Former University Of Denver Goalkeeper Joe Willis Getting Time In Playoffs With DC United

Bob Levey

Rapids fans, need a rooting interest in the last legs of the MLS playoffs? Why not go for DC United, who will have University of Denver prospect Joe Willis between the sticks?

During their 1-0 win over the New York Red Bulls in the second leg of their playoff series, DC United lost their goalkeeper. Bill Hamid, in an ill-advised move that we've seen far too often from the young American national, charged out and swept Kenny Cooper's feet out from under him, earning a red card and a penalty for New York.

Fortunately, Joe Willis was there to save the day with a great save on the second penalty attempt. (Cooper, on the other hand, proved every soccer coach in the world right by not following the 'Never stutter-step during a PK it never works you moron' rule.)

Willis might be an intriguing rooting interest for Rapids fans if they're looking for any reason at all to support any of the teams left in the playoff race. He was originally 'keeper for the University of Denver Pioneers soccer team, and is one of the few DU players to ever make it on the big stage. He also played some club ball for our favorite local lower league team, the Real Colorado Foxes, from 2009-2010.

I had kind of hoped that the Rapids would go after him with a low pick in the 2011 SuperDraft with their 36th overall pick back then, but instead he fell to DC. They selected him with the 50th overall pick. (The Rapids ended up using it on Colin Givens, who couldn't even make it halfway through training camp before getting cut.)

With Hamid guaranteed to miss a game and possibly more with his suspension, Willis is going to get some big minutes as DC United look for their fifth ever MLS Cup. Not bad for a kid from a hockey school.

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