Spotlight on Meredith

Bryan Meredith posted 275 straight shutout minutes to start his MLS career and has since averaged paltry 0.92 goals against.

He doesn’t get the accolades of New York’s Ryan Meara or even Philadelphia’s Zac MacMath, but Sounders FC goalkeeper Bryan Meredith is quietly putting together an impressive start to his career.

The 22-year-old Monmouth University product came on in the second half of Seattle’s 2-0 win over the LA Galaxy on May 2 and went on to post 275 straight shutout minutes to start his MLS career. Although he’s allowed six goals in four matches since, his goals against average remains a paltry 0.92, bettered only by fellow youngster Bill Hamid (0.83), and European veterans Jimmy Nielsen (0.83) and fellow teammate Michael Gspurning (0.46) among players with six or more starts.

Yet Meredith still remains far removed from the spotlight and that’s just the way he likes it.

“I don’t want any attention. The less people know, the better,” he smiled. “There are a lot of young keepers in the league who are very good. It shows that the development of young goalkeepers in America is progressing.”

Meredith was taken in the second round of the 2011 MLS SuperDraft, but did not make the Sounders FC roster out of training camp. He instead played in front of the net for the Kitsap Pumas, leading the Bremerton-based club to the PDL championship. Not long after, he was brought back to Seattle when injuries sidelined Kasey Keller’s backups Terry Boss and Josh Ford and even made an appearance in the CONCACAF Champions League against eventual champions Monterrey.

He would go on to impress in training camp, inspiring the confidence of Seattle’s coaches that was justly rewarded when Meredith stepped in to finish off the shutout victory over LA last month.

Now with Gspurning working his way back from the hip injury that knocked him out of action, Meredith continues to be a solid backstop for the Sounders.

“He’s done really well. Hopefully we try to make his job as easy as possible,” defender Marc Burch said. “When he needs to make a save, he makes a save. We needed someone to step up and he’s done it.”

Part of easing that transition was that Meredith played 19 matches in the PDL season last year for the Kitsap Pumas, leading the Bremerton-based club to the PDL championship and also earning two US Open cup victories.

That playing time helped him hone his skills in games while he was also training with the Sounders and Pumas during the week.

“It’s one thing to get in every day and train and it’s another thing to be able put those things that you train onto the pitch on a Saturday night,” Meredith said.

He also has something that can’t be measured is save percentage or goals against average. It’s something that he had a bit of coming out of Monmouth, drawing the Sounders FC’s attention in the draft, but was also developed while training alongside Kasey Keller and Gspurning.

“He’s got a very good presence and demeanor,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “One of the things that I’ve liked about him the first time we saw him is that he has a good game-presence about him and he has been able to maintain that and doesn’t get flustered much.”

It won’t be long until Gspurning is back on the field and Meredith returns to his backup role. In the meantime, though, Meredith hopes to continue to post numbers that are comparable to the league’s best keepers while helping the Sounders climb back to the top of the Western Conference standings.

Even if he is flying under the radar while doing so.

“He’s coming back at some point this year,” Meredith said of Gspurning. “Until that point, I’ll just fill in as best as possible.”

The Sounders will meet the Montreal Impact in the first match at the newly renovated Saputo Stadium on Saturday. Kickoff for the match is slated for 4:30 pm Pacific with television coverage on KONG 6/16 with the radio broadcast on 97.3 KIRO FM.

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