Greg Bartram-US PRESSWIRE
Andy Gruenebaum may have taken a long route to becoming a starter, but he made the most of it.
Andy Gruenebaum joined the Crew in 2006, but only got his first real chance to play with the first team this year. A career backup to William Hesmer, he got his shot when Hesmer went down with a season ending injury. He made the most of it.
Gruenebaum made 33 starts and had a 1.26 Goals Against Average. He made dozens of highlight reel saves; keeping the Crew in games they had no right to be in as the offense struggled migtily to score early in the year. The man affectionately known as the Hebrew Hammer recorded 8 shutouts and lead the league in saves with 124.
Gruenebaum's strengths has always been his shot stopping. He showed off his athletic prowess time and time again by making many vital saves. His athletic ability was never in doubt, but his mental approach was more of a question. His game management and command of the penalty area improved greatly throughout the year. He showed that he could handle traffic in the box and was adept at managing crosses.
While Gruenebaum has developed into a quality goalkeeper, he still has a couple areas to work on. He still struggles with consistency. He had a couple goal allowing gaffes. He misplayed a cross against Vancouver that gave the Whitecaps 3 points on their trip to Crew Stadium. He also muffed an easy shot to gift a goal to Houston that cost the Crew a win. He also has a tendency to go long with his distributions and that limits the team's ability to build
Final Grade: 7 - He's likely the Crew's number one goalkeeper heading into 2013.