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Portland Timbers 2012 Player Rankings #19: Joe Bendik

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The Timbers' backup keeper for much of the season, Joe Bendik was called into action behind both Troy Perkins and Donovan Ricketts.

Ezra Shaw

Joe Bendik was the Timbers' number two keeper for most of the 2012 season and saw the field five times thanks to injuries suffered by Troy Perkins and his upgrade, Donovan Ricketts. Bendik came on as a substitute twice and started three times, allowing eight goals, two of which were penalty kicks, and making eleven saves. His most notable performance came against the San Jose Earthquakes in San Jose, a 2-2 tie, when he made five saves to keep the Timbers in the game until the late arrival of Chris Wondolowski.

When he is on the field Bendik is a solid, if unspectacular, shot stopper with better distribution than most of the Timbers' other options at keeper and less of a propensity for giving up rebounds than his main competition for the #2 keeper position, Jake Gleeson. Bendik's experience in Europe with Norway's Sogndal FC and his time with the US youth national teams, along with his even-keeled personality, have given him a level of experience uncommon in most young American keepers and allow him to step in and remain composed between the sticks, even if he gets chipped by Fredy Montaro in his first minute in the match.

As a young, competent, and cheap option between the sticks, it only makes sense for the Timbers to hold on to Bendik as both he and Gleeson have the potential to be starting keepers in Major League Soccer someday soon.

Dissenting Opinion

Geoff

Here's the thing about Bendik: he's alright, for his age. He could be a serviceable goalkeeper one day. I just don't see why the Timbers,specifically, have him. The way I see it, right now, the Portland Timbers have a primary goalkeeper, Donovan Ricketts, and two third keepers: Joe Bendik and Jake Gleeson. Gleeson, in my opinion, is a better keeper than Bendik, meaning the Timbers should either find a true back up keeper who is more reliable than Gleeson, or move Gleeson up to the #2 spot and bring in an 18 year old development project. But Gleeson and Bendik together? Makes absolutely zero sense to me.