Ten Best: Metro goalkeepers
November 17, 2011

Selecting the top ten goalkeepers in Metro history seems like an easy task, considering we've only had 12 goalies who played in ten or more matches. Unfortunately, once you get past the terrific top four... well, you'll see below.

  • 10) Zach Wells, 2004-05
    Did you know that Wells received a cap for the US national team? That came after his Metro stint, in 2006. He spent 2004 as Jonny Walker's backup and the first half of 2005 as a starter, before making way for Tony Meola's return. One game stands out; a remarkable 14-save shutout of DC United, one off Meola's league and team records.

  • 9) Paul Grafer, 2000-03
    While his numbers are pedestrian at best, Grafer will forever stand as the first goalie in Metro history to win a playoff series. An emergency signing after Mike Ammann went down with an injury and Tim Howard was at the Olympics, Grafer beat Dallas in 2000. And his pants were long and black.

  • 8) Jon Conway, 2006-09
    Meola started 2006 as the started, but Conway finished it. If only he stopped that shot against DC in the playoffs... Ronald Waterreus was brought in 2007, but Conway started in the end. 2008 and 2009? Let's not talk about 2008 and 2009.

  • 7) Frank Rost, 2011-
    The German backstopped Metro to the Emirates Cup... Oh, right. No one cares. When he wasn't injured from sitting on an airplane, Rost proved to be a capable starter down the stretch, shutting out Dallas in the playoffs. Emirates Cup!

  • 6) Bouna Coundoul, 2009-
    He might be good for a brain fart a game. He might not know how to kick the ball. But as a shot-stopped, Coundoul is among the league's best, making spectacular saves look easy. In 2010, he set the team record for shutouts in a year, with 11 in league play.

  • 5) Danny Cepero, 2007-09
    Who can forget Cepero's debut, when he was forced into the lineup by Conway's suspension? He became the first goalkeeper in league history to score a goal, bouncing a long kick into the Columbus net. Cepero was then spectacular in the 2008 playoffs, shutting out Houston and Salt Lake on the road as Metro made a remarkable run to the final. 2009? Not so much.

  • 4) Mike Ammann, 1999-2000
    Finally... the top four. We start with Ammann, who was heroic among the terror that was 1999. And then, of course, 2000, when he took heroism to the next level. After getting his ribs broken by Mamadouchebag Diallo, Ammann, not full healed, came back for the playoffs to shutout Chicago in a game Metro had to win.

  • 3) Jonny Walker, 2003-05
    When Tim Howard departed midway through the 2003 season, little did we know how good his replacement would be. Walker was spectacular the rest of the way, making tough saves look easy, allowing less than a goal per game in league play and leading Metro to the Open Cup final. Sadly, his form dipped in 2004, and injuried derailed his Metro career soon after.

  • 2) Tony Meola, 1996-98, 2005-06
    The original wall, Meola set the team record for shutouts in 1996 with nine, a number which stood until last year. After an exile in Kansas City, he came back in 2005, and promptly had one of the best goalkeeping games in team history, as Metro needed to win at Chivas USA to make the playoffs. They did just that, as Meola stopped everything in sight. He is first in all-time wins and shutouts.

  • 1) Tim Howard, 1998-2003
    When you look at Howard's numbers, they are not great. But when you realize what defense was playing in front of him and how many shots he faced daily, they become spectacular. First a backup to Meola and then Ammann, he became a started in 2001, and promptly became the first (as of now, only) Metro to be named MLS Goalkeeper of the Year. An equally excellent 2002 followed, as Howard was named to the MLS Best XI for the second year in a row. By then, we knew that Europe would come calling soon... But even now, we hold out hope for Howard's eventual return.
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