Cody Cropper, however, had other plans in mind, especially in the 66th minute, when Fatai Alashe found himself free atop the six-yard box. The midfielder connected with Cordell Cato’s grasscutter, only for the New England goalkeeper to thwart the ball wide.
It was a kick save and a beauty – one that proved pivotal in the 0-0 stalemate at Gillette Stadium.
“Thankfully I spread myself and made myself big, and it goes wide of the goal,” Cropper said. “In all honesty, I knew nothing about it. I kind of hoped it’d hit me, and we got away with that one.”
While Cropper’s stop on Alashe stood out, he had several other shining moments.
Namely, the 24-year-old denied Cato at his near post in the 46th minute, only to again respond in the match’s waning moments. Darwin Ceren, a late substitute, sent an outside-of-the-foot shot towards Cropper in the 88th minute, and Cropper made the save look routine.
The denial of Ceren sealed Cropper’s performance, one that also marked his and New England’s second clean sheet of the 2017 season.
“There were a couple of instances where [San Jose] broke us down, and Cody came up big just to keep us in the game and give us a chance to win,” said midfielder Scott Caldwell. “It was really impressive to see from him.”
Cropper, who signed with New England last August after seven years in England, has quickly cemented himself as the Revs’ starting goalkeeper, despite stiff competition from Brad Knighton.
The genesis for that, Cropper said, is simply finding consistent game time, something that the former US youth international has longed after.
“I think the coaching staff and a lot of the players, we’re finally finding a rhythm together,” Cropper said. “I think for myself, I’m also finding that rhythm and really coming along in development and decisions and my starting positions.
“At the end of the day,” Cropper added, “I can only keep moving forward and hope that I can continue to grow.”
That growth, according to center back Antonio Delamea, is something Revs fans should become accustomed to from Cropper. They host D.C. United on Saturday (7:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE) with a seven-game home unbeaten streak in hand, and the Slovenian expects big things from his ‘keeper.
“He’s still learning like we all do, but the positive thing is he’s learning from his own mistakes and getting better every game,” Delamea said of Cropper. “For us, the defensive line is important to have, and also a goalkeeper that’s reliable like he is.”