Throughout preseason, we'll be breaking down the 2020 roster position by position. In our first installment, we're previewing the goalkeepers.
Clint Irwin enters 2020 as the most experienced 'keeper on the roster. The 30-year-old goalkeeper featured in 11 matches in 2019 for the Rapids, making 42 saves with one clean sheet. Overall, he has made 132 MLS regular season appearances, notched 384 saves and 34 clean sheets. Irwin is a seven-year veteran who is one of the most consistent goalkeepers in MLS. He is a proven shot stopper entering the prime years of his career. Last season, Irwin stepped in for an injured Tim Howard and made several jaw-dropping performances. This year, he looks to continue to establish himself as one of the top goalkeepers in MLS.
"There are a lot of things going for Clint that are going to help him," said Chris Sharpe, assistant and goalkeeper coach. "He is a very consistent goalkeeper. Throughout the course of this preseason, Clint is going to work on finding that rhythm, and, more importantly, continuing to establish himself as a very good number one goalkeeper in this league.”
Andre Rawls is a relatively young keeper with plenty of potential. He appeared in 15 matches for the USL's Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC in 2019 and also spent time training with the goalkeeper group at the Rapids. The 28-year-old enters the 2020 season looking to push Irwin for the starting position between the sticks, while also continuing his growth in the goalkeeper position.
"(Rawls) has a good upside athletically, he is a good shot stopper, and he has an astute to learning," Sharpe said. "He hasn’t been goalkeeping for that long, but he watches a lot of video, asks a lot of questions, and there is a lot of growth there for Rawls."
Abraham Rodriguez is also joining the Rapids first team during the 2020 preseason. The 17-year-old goalkeeper is a product of the Rapids Development Academy and brings a dash of youth to the goalkeeper group. Rodriguez has talent well beyond his years and is a proven shot stopper. The Thornton, Colorado native appeared in 16 matches for Colorado Springs in 2019 and was named to the USL 20 Under 20 selection.
"He has developed into a wonderful young talent," Sharpe said on Rodriguez. "Abe has a very high ceiling when it comes to goalkeeping. He is not going to be the biggest lad, so we have to develop other sides of his game. He is a good shot stopper, quick on his feet and has ability to command the backline."