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Six Degrees: Five Favorite Goalkeepers

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MLS: U.S. Open Cup-Portland Timbers vs San Jose Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

6) After two weeks of Mount Rushmores, let’s get back to my please-give-us-something-Timbersy-to-think-about-during-this-friggin-quarantine Five Favorites series. If you want to go back and read my previous Five Faves, here are links to my favorite strikers, my favorite wingers, my favorite attacking midfielders, my favorite defensive midfielders, my favorite fullbacks, and my favorite center backs.

Today, we finish the series with my Five Favorite goalkeepers. And, please remember, this is not a list of who I think is best, it’s a list of who I like. You don’t have to be good to make the Five Fave, I just have to like you.

5) My fifth favorite goalkeeper is Kendall McIntosh.

Wait, hold on... I put a guy on my list who played exactly zero MLS games for the Timbers? You’re damn right I did. Because McIntosh was completely awesome. The first time I ever saw an interview with him – probably in spring training his first year or something – I remember thinking, This guy doesn’t sound like a professional athlete, he sounds like an English professor at a small, liberal arts college in New Hampshire. So I was already on his side, just from that, and then I started seeing video of him playing for T2, and I was like, Wait, he’s not an English professor, he’s motherfucking Spider-Man! I’ve never seen anyone look more athletic in goal than Kendall McIntosh. Leaping, diving, jumping up off the ground for the next one. Watching him in goal during warm-ups before games was an absolute pleasure. Combine that with his erudite interviews and I’m 100% in on the kid. The only reason he’s not higher on this list is that, you know, he never actually played for the team in an MLS game. Not a single minute.

Craig Mitchelldyer, Portland Timbers

4) My fourth favorite goalkeeper is Donovan Ricketts.

This is a weird one, because to be honest, Ricketts was never all that charismatic. Kind of quiet and shy, really. But I’m putting him here at number four because, damnation, he was so fun to root for in 2013. He was an absolute beast that year, stopping so many unstoppable shots, saving the Timbers so many points. He was a joy to root for and that earns him a spot as my fourth favorite, despite his shy, quiet nature.

3) My third favorite goalkeeper is Steve Clark.

It would be easy to make some kind of “27 seconds” joke here, but I’m not gonna. Steve’s one of us now. Instead, I’ll remind you that he was the 2019 Six Degrees Player of the Year, he had the TA singing Baby Shark every time he made a nice play, and he led the league in Doing Cool Shit After Saves To Get The Crowd All Geeked Up, which is a stat I made up, but which I support with the following highlight reel.

2) My second favorite goalkeeper is Jeff Attinella.

Yes, Steve Clark had the whole Baby Shark thing last year, but that ain’t nothing compared to 2018, when all summer long, the entire stadium was chanting “Jeff Jeff Jeff!” I don’t know who among you started that meme, but you deserve an award. What a phenomenon. There were two-sticks, there were flags, there were t-shirts. It was amazing. That alone might have earned Jeff Jeff Jeff a high spot on this list, but there’s more. You know he writes kids books, right? And you’ve heard his podcast with Zarek Valentin, right? They’re still doing it, too. Zarek’s gone to Houston, but the old roommates are still getting on the phone to talk about life, soccer, the quarantine, and changing diapers. It’s awesome, Jeff Jeff Jeff’s awesome, and he’s number two on my list.

Craig Mitchelldyer, Portland Timbers

1) My favorite goalkeeper is Adam Kwarasey.

Kwarasey’s a little like Ricketts, to be honest, in that he was never especially charming or charismatic off the field, but I liked him so, so, so much on the field. Kwarasey is the coolest, calmest, most unflappable goalkeeper I think I’ve ever seen. So many goalkeepers around the world yell at their defenders when they give up a goal, but Kwarasey never did that, not even once. Whether the Timbers were winning or losing, he never got upset, he never yelled, he never looked anything but cool, calm, and collected from opening kick to final whistle. And sometimes past the final whistle, as you can see in the video below. The guy was only here for one and a half years, but he’s still my favorite Timbers goalkeeper.

And there you go. My five favorite goalkeepers. Not the team’s best goalkeepers, just the ones I like best. Got someone else who you’d put on your list? They don’t have to be good, you just have to like them. Any Troy Perkins fans out there? How about Jake Gleeson? Tell me some cool story about your favorite keeper down in the comments.