The Colorado Rapids haven’t allowed a goal in each of their last two games. And they have goalkeeper Clint Irwin to thank for their latest clean slate.
In the Rapids’ scoreless draw at the San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday night, it was Irwin’s second-half heroics that kept the ball out of the back of the net and continued Colorado’s hot start, particularly on the road, where they improved to 2-1-2 away from home with their latest result.
“[Irwin] did his thing,” Rapids captain and defender Drew Moor told reporters postgame. “He did what he had to do. Sometimes when you come into a tough place to play like this, you need your ‘keeper to do that. And we’ll certainly buy his dinner tonight.”
The 25-year-old came up big with several outstanding stops on Wednesday night as San Jose pressed forward, especially in the last half-hour.
In the 62nd minute, Irwin snuffed out a left-footed close-range blast from Atiba Harris, using only his reflexes to get a quick hand on the ball and slap it to safety.
A few minutes later, perhaps on the Quakes' best opportunity of the match, Chris Wondolowski’s header appeared destined for the back of the net, but Irwin miraculously nicked the ball just enough to nudge it to just the other side of the post for a corner kick.
Finally, with Wondolowski alone one-on-one on Irwin in the 88th minute, it was the second-year 'keeper who denied the US national teamer his sixth goal of the season.
“Clint came up huge a few times,” Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni told reporters. “That’s why we have goalies.”
In all, Irwin came away from the draw with seven stops. And considering Colorado's lack of chances and possession on the other end of the field, it's a result they'll take out of Buck Shaw Stadium quite happily.
“It’s disappointing when you don’t win, but a point on the road is good,” Irwin told reporters. “What we’ve been good in the back at is keeping clean sheets, and we did a good job of that today.”
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.