[MLS] The annual Soccer America position-by-position postseason rankings include evaluation of playoff performances as well as those of the regular season. We start our series with goalkeepers ...
Soccer America's Top 10 MLS keepers for 2010:
1. KEVIN HARTMAN (FC DALLAS)
2. Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
3. Donovan Ricketts (Los Angeles)
4. Jon Busch (San Jose)
5. Matt Pickens (Colorado)
6. Bouna Coundoul (New York)
7. Will Hesmer (Columbus)
8. Kasey Keller (Seattle)
9. Jimmy Nielsen (Kansas City)
10. Stefan Frei (Toronto FC)
(Keepers who didn’t play in at least one-half of their team’s games are excluded.)
Left in limbo last winter when Kansas City declined his option and didn’t set any speed records trying to unload him in a trade, Kevin Hartman sweated out a few months before landing in Dallas, and after more than a dozen dazzling performances, sat out a month with an MCL sprain inflicted by a wild, celebratory kick from Thierry Henry. Sharp and tough in the playoffs, he held off the Galaxy until FCD’s attack got rolling in a 3-0 victory that landed it a spot in the final.
The stats were impressive – a 0.62 goals-allowed average and 11 shutouts in 20 regular season games – but truly remarkable were the dozens of spectacular, highlight-reel saves that propelled FCD into its first MLS Cup.
Nick Rimando posted 14 shutouts and an incredible 0.67 goals-allowed average as RSL set a league record of just 20 goals conceded.
Donovan Ricketts led the league with 18 wins and was named MLS Goalkeeper of the Year. Jon Buschstepped in superbly when a broken ankle sidelined Joe Cannon, stoned the Red Bulls numerous times in San Jose’s upset playoff victory, and repelled the Rapids numerous times in a 1-0 conference final defeat.
Matt Pickens had bailed out the Rapids numerous times this season before his critical overtime save of a potential George John equalizer in the final thwarted FCD.
Bouna Coundoulcommitted fewer gaffes than he did last year and finished second in MLS with 105 saves. Will Hesmer missed only five minutes and Kasey Keller just 45 as both posted 11 shutouts and 14 wins.
Jimmy Nielsen’s first season in MLS included four nominations for Save of the Week. TFC’s porous back line required Stefan Frei to make a league-high 108 saves.