After the Portland Timbers' unfortunate 2014 season, Caleb Porter made the tough call to replace 2013 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Donovan Ricketts. Brought in to replace "The Black Spider" was Norwegian/Ghanaian keeper Adam Kwarasey. At the time many Timbers fans were unsure of the decision, but with the defensive end of the club in need of a refresher, Kwarasey was a welcome change.
Young but experienced, arriving from a good league, and with quite the highlight reel to impress onlookers, Kwarasey joined the Timbers with every chance to impress.
The Timbers' new keeper made his MLS debut in the season opener on March 7th, 2014. The match would be a bittersweet draw against the Utah's Real Salt Lake with Nick Rimando single-handedly keeping his team in the game and outshining Kwarasey's clean sheet.
Since then, Kwarasey has had some faults, but when he was called on to step up, he did.
Here are two current key stats from the keeper:
Goals and saves are just a part of where Kwarasey is currently.
Up against his peers, Kwarasey is currently ranked 16th in MLS in total saves, not far off the pace of Ricketts (18 saves in seven matches), but well behind players like Tyler Deric (27 saves in seven matches) or Jamie Penedo (20 saves in four matches).
When we look at the percentage of shots saved by Kwarasey, 68%, he is in good company. While again there are a few players standing out at the top of this metric (Deric has saved 90% of the shots he has faced this year), Ricketts, Nick Rimando, and Bobby Shuttleworth, three excellent keepers, have each saved 67% of the shots they have faced.
This is still a period of finding his home between the sticks for Kwarasey. With the newly formed defense of 2015, there have been some growing pains. As the games have gone on, however, the defense cohesion with Kwarasey has seemed to solidify.
As they sync in we can expect more epic saves like this (skip to 1:01):
Stats: MLSsoccer.com, foxsports.com, http://www.foxsports.com/soccer/adam-kwarasey-player-stats