In Defense of Matt Pickens

As of February 26th, 2015 has Rowdies goalkeeper Matt Pickens listed 14th in their list of top American keepers. Thats a full 22 spots ahead of the next listed NASL keeper, Mitch Hildebrandt. Yet, a few fans still aren’t convinced. I must admit, as Rowdies fans, we have been pretty spoiled by the men that have tended to our net. Guys like Daryl Sattler, Championship winning J-e-f-f Attinella, and the beloved Diego Restrepo, (whose injury in preseason last year lead us to purchase Matt Pickens from New England Revolution) all have special places within our hearts. So why are we so scared to embrace “Super” Matty Pickens?

I wanted to try to look a little deeper into our likely starting keeper and see what our expectations should be going into this season.

Here are his MLS Regular season career numbers:

Minutes Played     Saves       Goals allowed          SV%

2005                      298                     10                    4                        71%

2006                      930                     63                   13                      82%

2007                      2430                   102                 31                      76%

2008              ————-Spent year in England with QPR———-

2009                     1710                     39                  22                     64%

2010                      2610                     88                  32                    73%

2011                       3060                    77                  41                     65%

2012                      2859                   107                 49                 68.5%

2013                        97                         2                    2                     50%


MLS Career          13785                  471              192                     71%


And his first season with the Rowdies:

Minutes Played     Saves       Goals allowed          SV%

2014                      2094                   80                    35                  69.5%


You can look at the numbers and say there’s been a steady decline since his standout year in 2010 and it continued in 2014. I’d probably agree with you. That is until you take out that anomaly that was the San Antonio massacre. If we remove the 3 saves and the 7 goals from that match, he would have a 2014 save percentage of 73%, right up there with his career average all while playing hurt and with a tactically bland and defensively inept team in front of him.

Numbers don’t tell the entire story though. It was his first go through the NASL. A second tier league with second tier scouting. He now has more film and more experience on each player he faces. He had an entire offseason to gel with teammates and to study tendencies of the players attacking his goal.

In the end, I think our confidence for how our revamped midfield is going to improve Georgi Hristov, Brian Shriver, and Corey Hertzog, should extend to how our revamped defense and midfield is going to improve an already better than average shot stopper.








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