Colorado Rapids

Steven Beitashour emphasizes defense, hits '100 clean sheets' for his career

The 0-0 draw at D.C. United was not the result sought by the Rapids, as they desperately seek a third successive seat at the postseason table, but it did lead us to a couple of milestones for individual players.

With the outcome inside Audi Field, goalkeeper William Yarbrough registered his 25th shutout in the colors of the Rapids, which moved him to joint-third on the club’s all-time list, level with Joe Cannon, He has achieved this tally from 76 appearances; Cannon hit the number in the 82nd of his 86 appearances back in 2006.

Yarbrough’s fine penalty save to deny Christian Benteke his first goal in MLS was the first time in 12 attempts that the Rapids’ ‘keeper has thwarted the opposition from 12 yards. It was also the 10th penalty faced by the Rapids this season, the most of any team in the league.

There was also another individual marker laid down after Sunday’s result, and it involved the veteran Steven Beitashour, one of the nicest guys in the game.

Beitashour and I had a conversation in mid-July where he wondered how many of his MLS appearances (regular and postseason) had resulted in a clean sheet for his team. If truth be known, he had light-heartedly enquired why I made mention of his lack of goals during my commentary when his role has always been to stop goals.

Hence why we decided to look into how many clean sheets he’d been involved in.

So, I went away and checked out all of his appearances, which at that stage stood at the 286 mark. I bumped into him a few days later at the Meet the Team event at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park and revealed he had been involved in 99 matches in which his team had kept a clean sheet (both as a starter and substitute).

On Sunday, that figure rose to 100 in 292 appearances. The first shutout he was involved in came on April 17, 2010 when San Jose Earthquakes defeated New England Revolution 2-0 at Buck Shaw Stadium.

The Quakes ‘keeper just happened to be Joe Cannon, while Chris Wondolowski scored his first goal in what would be his breakout season and set him on the path to become the league’s all-time leading scorer. Wondolowski scored 18 goals that year, his sixth season in MLS. He would hit double digit goals for 10 seasons in a row.

The Revs’ goalkeeper that day was another former Rapids player, Preston Burpo. He had departed Colorado at the end of the previous season.

Beitashour has clearly been in some good teams. That San Jose side gave up just 33 goals in the 2010 season, and were Supporters’ Shield winners in 2012.

He then spent two seasons at Vancouver Whitecaps (2014-15), the second of which the Whitecaps achieved theirbest-ever MLS finish with second spot in the Western Conference, conceding just 36 goals in 34 games.

And in the four seasons prior to joining the Rapids in 2020, the 35-year-old split his time between Toronto FC and LAFC. Toronto went to MLS Cup in both seasons, winning in 2017, while also lifting the Supporters’ Shield and claiming the Canadian Championship. His two seasons at LAFC culminated in a third Supporters’ Shield in 2019.

Steven Beitashour is a softly-spoken, some may say unassuming, character. But his steadying presence has been a factor in the success of those teams previously mentioned. He was also an MLS All-Star in 2012, when Chelsea were defeated 3-2, playing alongside David Beckham, Thierry Henry, Landon Donovan, Dwayne De Rosario, and his then teammate Chris Wondolowski.

Yes, in this sport it is often the goal scorers who receive many of the plaudits, but if awards were handed out for unsung heroes in MLS, then Steven Beitashour’s name would surely be part of any conversation.