One thing was for sure: last year, the goalkeeping position grew in many ways, chiefly step-up and leadership. But with a new era clearly here, how important will the goalkeeper position become? For what we have to answer that question with and more, let’s look at how the goalkeeping situation looks for 2021.
- The Incumbency: We have two good starting goalkeepers in David Jensen and Tim Meara, but I think Meara has the starting job because of just mere presence. Of course, you have to make that presence count, but the great ones always do, and Meara has been called an absolute champion by former head coach Chris Armas. Plus, he has the qualities of a great keeper: box command, presence, communication, leadership, quality in between the sticks, patience and experience. This is not to say that Jensen is a bad keeper at all. I haven’t seen much of him but from what I’ve found out, he has great positional sense, which makes him elite in my opinion. He also has European pedigree having played five seasons at Danish Superliga side Nordsjaelland and four seasons at Dutch Eredivisie side FC Utrecht before coming to the Red Bulls. Meara is an agile keeper who focuses on intangibles such as a team-first mentality and club culture familiarity. With all this, I think Meara edges out because he knows has what it takes to succeed at this level. On top of that, he has lot of youngsters to guide, especially the new ones.
- The signings: The Red Bulls promoted Luca Lewis from the second team and signed Carlos Coronel on loan from Red Bull Salzburg. Both are strong, agile keepers with good basics and reactions. Coronel might even challenge for the starting spot with his European experience, Champions League football and Austrian championship pedigree. He is not new to MLS either, having previously been loaned out to the Philadelphia Union, playing four games.