Minnesota could use him but it'll be a gamble leaving a mostly-sure situation with RSL.