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Ranking Toronto FC’s all-time goalkeepers

We take a look through history and make our choices for the five greatest TFC netminders

2017 MLS Cup - Seattle Sounders v Toronto FC
Alex Bono #25 of Toronto FC lifts the Championship Trophy after winning the 2017 MLS Cup Final against the Seattle Sounders at BMO Field on December 9, 2017 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
(Ridley/Getty Images)

TORONTO, Ont.,—With the MLS season put on hold, there is little for fans to do but wait, hope, and reflect on better days.

Thankfully, Toronto FC has given us 14 years of healthier moments. Over that span, the club has endured many battles—some glorious, others certainly inglorious—all of them featuring a varied cast of heroes.

During a quarantine, a steady schedule can be essential to help get one through the day. Similarly so, on the pitch, there is arguably no one more important than an assured, confident keeper to anchor the team and set the rhythm.

In that spirit, we have pulled together our list of TFC’s five best goalkeepers.

5) Joe Bendik

Games: 77 | Wins: 19 | Win %: 24.68 | Clean Sheets: 9 | Clean Sheet %: 11.69 | PK Saves: 1 | PK Save %: 7.69
SOCCER: AUG 01 MLS - Toronto FC at Revolution

Originally considered a back-up keeper when he was acquired in late 2012, Joe Bendik went on to make 33 appearances for TFC in the 2013 season after the expected starter Stefan Frei was injured in an exhibition match. Bendik became Toronto’s starting choice in the following years, and in the three years he played for them, accrued 73 appearances.

Although Bendik saw no titles or hardware as a part of the squad, his on-field grit and dependability supplied TFC with much needed consistency during a difficult time. Injuries were a constant issue for the Reds during his time with them, and their defence was so weak that in 2015 they gave up a league-high 58 goals. Bendik was an unsung hero during this period, and for that, we will always be grateful.

4) Clint Irwin

Games: 49 | Wins: 19 | Win 38.78% | Clean Sheets: 16 | Clean Sheet %: 32.65 | PK Saves: 3 | PK Save %: 23.08
SOCCER: NOV 29 MLS Conference Finals - Columbus Crew at Toronto FC

In 2016, after declining Bendik’s option, TFC acquired Clint Irwin from Colorado in an attempt to buttress a struggling back-end. Irwin was an MLS all-star, so bringing him in was a logical choice. Despite a very good showing for the Reds, a quadriceps strain in June of that year pulled him out of goal, allowing him only make 19 regular season appearances (the rest shared with Alex Bono). Irwin backstopped Toronto in the playoffs that year, but unfortunately for him, his biggest match was the ill-fated MLS Cup shootout loss to Seattle.

In 2017, Irwin received a new contract from TFC, but his starter role was again cut short because of a hamstring strain in March. Able to only play five games that season, he was on the sideline during TFC’s victorious MLS Cup Final and at the end of 2018, he was traded back to Colorado. His time in Toronto was often overshadowed by Bono, but that does not take away how pivotal his presence was for TFC — his natural skill, experience, and keenness will never be forgotten.

3) Quentin Westberg

Games: 34 | Wins: 13 | Win %: 38.24 | Clean Sheets: 5 | Clean Sheet %: 14.71 | PK Saves: 4 | PK Save %: 36.36
Toronto FC v New York City FC

While a relatively new name in the annals of TFC goalkeeping, Quentin Westberg has wasted little time in making the position his own. Although he was acquired in early 2019, he only saw his first round of action a few months later int; but, his showing in that match was enough for him to quickly snatch the starting role away from Alex Bono after only a few more games.

Tall, explosive, and an incredible distributor, Westberg was one of the main reasons Toronto was able to manage their lightning run in the playoffs and make it to the MLS Cup Final. Though his time on the team is still young, many are expecting great things when the league finally resumes.

2) Stefan Frei

Games: 99 | Wins: 30 | Win %: 30.30 | Clean Sheets: 28 | Clean Sheet %: 28.28 | PK Saves: 1 | PK Save %: 5.88
Columbus Crew v Toronto FC

Drafted in 2009 by Toronto, Stefan Frei quickly became the team’s shining star. During his five year tenure with the Reds between 2009 and 2013, he was considered among the league’s best keepers, and kept a dedicated vigil over the Toronto net with frequent highlight reel saves.

It is a pity that the rest of TFC was so lacklustre during that time.

Frei holds an astonishing 82 appearances for Toronto in those five years, and also oversaw four Canadian Championship wins. With that in mind, it is more than just a pity that a keeper of his quality had nothing more substantial to show for his years of devotion, but one will be hard-pressed to find a Reds’ fan that does not know Stefan Frei’s name. (Even if that is because of The Save.)

1) Alex Bono

Games: 100 | Wins: 50| Win %: 50.00 | Clean Sheets: 26 | Clean Sheet %: 26.00 | PK Saves: 3 | PK Save %: 12.00
SOCCER: OCT 28 MLS - Atlanta United FC at Toronto FC

Although not beginning his time with Toronto with a blaze of hype, Alex Bono built his reputation with steady improvements. When Clint Irwin got injured in 2016, Bono grabbed the starting position, and his consistency allowed him to keep honing his skill and coming in line with the TFC defence. When Irwin was injured again 2017, Bono had become much more than simply a back-up keeper. By 2018, he was the Reds undisputed starter.

Of course, winning an MLS Cup Final will give you that clout.

Bono is in many ways an exemplary balance of everything that a keeper needs. He has fantastic vision, is aware of both his team’s defensive structure and the opposing team’s offence, is exceptionally consistent in the net, and has the confidence to pull it all together. He has 79 appearances with the TFC, has seen three Canadian Championships, a Supporter’s Shield, and of course, the aforementioned 2017 MLS Cup Final victory. For Toronto FC fans, there is none other than Alex Bono.

Honourable Mentions

Julio Cesar — The Brazilian international joined TFC in 2014 to the surprise of many. However, despite the fanfare of having a Ballon d’Or winner on the team, he only ended up making seven appearances; regardless, it’s easy to forget that a goalie of his pedigree passed through Toronto.

Greg Sutton — One of the OG keepers for TFC, Sutton played on the squad from 2007 to 2009. His time was plagued by injuries, including a concussion with recurring symptoms, but, Sutton is in many ways he was a pioneer for the Reds as well as MLS goalkeeping as a whole, and his contribution will not be soon forgotten.

Nick Hagglund — Yes, we’re taking the piss with this one, but Hagglund did briefly play as keeper in a preseason game in 2018. He made a half-decent save while in the net, too.