Three games in 7 days didn't work out well for T2. After the 2-1 home win, they followed it up with a pair of losses and now get to travel to Starfire Stadium on Monday to face S2. Giving up 7 goals across those 3 games, it was not pretty for a very porous defense.
Real Monarchs SLC: 2-1 Loss
If late goals are a significant weak spot for this team, so are getting themselves in the hole early. And that is just how the match began, with a 13th minute goal to put the home side up 1-0 over visiting T2. Maikon Orellana got onto a loose pass in T2's own box and slotted away the opener.
It felt like this game could end like both previous trips had done (1-1 draws) and sure enough in the 70th minute, T2 got their goal to give them hope late into the second half. Blake Bodily scored his third goal of the season as Villyan Bijev slotted Bodily behind the defense with a long pass. Blake put a left footed shot right past Jeff Attinella and the visitors had hope.
Until their knack for giving up really late goals reared it's ugly head. In the 86th minute, T2 gifted Monarchs SLC an own goal and all 3 points. Off of a corner kick a Monarchs player got a head to it but the ball was deflected off a T2 defender and into the net. It went down officially as an own goal.
Sacramento Republic FC: 4-0 Loss
Sacramento was a team that went out a bought a couple of strikers because they've had issues scoring goals all season. Most reinforcements were still on their way. But they somehow put 4 past T2 and looked like they easily could've made it 5 or 6 or more.
Remember when I said T2 like to give up early goals and immediately put themselves in a bad position? It was the 4th minute of this match when Sacramento Republic opened the scoring. Immediately putting the game state in their favor and forcing an already exhausted T2 side to chase the game for 86 minutes.
It was Mike Da Fonte who headed the ball from Tommy Thompson at point blank range to give Sacramento the early lead. And the homeside followed it up with a 2nd goal in the 45th minute. That second goal was quite the sight. Cameron Iwasa was 1-on-1 with Wade Hamilton. And Hamilton stoned Iwasa's shot but the ball deflected up and over Hamilton and rolled towards the goal. Chances are without any further intervention that ball would've gone into the net but Iwasa chested it into the empty net, just to be sure, after he got around Hamilton when Hamilton saved his initial shot.
The second half didn't start off well either. Tommy Thompson went from assist man to goal scorer in the 48th minute when he was slotted a ball in behind the T2 defense and easily put it past Hamilton to make it 3-0. One of Sacramento's scoring reinforcements made his debut appearance as a substitute, Wilson Kneeshaw. Kneeshaw, as a substitute making his debut, gave Sacramento their 4th & final goal in the 82nd minute. He almost had the home side's 5th goal near full time but missed by inches.
The 4-0 blowout to Sacramento made me think: Which keeper is statistically better? T2's Kendall McIntosh or the first team's 3rd string keeper, Wade Hamilton. My gut had me thinking McIntosh was the keeper between the two that provided far more confidence in his ability. I also thought that Hamilton seemed to be in goal when we tend to give up large bunches of goals. By the stats, I think Kendall McIntosh should be the one sitting on a first team contract as the 3rd string keeper.
After the Sacramento game, McIntosh has played 14 matches, Hamilton has played 9. Justin Luthy started in one game this season but we will scratch that game. Thus we have 23 games of data in 24 T2 matches so far.
As evidenced during the course of the season, McIntosh is the statistically superior goalkeeper. And his GAA is far more confidence inspiring than Hamilton's. In McIntosh's 14 games played, opponents have scored more than 1 goal against T2 only 3 total times. So 11 of McIntosh's games has T2 giving up 1 or 0 goals. There is one McIntosh game where he gave up 2 goals, one where he gave up 3, and one bad one where he gave up 4. But that is it. And that game where McIntosh gave up 4 goals? He immediately followed it up with 16 saves in the next two matches. Only giving up 1 goal in each game. Because T2's offense couldn't click T2 lost 1-0 when McIntosh made 6 saves, and then drew 1-1 when McIntosh made 10 saves.
But what about Hamilton? In his 9 games, 6 of them have ended with T2 giving up 2, 3, or 4 goals. Hamilton has given up 2 goals in 3 matches, 3 goals in 2 matches, and 4 goals in a match (most recent game). That pushes his GAA all the way up to 2 goals per game. It's not good when you put a keeper between the sticks and can expect, on average, to give up 2 goals. Particularly with an offense that is as hot and cold as T2's.
Now, what the front office sees in training could be different than what we see on the pitch. There might be intangibles that we do not know of that has the teams rating Hamilton over McIntosh. But, the stats clearly support McIntosh as the better keeper. And with the constantly rotating cast of defenders in front of these keepers, it is difficult to attribute anything to a better or worse defense in front of one keeper over the other.
Right after the Sounders come to Providence Park on Sunday, T2 goes to Starfire Stadium to face S2. Monday, August 29th, 7:30 pm pacific kickoff. T2 will have a full week of rest and it'll be a bus ride away, but momentum favors the home side. Who will be in goal for T2?