Trevor Spangenberg finished his college career at Missouri State University in 2013, entered the draft process, but went undrafted in the MLS SuperDraft or Supplemental Draft in January. However, after trialling with Chivas USA during the preseason, he earned a contract with the Goats right around first kick, and the goalkeeper situation was wrapped up for the season, with the newcomer backing up both Dan Kennedy and back-up Tim Melia.
But for the second season in a row, Chivas USA's third-string GK got some game action, albeit just a little bit, as a domino effect of red cards forced him into action. First, Kennedy picked up a red card on April 26 against the San Jose Earthquakes, which brought Melia into the end of that game and then starting the following game on May 3 against the Houston Dynamo. But Melia got a red card himself in that Dynamo game, and Spangenberg was the last man standing.
Unfortunately, as these things often go for backup 'keepers, Spangenberg's first action as an MLS player was to face a penalty kick, and Giles Barnes buried it, so no storybook opening for the rookie.
Short of getting a major injury, it's one of the biggest cruelties in soccer, for a backup GK to have to enter the game then face a penalty straightaway.
The 22 minutes Spangenberg played in that game against Houston were his only competitive minutes in 2014. He did manage a save later in the match, and he didn't let any more goals in after the initial PK, but by virtue of the number of minutes he played and the goal allowed, his goals against average was highest in MLS this season (but that's a quirk of a minuscule sample size, not a real indication of his ability).
Here were Spangenberg's statistics for 2014:
|Games Played||Games Started||Minutes||Saves||Goals Allowed||GAA||Shutouts||Win %||Save %||Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|MLS Regular Season||1||0||22||1||1||4.09||0||0||50||0||0|
|U.S. Open Cup||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
Things were pretty quiet for Spangenberg after that single game, but he did become the team's only backup after Melia was waived in the summer. It was a shocking move, although I know in the grand scheme of things it was not particularly consequential to anyone but Melia, since Kennedy played the rest of the games in the season. Still, the 23-year-old moved up in the pecking order by virtue of the corps losing a goalkeeper, but beyond Reserve League action, Spangenberg didn't see the field again for the Goats.
Beyond that, not a great deal was learned about him this season, except for Donny Toia's possibly exaggerated portrayal of his roommate Spangenberg as a guy who liked to sit in silence while eating at home, during an episode of Eric Avila's video blog series. Such is life for a backup GK, I suppose.
Spangenberg wasn't selected in the Dispersal Draft this week, which isn't surprising. He'll be eligible for the Waiver Draft next month, but chances are he'll be a free agent after that process is complete. There's of course a chance that he could find a new MLS club one way or another, or he could get a shot in NASL or more likely, USL PRO, and with both leagues expanding next year, there will be more openings for goalkeepers than ever before in professional soccer in the U.S.
At any rate, Spangenberg wrote his name in Chivas USA lore as a player who actually played for the team, one of three goalkeepers and one of 33 players overall (that's three full lineups!) in 2014. Who knows what comes next for the 23-year-old.
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