The signing of goalkeeper William Yarbrough on loan from Leon was big news for the Colorado Rapids before life seemingly froze due to the coronavirus pandemic. The 31-year-old keeper spent his entire career playing in Mexico, but found himself sitting the bench when Leon signed Rodolfo Cota in 2018. In the announcement, Colorado Rapids Executive VP and General Manager Padraig Smith said: “One of our objectives over the offseason was to build a roster deep with talent and to foster competition all over the field and this signing further helps us achieve that. The opportunity to bring in a player of Will’s quality doesn’t come around every day, so we’re excited to have him join our already strong goalkeeping group.”
This leaves the Rapids with a tough decision as to who will be the starting goalkeeper when MLS returns. In a conference call back in March, Head Coach Robin Fraser told the media that “every job is up for grabs every week. That type of competition is what ultimately is going to drive you.”
Fraser added, “I think right now Clint has been good and solid and offers the maturity, composure and obviously good goalkeeping ability. He has been the number one to this point. I do think bringing in Will just opens up the competition.”
In this article, I’ll be making the case for why Irwin should be the starting netminder when MLS returns, which is hopefully sooner rather than later.
Irwin has loads of MLS experience
Irwin, 31, is currently enjoying his second stint with the Rapids after rejoining the club before the 2019 season and becoming the backup to Tim Howard. But due to Howard’s nagging hamstring issue throughout the season, Irwin started nine games and appeared in two more as a substitute.
Before returning to Colorado, Irwin spent three seasons with Toronto FC, where he was a starter in 2016. He started every postseason game for TFC that year, including a loss in MLS Cup Final to Seattle. The following two seasons, Irwin lost his starting role to Alex Bono and was thus traded back to Colorado.
Before being traded to TFC, he was with Colorado for three seasons, starting in at least 26 games each year.
Throughout his MLS career, Irwin has amassed 134 appearances as an MLS goalkeeper, allowing 188 goals and making 391 saves. Though Yarbrough possesses plenty of experience in Liga MX, Irwin has the most MLS experience between the two and also has the most experience on the team besides Drew Moor and Kei Kamara.
Irwin is also familiar with Robin Fraser’s tactics since they were in Toronto at the same time and has worked with the backline in front of him. Though some would argue Yarbrough was once a starter in Liga MX, Yarbrough lost the starting job at Leon before joining the Rapids, while Irwin always was the favorite to be the starter coming into the 2020 campaign.
Either way, Colorado is spoiled for having the choice between the sticks (an issue very few MLS teams have) as they look to continue their undefeated start to the season when MLS returns.
Who do you think should be the Rapids’ starting goalkeeper? (Vote in our poll or tell us in the comments below!)
Who should be the Rapids starting goalkeeper?
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