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ProSoccerTalk’s Award conversations: Major League Soccer Goalkeeper of the Year

Oct 30, 2012, 1:25 PM EDT

Sporting Kansas City v Columbus Crew Getty Images

Three soccer brains are clearly better than one. So Richard Farley, Noah Davis and I huddled virtually to sort out our ProSoccerTalk picks for Major League Soccer awards.

(MORE: Coach of the Year conversation and choice)

(MORE: Rookie of the Year conversation and choice)

(MORE: Defender of the Year conversation and choice)

Steve Davis: Instead of talking about Goalkeeper of the Year, should we all just take a moment to pen a note for Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes. I mean, he’s done the lifting for us right? He pretty much said we’re all dumb as a box of hammers if we don’t make his man Jimmy Nielsen our “slam dunk” choice. So, we should just check the box and move on … right?

Noah Davis: You mean every mom’s fantasy man? Have you seen the Q&A that came out of KC?  That’s courtesy of Zac Rigg.

Richard Farley: It’s as if he and Sigi Schmid have competing PACs.

Schmid’s been beating the Michael Gspurning drum with Thor’s hammer, going out of his way two weeks ago to remind people that his man was still viable in a race everybody’d written off.

I’ll be honest: I’m not thrilled with either option. Nielsen’s got life easy for KC (though has been very good when called upon), and while Gspurning’s very good, there’s little about him that screams “award winner” …

Until you look at his competition. There isn’t much.

Steve Davis: Well, the numbers do lean ‘Gspurning.’ His goals-against average [0.73] was the third best in MLS. Ever! The team WAS 11-3-5 with their big Austrian.

But much as I hate to admit, Vermes is probably right. I suppose he’s been right about a lot of things this year. Probably more than anybody this side of Frank Yallop. And Ben Olsen.

Noah Davis:  Andy Gruenebaum [from Columbus]?

Steve Davis: I do love me some Gruenebaum. Guy was under siege like Justin Bieber at the local mall. But these things never go to dudes that don’t make the playoffs. Wait, Dwayne De Rosario last year … ? Oh, never mind. I’ll go with Nielsen.

Noah Davis: It’s no fun when we all agree. Ryan Meara? Ah, hell, I gotta go with Nielsen as well.

Steve Davis: I kinda like it when we all get along. I feel a big group hug coming on …

Our choice: Sporting Kansas City’s Jimmy Nielsen

  1. tylerbetts - Oct 30, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    Gruenebaum. Sure, he missed out on postseason play, but his season was simply amazing. And, you know what else he missed this year? His team captain and best defender for a significant stretch, his team’s best midfielder for a very significant stretch, a team capable of giving him a goal to work with until the midseason transfer window showed up, and a competent manager.

  2. danielofthedale - Oct 30, 2012 at 9:39 PM

    Gruenebaum faced 166 shots! Nielsen 102 and Gspurning 77 shots faced respectively. Gruenebaum had a 124 saves which is 15 more than second place and Nielsen had just 77 and Gspurining a ridiculously low 59. But lets get to the big one Save %. Gspurining 77% Nielsen and Gruenebaum 75%. So Gruenebaum is tied with Nielsen and just two percentage points behind Gspurining yet was under way more fire. I mean Gruenebaum was under attack almost as much as poor Dan Kennedy who was having a great season before giving into shell shock, Gruenebam did not falter and that shows just how great of a season he had.

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