Turf and Boards is proud to present the second annual Boards Awards in recognition of excellence in the Major Arena Soccer League. The 2018-19 Boards Awards will include Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year, Defender of the Year, Goalkeeper of the Year and, finally, Most Valuable Player. Rather than picking one definitive winner in each category, our panel of Matt Huber (aka Merlin, Soccer and The City), Greg “Ponto” Suttie (Suttie on Soccer) and Turf and Boards publisher Sydney Nusinov will each weigh in with their own choices for each award. Plus we want to hear from you in our poll.
Matt Huber, Soccer and The City
I could sit here and make arguments for a quite a few goalkeepers to receive this award, such as Andrew Coughlin, or Diego Arriaga. But, unfortunately, they are not in my top three. My top three is as follows: William Vanzela, Boris Pardo, and Josh Lemos. I’m going to eliminate Vanzela from the running, even though he was the sole reason Baltimore was as successful as they were, because it’s down to Boris Pardo and Josh Lemos.
Josh Lemos went undefeated during the regular season, tabulating 14 wins. Boris Pardo played nearly every game for San Diego this season, accumulating an incredible 22 wins to 1 loss. Both goalkeepers had GAAs below 4.00 and nearly identical save percentages. If I could have co-keepers of the year, I would, but after Chris Toth’s departure from the Sockers, Pardo put his team on his back, and carried them to the Western Conference Finals. My vote is going to go toward Boris Pardo of the San Diego Sockers.
To the Wave fans reading this, it’s a tough call. But, if Josh wasn’t injured as much as he was, the award would be his without a doubt.
Sydney Nusinov, Turf and Boards Publisher
As awards controversies go, the running MASL dialogue around the Goalkeeper of the Year award presented an interesting discussion. Chris Toth won the award the last two years, going a combined 18-4, but only starting 22 of his team’s 42 games. How many games is enough to be worthy of this prestigious honor?
This year might play out similarly, but to a much lesser degree. William Vanzela always deserves to be in the discussion and this year he was particularly excellent down the stretch and led the league in Save Percentage (if you believe Josh Lemos only made three saves in Milwaukee’s 2-1 Eastern Conference Final win over the Blast then you might have more faith in this statistic than I do) and was third in GAA. His six losses, however pale in comparison to the other two finalists.
Josh Lemos went 14-0 and led the league with a 3.30 GAA, His replacements, Rafa Diaz and Matt Eisold, went 7-3 with a 5.09 GAA. In just his third season, Lemos has racked up a 41-7 record and has become a vital cog in the Wave’s well-oiled machinery.
Boris Pardo started 23 games and won 22 of them, setting an MASL record for wins. His only loss was an early season game in which he only allowed five goals. Pardo was one of the most durable and reliable goalies in the league and his clutch play helped the Sockers to a perfect 5-0 overtime record.
In Lemos’s case, though, his missed time actually works in his favor because the team had such a sharp drop off in wins and goals against when the Canadian wasn’t in the lineup, Ultimately, after agonizing over this one pick and changing my mind multiple times I am casting my Goalkeeper of the Year Boards Award vote for Josh Lemos.
Greg Suttie, Suttie on Soccer
The MASL is fortunate to have lots of outstanding goalkeepers. Every season it is hard to single any one man out as Goalkeeper of the Year. This season is a no different: Vanzela, Toth, Pardo, Reynoso, Arriaga, Lemos…There are just too many to list.
Goals Against Average and Save Percentage tend to be the stats that determine the top guys. For me, this season, the top keepers stand out mostly by their results. Diego Angel Arriaga carried his Barracudas team into the playoffs as perhaps the most improved team. Boris Pardo had the most wins, but Milwaukee’s starter went unbeaten, and that is the main reason I see Josh Lemos as this year’s Goalkeeper of the Year.