Rave Report: Homecoming for Gruenebaum

A new coach in Cascadia, Soccer America's top goalkeepers and Notre Dame wins College Cup.

Two teams solidified their goalkeeper position on Monday.

After the retirement of Jimmy Nielsen, Sporting Kansas City was in the market for a new ‘keeper and pried local product Andy Gruenebaum from the Columbus Crew in exchange for a second round pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft. In his place, Columbus completed a trade with Sounders FC to acquire Steve Clark, whom Seattle signed after four years with Honefoss BK of the Norwegian first division.

Gruenebaum, 30, played his first six seasons as the backup to Will Hesmer in Columbus. In 2012, he took over the starting role and in the last two years went 18-23-12 with 12 shutouts and a 1.29 goals against average. In eight seasons in Columbus, he totaled a 26-31-21 record with 18 shutouts and a 1.29 goals against average.

Clark, 27, went 30-32-32 with 26 shutouts and a 1.34 GAA in four seasons with Honefoss BK, three of which came at the top flight in Norway. He was the Goalkeeper of the Year in the second tier, posting a 16-5-9 record with 12 shutouts and a 0.93 GAA.

Columbus sent a fourth round pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft to acquire the goalkeeper.

With the trade, Sounders FC, Columbus, Kansas City and New England all stand to have new goalkeepers in 2014.

A NEW COACH IN CASCADIA

The MLS coaching carousel continued to turn on Monday with the Vancouver Whitecaps FC announcing the promotion of former assistant coach Carl Robinson into the head coaching role.

Robinson played five seasons in MLS before his retirement following the 2011 season, after which he moved to Vancouver as an assistant coach under his predecessor, Martin Rennie. In two seasons in that role, Robinson worked primarily with the midfielders and on finishing.

As a player, Robinson, 37, was a tenacious defensive midfielder in his 17-year pro career, spent mostly in England’s top two divisions. He played his first seven seasons with Wolverhampton Wanderers, and went on to play for Portsmouth, Sunderland and Norwich City with loan spells with five other clubs before coming to Toronto FC in 2007. There, he was the club’s MVP in its first two campaigns in MLS. In 2010, he was traded to the New York Red Bulls, where he finished his career in 2011, serving as a player/assistant coach in his final season.

He had plenty of international experience as well with 52 caps with the Welsh National Team.

His signing leaves just three clubs with open head coaching positions – Real Salt Lake, FC Dallas and Chivas USA. There have been new hires this offseason for the Columbus Crew, Chicago Fire and San Jose Earthquakes.

NOTRE DAME TAKES HOME COLLEGE CUP

Bobby Clark has seen a lot of success in the college ranks, coaching Dartmouth, Stanford and Notre Dame over the last 27 years. On Saturday, he tasted College Cup victory for the first time.

Andrew O’Malley and Leon Brown scored to lift the Fighting Irish to its first soccer championship in school history with a 2-1 win over Maryland.

Top national scorer Patrick Mullins scored the only goal for Maryland.

CARIBBEAN PLAYER COMBINE SET

On Monday, MLS announced the 24-man roster for the 2014 Caribbean Combine from January 2-4. The three-day event in Antigua will feature players from 16 Caribbean nations with players ranging in age from 18-24. Players will play in games and training sessions in front of scouts from around the league for an opportunity to earn an invitation to the MLS Player Combine from January 10-14.

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