Coming off of a year that saw the New York Red Bulls score an Eastern Conference-high 55 goals, many expected the offense to carry the torch this campaign as well. The defense, particularity the goalkeeper, proved to be the true difference-maker in 2015, though.
In 34 appearances, Luis Robles secured nine shutouts while helping the Red Bulls finish with the best regular season record to claim the league’s Supporters’ Shield. With his performances day in, day out for the Red Bulls, Robles is recognized as this year’s SBI MLS Goalkeeper of the Year.
Averaging 1.74 saves per game, Robles helped the Red Bulls concede seven fewer goals this season compared to 2014. Robles also recorded three more clean sheets. His 1.24 goals against average was one of the best in MLS, as he started and played in all 3,060 minutes for the Red Bulls this season.
After a slow start to the season for the team, Robles and the Red Bulls finished the campaign as strong as anyone. In the month of October, the 31-year-old netminder averaged 2.4 saves per game, helping the Red Bulls win four out of five contests en route to winning the league’s regular season title.
Here is a rundown of the other candidates for the SBI MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Award, as chosen by SBI Editorial Staff:
2. DAVID OUSTED
The Vancouver Whitecaps emerged as one of the top teams from the Western Conference this year, and goalkeeper David Ousted played a major role in the club’s ascension. Starting in all 34 of the Whitecaps’ games during the regular season, Ousted posted the best goals against average, 1.06, among his peers with as many minutes. He and the team only conceded 36 goals, tied for the fewest given up this season. Ousted even recorded his first two penalty kick saves in MLS, stopping both in one game against the Red Bulls — a feat only two other goalkeepers in MLS history have accomplished. He saved two additional penalty kicks this year.
3. BILL HAMID
Chosen as SBI MLS Mid-Season Goalkeeper of the Year, Bill Hamid proved to be a stonewall in front of goal during the 2015 season. In spite of injuries, Hamid recorded the second-highest save percentage at 75.9 percent. Over the course of 25 games played in goal for D.C. United, Hamid helped his Eastern Conference side secure the fourth seed by producing eight shutouts. His 1.16 goals against average also stands out.
4. STEFAN FREI
In 31 games played for the Seattle Sounders, goalkeeper Stefan Frei produced the league’s best save percentage at 77.1 percent. His record of 1.48 saves a game helped the Sounders only concede 36 goals on the year — tied for the MLS best with the Whitecaps. While saving one penalty during the 2015 campaign, Frei most notably produced jaw-dropping saves week after week. With Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins injured and absent for many games over the course of the season, someone had to step up for the Sounders, and Frei was that man.
5. EVAN BUSH
For all the attention Didier Drogba and Ignacio Piatti received for their contributions this year, one American goalkeeper held his own for the Montreal Impact during the 2015 season. In 31 games for the Canadian club, Evan Bush made 99 saves while only allowing 1.26 goals per game. Bush’s nine shutouts helped the Impact claim 15 wins this year, and his performances throughout the season allowed many to see why he should be a first-choice goalkeeper in the league.
What do you think of our selection? Which player stood out to you as Goalkeeper of the Year in 2015?
Share your thoughts below.
Hamid single-handedly kept his team in contention…he’s easily the keeper of the year.
nah, would’ve gone with ousted (or hamid, for single-handedly getting his team to the playoffs).
Hmm. I’m not with you on this one. He has an average save percentage (65.6%) and good, but not great, goals against of 1.26, not quite the “one of the best in MLS” you claim as he was only tied for ninth among keepers with over 2,000 minutes.
He’s a very good keeper on a very good team, but it’s clear that both Stefan Frei and David Ousted were better. In my mind Ousted was keeper of the year and Robles wouldn’t have been in the top five.
It’s always puzzled me, that as a product of German influenced football (from a German coach at a US academy and later in the German Bundisliga) Robles was never given a legitimate shot at the USMNT. Under Bob Bradley he was the 3rd keeper in the run to the final,at the 2009 Confed Cup and looked to be in grooming for a spot. But under Klinsmann, he has been an outsider, despite having a great season with Kaiserslauten, and being a rock for the NY Red Bulls.
At age 31, he is still a baby in goalkeeper years, being the same age as Brad Guzan and younger than Nick Rimando or Tim Howard.
The honor is well deserves to the pride of Cochise County, AZ