Grading goalkeepers – an FC Dallas goals allowed breakdown

At kickoff of the opening game of the season back on February 29th, things seemed to be shaping up to be another year of familiar faces in net at FC Dallas. Jesse Gonzalez was entering his fifth year at the club and made his 100th MLS regular-season start that night.

Then two weeks later the league was temporarily shut down, and in the midst of the shutdown, Jesse’s contract was mutually terminated.

Since then, three other goalkeepers have made MLS starts for FC Dallas, Each with varying degrees of success.

Let’s take a dive into how each of their seasons went. We will be looking into every goal conceded from a goalkeeping perspective.

One of the most important in-depth stats for goalkeepers is Post Shot expected Goals (PSxG). Essentially measuring xG from a shot placement perspective rather than a shot position perspective.

Phelipe Megiolaro

  • Only played one match – 3-0 loss to Minnesota United
  • Made 6 saves on 9 shots on target
  • Poor positioning on the first goal, chest should be facing the ball, leaves the near post WIDE open (as seen below)
  • The second goal was just about unstoppable, third was another rather tough one.
  • 2 great saves in the 60’ and 73’
  • Conceded 3 goals on 3.6 PSxG, so above average goalkeeping all things considered
  • FC Dallas could not catch a break in the game and given that there was not much he could do about two of the three goals he conceded he will get a C+ as a grade.
  • In just one game his PSxG was 3.6 and he only conceded thrice so the issues stemmed from more than just him in that match. 

Jesse Gonzalez

  • Jesse played 2 games at the start of the season before being released by the club. 
  • He kept a clean sheet and was relatively untroubled in the season opener versus the future Supporters Shield winners in the Philadelphia Union, then had some unlucky bounces that led to 2 goals against the Montreal Impact. 
  • He’s gone.

Kyle Zoebeck

  • Kyle Zoebeck has never really been much more than an emergency 3rd keeper for FC Dallas, spending some of his time with the club the season prior in the USL-1 with NTXSC.
  • A Maurer injury versus Sporting Kansas City led to his first-team debut.
    • Conceded in first-half stoppage time, within minutes of coming on. Zobeck’s feet were too wide to get enough spring to stop it, would have been hard to stop regardless so no fault to him. 
    • Denied Salloi in a one on one in stoppage time to preserve the 1-1 draw.
  • Conceded 3 in his first MLS start against MNUFC.
    • As in the previous game, his wide starting stance was his downfall on the first MNUFC goal, as Mason Toye nutmegs him. 
    • Zobeck had no chance on the second goal, a banger from Kevin Molino. 
    • Later, Zobeck had a beautiful reflex save to deny Molino a shot through traffic.
    • The third goal was a penalty, not much Zobeck could do.
  • Zobeck only let in one goal each in his next two matches, a 2-1 win in the Texas Derby and a 4-1 win over Colorado Rapids.
    • Memo Rodriguez caught Kyle cheating off his near post and fired a missile into it, Zobeck got a tip on it but not enough. Poor starting position.
    • Lone concession versus the Rapids came off a rough deflection that arrowed to the bottom corner. Impossible to save.
  • Zobeck did well and conceded 6 on a PSxG of 6.9. His contributions warranted him a B+, but in our hearts, he is an A+

Jimmy Maurer

  • Maurer came into the season as the undisputed FC Dallas number 2. Of course, the dismissal of Jesse changed that and Maurer started his first game of the season 5 months after FC Dallas’ previous game.
  • August
    • Nashville part 1: a late shot from David Accam took a deflection off the inner thigh of Matt Hedges and past Jimmy for the only goal of the match, really not much he could do about it.
    • Nashville part 2: a clean sheet preserved by a fantastic double save in the 32’
    • Texas Derby part 1: another clean sheet, barely challenged bar a Christian Ramirez volley early on
    • Minnesota United: Hassani Dotson rocket was the only goal against, Maurer was screened by Hedges with little chance of saving it.
  • September
    • Half an hour into the match against Sporting Kansas City, Maurer aerially challenges Khiry Shelton for a cross and a dozen minutes later is subbed off with a leg injury.
    • [a few weeks later]
    • Away at Children’s Mercy Park, this time FC Dallas conceded twice from set-pieces.
      • The first was from a corner, defenders are caught ball watching and it falls to Johnny Russell who makes no mistake. It could be argued that Jimmy should have closed down the shot but the fault lies in the defenders caught ball watching.
      • The next goal came from a set-piece in which Russell heads the ball right over Jimmy’s head and in. Again, it could be argued that Jimmy could have done more but it went into a goalkeeping dead zone.
    • Next up, away at the billion-dollar stadium in Atlanta, where the only goal conceded was an EXTREMELY DUBIOUS “handball” and Jeff Larentowicz sends Jimmy the wrong way from the spot.
    • Toyota Stadium was next to host Orlando City.
      • It was Oscar Pareja’s homecoming. That is all that is worth mentioning from the match.
  • October
    • Columbus visits FC Dallas, where the defense watches two crosses go through the box that were finished easily, with no chance for Jimmy. But in the first half, Jimmy had an incredible diving save to deny a point-blank header from Josh Williams, a save he had really no right to make which makes it all the more astounding.
      • Side note: this was the only game in which Michael Barrios scored this season, and it was a header… from 5’2” Michael Barrios… because 2020…
    • The next Texas Derby in a word: bad. In a few words: really really very not good.
      • Maurer really couldn’t do much on the first, and the second was a penalty. Best not to think about it.
    • Maurer earned his next clean sheet at home versus SKC, where he was relatively untroubled.
    • In FC Dallas versus Nashville part 80, Maurer is beat on two wicked deflections and Reto Ziegler being turned inside out by Daniel Rios. 
      • Nothing Jimmy could do about the deflections, but he has a weird reaction to the third goal by Rios, as he just flashed his gloves at him and did not break down and stretch for the save.
      • Before the third goal, Maurer once again makes a save on a point-blank header he has no business saving. 
    • Jimmy stood on his head in a road match to the Rio Tinto.
      • Early he reads Cory Baird and goes the right way to deny him from in close.
      • Close to the end of the first half Damir Kreilach unleashes a curler that Jimmy sprawls to perfectly tip it away.
      • Jimmy saves ANOTHER header from in close, this time perfectly anticipating the ball to deny Kreilach again from in close.
      • I would say this match was Jimmy’s best match of the season, although he did not have many saves, all three saves were near guaranteed goals and none of them found the back of the net.
    • MLS newcomers Inter Miami were next to visit FC Dallas and the first true mistake of the year by Jimmy
      • In the first half, Gonzalo Higuain plays Rodolfo Pizzaro through on goal with no defenders able to close him down, giving Pizzaro all day to pick his shot. Normally a keeper will rush the shooter in order to close down the angles and force a mistake out of the shooter but here Jimmy backs up toward his goal line and tried to make a reflex foot save instead. It was a high probability scoring situation but regardless Jimmy did nothing to pressure the shooter.
    • Jimmy would be relatively untroubled in his final two matches of the season, picking up back to back clean sheets with wins over Nashville and Houston.
  • Playoffs aka death by Cascadia 
    • Playoff game 1 versus Portland Timbers
      • Just past the 10-minute mark, Andy Polo releases a drive through traffic which Jimmy not only stops but also hangs on to, to deny a rebound opportunity for Portland.
      • In the second half, Maurer would deny Cristhian Paredes twice with stellar saves, the first from a volley which Jimmy sees over the bar and the second a missile that Jimmy pushes wide.
      • Maurer would come up huge a few minutes later to do just enough to deny a rocket from Polo.
      • Maurer’s fantastic work would be undone in the 82’ when Jorge Villafana roofs a shot from in close to open the scoring. Jimmy takes up a low starting position to cover any shot from the ground to chest height but the power and placement on the shot left him helpless in the box. 
      • Although he only stopped one, Jimmy guessed the right direction on 4 of the 8 penalties he faced in the shootout, with the one-stop being all he needed to send FC Dallas to Death by Cascadia 2: Electric Boogaloo.
  • Playoff game 2 – Death by Cascadia 2: Electric Boogaloo.
    • Early in the second half, Thiago Santos is bumped off his mark of Shane O’Neill who nods it just out of Maurer’s reach to open the scoring for the Sounders. Just out of reach for Maurer.
    • A few minutes later Jimmy comes up with a very difficult save to deny Joevin Jones from outside the box. The ball had some serious English on it as seen by Jimmy being at full extension to save it yet using his forearm for the save, making it a rather difficult save.
  • Jimmy Maurer was phenomenal in his first full season as an MLS starter, going above and beyond what was expected from him.
  • He led the league with an 0.84 goals against per 90 as well as a .833 save percentage.
    • Only conceding 13 in 16 games is beyond impressive for his first full season, not to mention three of the goals were wicked deflections and two were penalties.
    • Maurer easily could have earned the GK of the year award, of course, being an un-famous name from a less-than-big market did not help his cause in voting.
    • Maurer hardly put a foot wrong all season and was arguably FC Dallas’ best player this season. Jimmy conceded 13 goals on a PSxG of 15.6 so nearly two and a half goals saved above what was expected.
  • Maurer gets an A for his work this season and I hope to give him a similar grade around this time next year.

The Big Picture

Overall, the goalkeeping department was the backbone of FC Dallas in 2020. Whereas the attack underperformed, the goalkeeping stood tall and gave FC Dallas a fighting chance in every game.

No team expects to use 4 different goalkeepers in one competition over a single season, but each keeper was able to be that next man up and put in a stellar performance.

As a whole, the goalkeeping department of FC Dallas gets an A.

2 Comments

  1. I would’ve kept Kyle and Jimmy as 1&2 and passed on Pheliepe. Especially with the 17 year old academy keeper you wrote an article about. Pheliepe occupies a International Spot and a 2 million dollar transfer from what I’ve read.

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