Photo by Michael Burns/ISIphotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
Another MLS season, another strong year for Nick Rimando.
Rimando helped guide Real Salt Lake to a strong campaign in 2013, one that many observers thought would be a rebuilding year for the club. Rimando’s timely blocks, veteran leadership, and distribution out of the back all played a big part in Real Salt Lake’s impressive season and it is why the U.S. Men’s National Team member was voted SBI’s MLS Goalkeeper of the Year.
In his 27 games this season, the sturdy Rimando posted nine shutouts and made 82 saves. His propensity for game-saving blocks, however, was immeasurable, as was his ability to lead a side that lost centerback Jamison Olave and other key figures during the offseason.
Rimando beat out a field of goalkeepers for the award that included several standouts. Here is a rundown of the runners-up:
Seemingly from the first week of the campaign, the Portland Timbers goalkeeper demonstrated a knack for jaw-dropping blocks. Another key component of Ricketts’ season was his veteran leadership, which helped guide a Timbers defense that was still coming together under first-year head coach Caleb Porter. The Jamaican international enjoyed a fine year in between the pipes and had the lowest goals against average of any starter in the league, things that should not soon be forgotten.
After a shaky start to the year in which he committed several costly blunders, Robles redeemed himself with a strong performance in the second half of the campaign that was as good as anyone’s. Robles repeatedly made key stops in eye-opening fashion and prevented the New York Red Bulls from dropping several points. If he had enjoyed this type of showing in the opening half of the year, Robles could have very well won this award.
As integral to the Colorado Rapids’ success as anyone, Clint Irwin shone in goal for a club that reached the postseason despite a slew of injuries that plagued it throughout the year. Irwin looked nothing like a player in his first season in MLS and more like a grizzled veteran, making timely interventions and demonstrating the kind of quality that should make the 24-year-old goalkeeper the Rapids’ No. 1 for much of the next decade.
What do you think of SBI’s selection? Agree that Rimando was the top goalkeeper in the league this season? Was Ricketts more deserving?
Share your thoughts below.