Some moments are the culmination of a season's worth of work or an individual moment of brilliance. Some moments are the result of happenstance. This is one of those moments. Columbus was coasting with a three-goal cushion against the Philadelphia Union in the final regular season game. William Hesmer had stopped the scattershot Union barrage and held the shutout. This game was all but over by the 80th minute.
A solid, but forgettable win doesn't become memorable unless something bizarrely fantastic happens. Columbus had made all three substitutions by the time Philadelphia threw everything forward in an effort to salvage some pride and and a collision in the box would set the stage for the bizarrely fantastic.
During the collision, Hesmer fell awkwardly on his shoulder and stayed down. The trainers rushed on and Hesmer tried to gut it out when he finally came to his feet, but it was clear he wasn't going to be able to continue. Out of subs, the team turned to a field player to play goalkeeper. Midfielder Eddie Gaven was tasked to close out the game in the 85th minute. He quickly pulled on Andy Gruenebaum's gloves and keeper jersey as he setup between the pipes.
Now what's so notable about a five minute appearance in goal? The rare field player goalkeeper causes such mental dissonance. It starts with the jersey that isn't theirs. There is a good chance this elite athlete will look as helpless as if you or I were facing shots. Mike Magee did it for the L.A. Galaxy. John Terry and Rio Ferdinand did in England. All notable examples of the field player keeper.
The Union wanted to test the novice keeper and pushed forward. Sebastien Le Toux found space at the top of the box from 20 yards out and let it rip. Poor Eddie never had a chance as the ball was ripped so hard that it rebounded back out. Now the lead was 3-1 and there was the glimmer that a vital three points were slipping away.
The Union took every half chance at Gaven. He parried a close angle shot right before stoppage time. A moment later, he corralled a long, hopeful, flighted ball into the box. Another long distance rip went wide of the goal mouth. The home side would ease the pressure and kill off the clock without too much more trouble. Columbus closed out the 2010 season with a win.
The final line? Five minutes, three shots faced, two saves, one goal allowed. Not bad for a field player.
Another interested observer was a little more critical of Gaven's performance.
Eddie G blows our shutout and still gets the love?!? https://t.co/k0edhwCZ36— William Hesmer, CFP® (@williamhesmer) September 15, 2015
Hesmer lost his shutout and was knocked out of action for the rest of the season with a broken collarbone. Gruenebaum would take on the Rapids in the playoffs. Gaven's goals against average stayed at 18.00, but he'll always have this save.