Tyler Miller and Pablo Sisniega were both stalwart goalkeepers throughout the season, but now it is time for you, the fans, to vote and decide which one proved to be the team’s best goalkeeper in 2019.
Though Miller was clearly the primary goalkeeper from start to finish, Sisniega certainly gave him a run for his money when Miller missed some games after being called up to the USMNT.
Perhaps it was due to those stellar Sisniega performances in Miller’s absence that gave Los Angeles Football Club the confidence to include Sisniega in its list of 12 protected players from the upcoming Expansion Draft.
Nevertheless, both players helped lead LAFC to the league’s best defensive record in 2019.
Selected No. 1 overall in the 2017 Expansion Draft, Miller has been a reliable last option in LAFC’s defense ever since he arrived, and reliability is all you can ask for from a keeper.
In 2018, Miller started 33 out of 34 games and got pelted by an astounding 164 shots, saving 114 of them but allowing 50 goals. But this past season, Miller’s goals against average dropped from 1.52 to a flat 1.0 in 28 starts.
Of course, this can in part be attributed to a more reliable defensive line held down by Walker Zimmerman and Eddie Segura, but Miller’s ability clearly turned up a notch this year.
Unfortunately, Miller did have a handful of blunders throughout the year that cost the team points. After his return to the starting lineup and Sisniega’s string of strong performances, Miller’s play seemed like he had lost a tad of confidence. Some saves were not so crisp, his efforts and dives after balls began to be a little mistimed, and his hands started a few easy saves slip by him for goals.
He also had a tough time during LAFC’s short-lived MLS Cup run, saving five shots while allowing six goals in two matches.
We might have seen the last of Miller in net for the Black-and-Gold. Without being protected from the upcoming Expansion Draft, it is tough to see Miller not being taken by another new club just as he was in 2017.
Signed from Real Sociedad back in February, Sisniega patiently waited on the bench for the first 16 games before finally getting his first start and time in net in June.
With Miller away on international duty, Sisniega started the next three games, winning two of them and only giving up one goal each game. What the numbers will not show, however, is that Sisniega burst onto the radar of fans because of the dazzling split-second reaction saves he accumulated over that three game stretch.
The two wins were 6-1 and 5-1 final scores for LAFC, but it is worth noting that there is some uncertainty of how the game would have gone had Sisniega not come through with those amazing saves. He made nine saves over those three games and proved to the team they had a backup they could have the same confidence in as Miller should Miller ever go down with an injury.
Upon Miller’s return, he resumed the starting role, and Sisniega again waited for his name to be called again. This came against Atlanta United. It was a mad shootout, and Sisniega surrendered three goals, but LAFC was able to gut out a 4-3 victory.
Sisniega’s last two starts of the year came in the form of a 2-0 loss hosting Minnesota United FC on the first day of September, and then in Minnesota at the end of the month where LAFC pulled out a tie.
In six starts, Sisniega made 17 saves and surrendered 9 goals. Though it was a small sample size, the club’s protection from the expansion draft seems to indicate that it would be confident moving forward with Sisniega becoming the first option in net.
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Who is LAFC’s Goalkeeper of the Year?
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