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The 2012 Season Preview - The Goalkeepers

William Hesmer leads a talented group of netminders.
William Hesmer leads a talented group of netminders.

The look at the 2012 Crew begins at the back with the most stable part of the roster, the goalkeepers. Starter William Hesmer and understudy Andy Gruenebaum are back again, a pairing unchanged since 2007. They are joined by Dublin native, Ohio State alumni, and Home Grown player Matt Lampson.

The 30 year old Hesmer enters his 6th season as the starter since joining the team before the 2007 season. He already is the Crew's all-time leader in shutouts and saves and was the keeper for the MLS Cup winning 2008 team. He's long cemented his place as an upper tier MLS goalkeeper.

Hesmer is a strong player. He is the vocal leader of the backline. He is good shot stopper and solid in the air. He also is an off the field leader for a team that underwent a lot of changes in the past year. He isn't making as many acrobatic saves in recent years, but seems to be turning those into routine saves with better positioning.

The top backup, Gruenebaum is one of the longest tenured playters on the team. He has been a Crew player since the 2006 season, rarely playing. He has only played in 26 regular season games in his 6 years in the league, but has been a fixture in the Champions League and Open Cup competitions.

Gruenebaum is an outstanding shot stopper, but appears a step behind with some of the technical aspects of the position. He is more than capable of being a starting league goalkeeper, but has the misfortune of having Hesmer in front of him.

Lampson is the youngest and most recent addition to the Crew's goalkeeping corps. He joins the team on a Home Grown contract. His contract will give him time to grow into a professional keeper. Ideally, he will not see any time with the first team as he continues to develop. He will get action during reserve matches, behind Gruenebaum.

The Crew have a solid group of goalkeepers. Hesmer is a dependable backstop for a stout defense and Gruenebaum is a more than capable understudy. Lampson is a player for the future.

This is an area where Warzycha, Bliss, and the rest of the staff could rest easy. Even with Gruenebaum the apparent starter for the road opener due to Hesmer's injury, there is still a lot of faith that whoever is between the pipes can get the job done.