I’m going to give you three sets of goalkeeper numbers, and I’d like for you to guess to whom they belong.
Guess the Goalkeeper
Put down your pens and pencils. Time’s up.
Player A is MLS All-Star team goalkeeper Tim Howard, whose Goals Against Average is 24th out of the 35 goalkeepers with over 90 minutes played this season. Howard’s numbers across the board are between pedestrian and awful, suggesting that (gasp!) the All-Star Game is little more than a popularity contest and has zero basis in who the better player is.
Player B is the Philadelphia Union’s Andre Blake, whose stellar form propelled Jamaica into the Gold Cup Final before a Kellyn Acosta kick split his hand, sidelining him during the Final and for an indeterminate amount of games for the Union. Before the injury, Blake looked like he belonged in the conversation for MLS Goalkeeper of the Year - the award he won last season. His numbers are solid where it counts - a seventh-best Goals Against Average just over 1.00 and a save percentage approaching 70%.
Player C is the player with the best numbers, albeit over a smaller sample size, is John McCarthy - the man who will replace Andre Blake during his spell on the injured reserve. In his four games, McCarthy’s GAA puts him just behind Clint Irwin, Tim Melia, Matt Lampson, and Jesse Gonzalez. His save percentage is fifth best in the league.
Since Blake has been out with the Gold Cup, McCarthy has stepped in and didn’t miss a beat. The Union won one, drew one, and lost two in that stretch - although watching those games it was clear McCarthy wasn’t responsible for either loss. A fluky redirection from Josh Yaro was enough to beat McCarthy in the loss to Columbus Crew SC, and the second goal scored by the Montreal Impact was due to a defensive breakdown that allowed Blerim Dzemaili to walk in unimpeded and fire one past a helpless McCarthy.
I’m not saying McCarthy is better than Andre Blake or even Tim Howard (although with the season Howard is having that may be true). The Union do however have a very competent goalkeeper in John McCarthy, and the club should be in good hands until Blake’s eventual return.