There's no shortage of premium goalkeepers in MLS, but discussions as to exactly how the top-tier of the league's shot-stoppers should be ranked always lead to varying conclusions.
The Extratime crew took a stab at ranking the top five, with host David Gass taking the lead, saying he feels as though there should at least be some sort of consensus regarding the top two in the Philadelphia Union's Andre Blake and the New England Revolution's Matt Turner. Beyond that, Gass said, there are a lot of different directions you could go, but he rounded out his top five using criteria that included factors such as longevity, versatility, leadership qualities and performance in high-leverage situations.
Honorable mentions that were close but didn't quite make Gass' top five were NYCFC's Sean Johnson, Columbus Crew SC's Eloy Room, and Minnesota United's Dayne St. Clair. Check out the his full rankings below.
1. Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union)
The reigning MLS Goalkeeper of the Year is an easy shout for the top spot. Blake was simply superb for the Union all season last year, but especially at the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando where he rattled off a seemingly endless string of highlight-reel saves. Philly wound up winning the Supporters' Shield, something that also certainly doesn't hurt Blake's case.
"I have Andre Blake No. 1, who I voted for as Goalkeeper of the Year," Gass said. "There's a lot of different reasons you could go about this, one of those is while Blake's had some down years, you've seen him for longer. Matt Turner, no question the ability he has, what he can do with the ball as well besides shot-stopping, but I just want to see it for another year."
2. Matt Turner (New England Revolution)
As Gass mentioned, the only thing separating Turner having a claim for that spot for himself at this point is longevity. He's very much entrenched as arguably the league's best shot-stopper at this point, and he grades out as one of the league's top all-around backstops by pretty much any advanced metric you'd want to use. That's helped him develop into one of the most crucial players for Bruce Arena's side and a big reason why the Revs have the look of an Eastern Conference contender headed into 2021.
3. Stefan Frei (Seattle Sounders)
Stefan Frei's diving denial of Jozy Altidore in the 2016 MLS Cup is one of the most iconic saves in MLS history | USA Today Sports
When it comes to postseason heroics, there's few who can boast the resume of the Rave Green backstop. Frei is the author of the most iconic save in MLS Cup history for his 2016 swat of Jozy Altidore, but that's just the most high-profile instance on a long list of clutch saves in huge moments.
As Gass put it: "I don't think there's a goalkeeper in this league I'd rather have start a playoff game than Stefan Frei."
4. Tim Melia (Sporting Kansas City)
If Frei is the goalkeeper you'd want in goal for a playoff game, Melia has to be the pick for who you'd want in a penalty kick shootout. The SKC netminder is the best in the league at stopping kicks from the spot, something that has come in handy for Peter Vermes and Co. numerous times over the years in knockout scenarios. As Gass pointed out, he's also acted as a rock-solid anchor for the club through stretches where their defense as a whole has struggled to prevent chances.
"The PK saver," Gass said. "He's been consistent over the last few years and I think he's held a lot of things down as KC has struggled defensively at times with his ability to organize the back line and his communication."
5. Pedro Gallese (Orlando City SC)
This was the hardest spot to pick according to Gass, but he went with the Orlando City backstop based on a couple of factors: His high-level pedigree outside the league, and his undeniable impact for the Lions when he was on the field. Similar to Turner, Gallese's talent level is arguably up at the No. 1 spot, he might just need to log more games in the league for that to be more widely recognized.
"There's five or six names that could be mentioned," Gass said. "I went with my list with Pedro Gallese. I think you look at: High-level international, what' he's done outside of MLS. And then coming in you could see the difference he made for Orlando, especially when he was and wasn't there."