Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My Thoughts on Chris Seitz

With the 3-game stretch of starts for Chris Seitz now at an end due to his shoulder injury, I thought I would give a few brief thoughts on the young RSL goalkeeper.


First of all, let’s throw out Seitz previous 3 MLS starter experience as a rookie.  Two of those came at the start of the 2007 season, as Seitz was fresh into the pro ranks.  Likewise, let’s throw out the rest of Seitz body of work with either the National Team or with RSL reserves or in exhibition matches. 

Focusing just on the three performances this season you see a keeper who gave up 5 goals for a 1.67 gaa, while making 6 saves and netting 0 wins, 2 losses and a tie.  Quite frankly, those aren’t the type of stats you want to see out of your keeper.  However, to be fair the team did perform poorly in front of him during those 3 games, but I would still expect a better saves/goal ratio.  Even Rimando’s 9 saves/7 goals is poor.  Compare both to Keller’s 25 saves versus 3 goals allowed.

Of the 5 goals that he has given up this year, I thought the 2nd goal against LA was the most inexcusable.  It’s hard to fault him for the penalty kick that Donovan took, despite the fact that he did get a hand on it.  It’s also hard to fault him for the Chivas goal, given the deflection that the ball took mid-flight. 

Seitz has taken some criticism for the first goal against KC, particularly in Steve Davis’ column:

• Young goalkeepers sometimes make young-goalkeeper type mistakes. Real Salt Lake's Chris Seitz came out too aggressively against Josh Wolff, as the RSL man put himself in a bad spot. By moving out too quickly against Wolff, who had been put through cleanly by Jack Jewsbury, Seitz met the K.C. attacker beyond his 18. That takes away the goalkeeper's advantage -- or leaves him at risk of an early, game-changing red card if he does swipe at the shot with his hands.

However, I’m not sure what alternative Davis is suggesting.  Clearly Seitz had to come off his line and meet the attack.  That’s what all keepers are taught to do in that situation.  I think we’ve all seen enough soccer to know that if a keeper comes off his line, he must be decisive and quick in his actions.  Is Davis suggesting that Seitz should have delayed coming off his line or come out more tentatively?  If he would have tried to stand Wolff up inside the 18, Wolff would have calmly danced around him and buried the shot.  We’ve seen that highlight reel before haven’t we?  I’m puzzled.  There is only one play in that situation, and Seitz did it in textbook form, and was a bit unlucky to have the ball bound off of Wolff’s knee directly forward in the direction of the goal. 

With the possible exception of the soft goal against the LA Galaxy, it’s hard to fault Seitz on the individual plays that led to the goals.  However, for a keeper that is looking to establish himself you would like to see a few spectacular stops, and we haven’t really seen that.  Seitz has shown that he is good with balls in the air, and can snuff out crosses really well, but until we see something more solid and spectacular from Chris the jury is still out.