The MLS Superdraft – Goalkeepers

The 2011 Superdraft is shaping up to be one of the deeper drafts in recent memory and goalkeeper is one area that looks to be particularly deep. Keller is staying for 2011, but baring a Brett Favre-like change of mind, it sounds like he plans to retire at the end of next season. I don’t think many people believe that Boss is the long-term answer for the Sounder’s goalkeeping needs although he’s an adequate back-up for Keller.

Therefore, it makes a lot of sense for the Sounders to use one of the expanded roster slots for 2011 on a young, third string keeper that they can mold into a future starter. Fortunately for the Sounders, they have a few good avenues to bring in a young keeper including their academy system and the Superdraft. The Sounders have the 11th, 21st, 27th, 29th, 47th and 65th (although the 27th pick could magically morph into the 9th pick if Ljungberg decides to sign with Chicago before the draft). Here's the SAH post expansion draft depth chart.

The Sounders have two great, young local keepers in the academy with Ryan Herman and Rodney Greiling. Both have lots of potential, but considering how long it takes goalkeepers to reach their peak, both could benefit from a few years learning in the college system. Also, as Academy players, they can train and play with the Sounders reserves until they go off to college. So, a better option for both the Academy keepers and the Sounders, might be to pick up a young keeper in this year’s Superdraft.

Without any more lead-ins, here are some of the goalkeepers that have been mentioned for Generation Adidas or have been invited to either the MLS or the Sounders Vegas combines. I’ve pulled all the information below from player profiles at their colleges, game reviews and draft lists scattered over the web. Please add more names that you think should be on the list in the comments section.

Possible G.A. Keepers

ZAC MACMATH – MacMath is a complete a goalkeeper as you could expect to draft into the MLS. He is a regular starter for the USMNT under-20 team. He’s focused and consistent between the posts. During his junior season at Maryland he boasted a .64 GAA and a school record 15 shutouts. At 6’2” he has good length for a goalkeeper. MacMath currently looks like a frontrunner for what will probably be just one G.A. contract for a GK. He will probably go early in the 1st round.

DAVID BINGHAM – Bingham is another junior goalkeeper who has had an outstanding year for California recording a .77 GAA. Bingham is a consistent keeper with good positing and shot-stopping ability. He has a good physique for a goalkeeper at 6’2” and 185 pounds. In other years, Bingham would be a lock for a G.A. contract and a high first round selection. If he comes out this year he’ll probably slip to the late first round where the Sounders can scoop him up.

MLS Combine Keepers

JEFF ATTINELLA – Jeff, who played for the University of South Florida, is considered by some to be the top senior keeper in the draft. He’s been described as an intense, hyper-competitive player who comes off his line quickly and decisively. Attinella was the Big East goalkeeper of the year, holds a school record of 28 career shutouts and recorded a .89 GAA in 2010. He has good size at 6’2” and 190 pounds. He was recently on trial with União Desportiva de Leiria of Portugal's Primeira Liga. In this loaded draft it’s unlikely he’ll go in the first round and could easily be picked up by the Sounders with one of their many 2nd round picks.

JOSH FORD – Senior UCONN goalkeeper Josh Ford is a sleeper who could move up the draft boards with a good combine performance. Ford is a very athletic 6’2 and 175 pounds. He has great leaping ability and a penchant to come quickly off his line. Ford is a good shot blocker with a nation-leading .339 GAA for 2010, but needs to work a lot on his distribution. Even with a very good combine performance, I doubt Ford moves up into the first round leaving him open to the Sounders. He was also invited to the Sounders Vegas Combine. He has all the physical gifts you could want for a GK, but looks like a long-term development project.

BRYAN MEREDITH – Bryan Meredith was a solid senior keeper for Monmouth although he tailed off a bit from his stand-out junior season where he logged a .44 GAA. Some of the game commentary indicates he played part of the 2010 with minor injuries which could have affected his play. Despite the injuries, at 6’2” and 175 pounds, he looks like he can handle the physical play of MLS. During the 2010 season he was 8th in the nation where he logged a very solid .63 GAA. He’s secured an invite to the 2011 MLS Combine and the Sounders Vegas Combine.

JIMMY MAURER – I’m starting to think that 6’2” is the default size for college goalkeepers. Jimmy Maurer is another solid 6’2” and 194 pound goalkeeper whom has started every game in his four years playing for the South Carolina Gamecocks. Despite logging an unimpressive 1.109 GAA he managed to land an invite to the 2011 MLS combine over more widely know GK Diego Restrepo. Other than that I can’t find much on his style of play.

JOE WILLIS – Finally a GK who breaks the 6’2” mold. Willis, a senior at the University of Denver, is an impressively tall 6’5” and 189 pounds. It also looks like he has an impressive wingspan to match the impressive height. Willis looks like a late bloomer who has really started to come-out during his senior year where he recorded a solid .716 GAA. Not much else out there on Willis.

Vegas Combine Keepers

DIEGO RESTREPO – Restrepo was a member of both the U-17 and U-20 USMNTs. He started his college career at USF before losing the starting job to Jeff Attinella and then transferring to the University of Virginia after his sophomore season. He’s a solid presence between the posts, has good positioning and can make the big save when the game’s on the line. He’s had a solid year at the University of Virginia recording a solid .744 GAA. He was invited to the Sounders Vegas Combine, but not to the MLS Combine. The decision not to invite him to the MLS Combine is a boon for the Sounders who just got a long look at him this weekend (and David Falk has an interview with him on his site). He has also received an invite to Colombian club America de Cali’s preseason training camp this week.

Prior to the release of the combine list he was considered one of the best senior goalkeepers and a lock for a combine invite. I can only imagine that he didn’t meet the required minimum height of 6’2” (I guess you must be ‘this tall’ to ride the MLS Combine ride). But at 6’0" and 185 pounds it’s hard to call him undersized.

EVAN NEWTON – Newton was a red shirt senior for Old Dominion University this last season where he was able to secure the school’s record for saves and shut-outs. He’s another GK pressed out of the 6’2” and 190 pound college keeper mold. He was in excellent form until a season ending injury in 2008 (he fractured the head of the radius in his left elbow during an exhibition game). It looks like he's fully recovered from his injury although he's never really recaptured the national spotlight.

Pro player pipeline also has a list of GKs and rankings on each here.

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