As we near the end of the regular season for the MLS, I decided to give my opinions on some of the end of the season awards starting with Goalkeeper of the Year. Obviously there are still a few weeks left in the season, so I am going off of what has happened so far. It's been quite the season, especially for those who play between the pipes. Let's see who did the best with the world on their shoulders.
Jaime Penedo: LA Galaxy
The Galaxy almost always put out a stellar team, so one may think that the goalkeeping job in the City of Angels would be a little easier compared to most other teams. When it all comes down to it though, the Panamanian born keep still has to have a lot of pressure on him playing for a team that could very well be referred to as an MLS Dynasty.
Penedo has proven to be an exceptional athlete and I can recall numerous times that I watched him bail out his defense, including a couple in person. He's only let in 27 goals over 26 starts and made 77 saves. Now don't get me wrong, I know that 77 saves does point toward having a pretty solid back line in front of you, but at the end of the day, I have a lot of faith in this keeper's abilities.
Bill Hamid: D.C. United
Besides the Portland Timbers last season, it's hard to remember a bigger zero to hero story than D.C. United has been this season and Bill Hamid deserves a large slice of the credit for that.
The 24 year old American (who in my opinion will start for the USMNT in the not so distant future) has repeatedly bailed his team out this season and been one of the key components in taking the team from last place in the MLS last season to having a shot at first place this season. Hamid has allowed 31 goals in 27 starts and made an astounding 102 saves, many of which were highlight reel caliber. At only 24 years old, it's incredible to think of how good he will be as he gets older.
Steve Clark: Columbus Crew
When you are naming off some of the best goalkeepers in the MLS, it's not that often that you'd hear the name "Steve Clark" come up during the conversation. However, after Clark's 2014 season with the Columbus Crew, it very well should.
The 28 year old Wisconsin native has made a handful of standout saves including several that were nominated for "Goal of the Week" honors. Just to top it off, he's also batting .500 when it comes to penalty kicks, saving two of the four he's faced this year. He's let in 38 goals over 31 starts and made a whopping 98 saves. Although the Crew haven't exactly been dominant, Clark's heroics currently have them gunning for a final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Something tells me, the name "Steve Clark" will be coming up in conversation a lot more in the future.
So who is my pick for Goalkeeper of the Year out of these three? Honestly all of them are deserving of the title for one reason or the other, but when it all comes down to it, I have to give it to the guy who has done the most with the least surrounding him and that is definitely Steve Clark. Not only is he solid, he's also flat out fun to watch.....unless your team is playing him.