JOE BENDIKGoalkeeper, Orlando City
Orlando City’s shot-stopper Joe Bendik has been one of the surprises of the season for Lion’s fans. 13 games into his first season with the club, Bendik has been one of the league’s most productive goalkeepers and has time after time, come up with massive saves at crucial times.
The former Toronto FC keeper has faced 70 shots on goal so far (5.4 shots per game). That’s the third most shots faced in Major League Soccer this season, behind the Vancouver Whitecap’s David Ousted, who has faced 85, and the Columbus Crew’s Steve Clark, who has faced 71.
Of those 70 shots faced, the Clemson University graduate has saved 47 (3.6 saves per game) of them. That number is good enough for third in MLS, once again after Ousted (58 saves) and Clark (50 saves).
Although his save percentage of 67.1% is slightly below average, the quality of the saves he has been forced to make is what’s made him so valuable. This quality is displayed by his four MLS Save of the Week awards so far this season.
Bendik has had some great moments so far. The first that come’s to mind has to be the penalty save he made against Fanendo Adi of the Portland Timbers. The save preserved Orlando City’s two goal lead going into halftime in the Lion’s 4-1 triumph over the defending MLS Cup champions.
The second save that stands out to me has to be the diving save to deny New York Red Bull forward Mike Grella’s acrobatic volley.
No save was as clutch as Bendik’s reaction save against the Montreal Impact’s Ambroise Oyongo. With the scored tied 1-1 late in the match, he stuck his paw up to block the deflected shot and just five minutes later, instead of being a goal down, the Lions took the lead in an extremely important match.
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