The goalkeeping disaster
July 4, 2011
Bouna Coundoul, Greg Sutton. Greg Sutton, Bouna Coundoul. Sigh.
In one corner, we have a goalkeeper who appears at the top of MLS all-time statistical charts. A goalkeeper who is capable of making a miraculous save. A goalkeeper who set the team record for shutouts last year... A goalkeeper who makes at least one major mistake per game... And one who doesn't know how to kick a ball.
In the other corner, we have a goalkeeper whose gigantic size should make him a massive presence in the box. A goalkeeper who has excelled in stopping penalty kicks... A goalkeeper whose last league game was a terrible performance for the all-time annals.
Bouna Coundoul, Greg Sutton. Do we have to pick one?
Apparently, Erik Soler doesn't want to either. In an interview with ESPN.com, the Metro GM made it clear that he is shopping for a free agent goalkeeper. And it can't come a moment too soon.
What happened? For years, the goalkeeping position has been a tower of strength for this franchise. From Tony Meola to Mike Ammann to Tim Howard to Jonny Walker, early Metro years are filled with goalkeeping greats. But ever since the 2005 season that featured a not-ready-for-primetime Zach Wells and the return of over-the-hill Meola, the last line of defense has become a carousel of also-rans and never-beens.
Wells and Meola. Meola and Jon Conway. Ronald Waterreus, great for a moment, terrible after, and Conway again. Conway and Danny Cepero. Cepero, Conway, and Coundoul. Then, last year, a season where Coundoul seemed to minimize the mistakes so that they didn't hurt the team that much... Until the collapse in the playoffs (not all his fault, obviously) and an offseason that saw him benched for Sutton, who was less than two years removed of being deemed not good enough by Toronto, one of the worst teams in league history.
And it is clear that Soler and Hans Backe were never happy with the goalkeeping situation. There have been European rumors ever since the current regime took over, but nothing ever came to fruition. But now, with Metro goalkeepers giving points away week after week, something has to give.
Before Coundoul and Sutton certainly give enough to the opposition.