It's only been two days and already the hype train surrounding one Clinton Robert Irwin has departed. Its destination? MLS Cup with a quick pit stop in Playoffville and a layover in CanadianChampionshiptown. But is this hype warranted? Does Toronto finally have a keeper that is worth...well...keeping? Absolutely. Here's why:
He's got big Statisticals
It was only a few days ago that us wonderful TFC supporters were still very unsure of our club's goalkeeping situation. Would we play Bono? Probably. Maybe the mysterious Quillan Roberts would take the starting spot? Perhaps we would acquire someone from outside MLS: Casillas? Buffon? Yashin? Or as twitter handle @TFCKeeperYet wished, Karina LeBlanc (*not related to Matt from Friends).
Yes all of these choices would've sufficed as they are all excellent veteran keepers with world class ability, and aside from Lev Yashin, are still very much alive, which ideally you would want in a goalkeeper. Instead headhoncho Timmy B and his gang of wheelin-dealin business men pulled a fast one on Colorado, acquiring, in my opinion, one of the best goalkeepers in the league for some draft picks and a handful of cash.
At the ripe age of 26, Irwin has both the youth and experience needed to elevate Toronto FC to the next level. Last season Irwin was 9th in the league with overall saves and 11th with overall shutouts. (Konopka was 16th and 19th respectively.) He also started 31 of 34 games of the regular season and recorded a 70% save percentage, with the Rapids no less, a team that was the 2nd worst in the league last year. Irwin has the skill, longevity and most importantly youth that Toronto goalkeepers of the past have lacked and has the potential to become the best goalkeeper the Reds have ever played, that includes Julio (past his prime) Cesar and Stefan (Glass Joe) Frei.
It's all in the name
So it's cool and all to have a good player on our team but will he gel? Does he play well with others? Toronto FC is well known for having great players that for some reason don't play as well as they should when representing the city of Drake. I can assure you all that yes, Clint will be good to us. And we must be good to him.
The goalkeeper position is entirely different than outfield positions. It requires less team unison and more individual resolve. A goalkeeper is only as skilled as he believes himself to be and confidence is key to his form. Irwin's confidence sure has taken a beating over the last two seasons, playing for the Rapids will certainly do that to you but let's not forget how great he was back in his debut season in 2013 when his team was actually respectable. Irwin was a top 5 goalkeeper allowing only 35 goals.
Go back a bit further during the Canadian Soccer League season of 2011 and you'll find Irwin captaining his former team Capital City FC to the CSL Finals, allowing only 22 goals all season long. With a return to Canada and a brand new team with a brand new defensive line, Irwin will undoubtedly return back to his pristine form and help bring home those W's like he once did with Colorado and Capital City. The word Win is even in his name, which is obviously a great omen. It's not like we got Clint Irlose.