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MLS First Kick 2011: Seattle Sounders v LA Galaxy - Battle of Keepers

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Kasey Keller was beaten by the LA Galaxy several times in 2010. Does this mean anything for 2011? No.
Kasey Keller was beaten by the LA Galaxy several times in 2010. Does this mean anything for 2011? No.


On opening day of the season at least one MLS Cup contender doesn't yet know who will be their starting keeper. Sigi Schmid and Bruce Arena though have a great advantage in that not only do they know who their keeper is going to be, they also have two of the better ones in the league.

While Donovan Ricketts has frustrated fans at Qwest Field with fake injuries, time wasting and his reluctance to take goal kicks. He still needs to be recognized as that version of a keeper with long limbs and decent positioning. He can be punished low on occasion though.

Kasey Keller may be losing a step or two, thereby not stopping shots at the rate that he once did, but his leadership and ball distribution are still tops in the League. Keller has commanded a back line that was often in flux, particularly coaching his fullbacks as to when to get forward, working like a coach of the defense.

Both have been on their teams for two years, which gives us an interesting snapshot statistically of their performance. There are some who would say that Ricketts is clearly better "just look at his record." They would be foolish, unless you think that Ricketts is responsible for so much more offense than Keller. Others would point out that Keller is so much older and trending down. But, Ricketts is also past-peak, and his peak was so much lower than Kasey's.

Let's look at the stats

Donovan Ricketts

Year
Competition GP GS MIN SO GA SOG SOG/90 SV SV% GAA PG PA W L T Points
2010 Regular Season 29 29 2,610 11 26 104 3.59 79 76% 0.90 1 1 18 7 4 58
2010 Playoffs 3 3 270 1 4 17 5.67 13 77% 1.33 0 0 2 1 0 6
2009 Regular Season 26 26 2,274 9 26 112 4.43 82 73% 1.03 4 5 10 5 10 40
2009 Playoffs 4 4 366 2 3 14 3.44 11 79% 0.74 0 0 2 0 1
7
Totals 62 62 5520 23 59

247

4.03 185 75% 0.96 5 6 32 13 15 111

 

Kasey Keller

Year
Competition GP GS MIN SO GA SOG SOG/90 SV SV% GAA PG PA W L T Points
2010 Regular Season 30 30 2,655 11 34 119 4.03 82 69% 1.15 4 5 14 10 5 47
2010 Playoffs 2 2 180 0 3 9 4.50 6 67% 1.50 0 0 0 2 0 0
2009 Regular Season 29 29 2,549 10 26 108 3.81 78 72% 0.92 1 3 12 5 11 47
2009 Playoffs 2 2 210 1 1 9 3.86 8 89% 0.43 0 0 0 1 1
1
Totals 63 63 5594 22 64

245

3.94 174 71% 1.03 5 8 26 18 17 95

 

We're talking about 5 goals over a two year period. Both teams have allowed the same number of shots on goal per gae during the period as well.

What have we learned? That if this game is won by a keeper it will not be based on either showing an ability to dominate a season, but merely a game.