It's often a pretty thankless job to act as a human shield and try to stop the other team from doing the the most important thing in soccer, which is score goals. But it's a pretty important job, too. Here are the finalists for MLS Goalkeeper of the Year.
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Tim Howard, Colorado Rapids
Well, this is sure to be a controversial inclusion. Howard only joined the Rapids in the summer and he played 17 games out of a 34-game MLS season. Sure, he's a great goalkeeper, but the Rapids had actually been doing fine with Zac MacMath in goal before his arrival. That was down mostly to an excellent defense since MacMath was a bit error prone, but it's the same defense that Howard inherited. Still, he's been a solid shot-stopper and great communicator in the games he has played.
USA TODAY SportsTim Heitman
Andre Blake, Philadelphia Union
A goalkeeper can only do so much. Blake has been solid in the back, but he hasn't been helped out very much by his defense, especially since Josh Yaro was injured. The Union are going to have to shore up their back line, but Blake has had his share of impressive saves that kept the Union in games they otherwise wouldn't have been in. If the Union can plug in some of their defensive holes, Blake should help the Union have one of the league's best defenses.
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Luis Robles, New York Red Bulls
The reigning MLS Goalkeeper of the Year is not slowing down anytime soon. He set a new record in April as MLS's ironman, having gone the most consecutive matches of any player in MLS history. At the time, that was 126 straight matches, which he has only added to since. And it's easy to see why he is still at it: he's been an organized goalkeeper, stabilizing presence and excellent shot-stopper.