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Zack Steffen wins MLS Goalkeeper of the Year

The Black & Gold’s shot stopper is officially the best in the league.

MLS: Eastern Conference Semifinal-New York Red Bulls at Columbus Crew SC Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Zack Steffen had a great 2018 season with Columbus Crew SC and on Tuesday, he was rewarded for his play on the field when Major League Soccer announced he was named the 2018 MLS Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year. At 23 years old, Steffen is the second-youngest player in MLS history to be named Goalkeeper of the Year. He is also only the second player in Crew SC history to win Goalkeeper of the Year.

“We are extremely proud of Zack for this tremendous honor,” Crew SC head coach Gregg Berhalter said in the press release. “Since Zack arrived at the club in 2016, he has been an excellent role model for young players coming to MLS, continually working to improve as a player, embracing a leadership role within the team and acting as a positive member of the community. I’ve been very proud to watch him develop under the guidance of Pat Onstad over the past three years into one of the top goalkeepers in the League and U.S. Men’s National Team pool and we look forward to his continued improvement in the years to come.”

Steffen was acquired by Crew SC from SC Freiburg in late July of 2016. He spent that season as the backup to starter Steve Clark. Following that year, Clark was not brought back and Steffen won the starting job leading into the 2017 season. That year, the goalkeeper started every game for Columbus and finished with at 1.44 goals against average.

In his second season as the Black & Gold’s starter, Steffen took his game to another level. In 2018, Steffen started 29 games, recording 10 shutouts and a 1.28 goals against average. The 10 shutouts in a season tied Steffen with Jon Busch (2004) and William Hesmer (2008) for second place on team’s list of most shutouts by a player in a single regular season.

Steffen set a new Crew SC record for the longest shutout in regular season action, keeping a clean sheet for 525 minutes. Steffen’s streak is also the eighth-longest regular season shutout streak in MLS history. For his efforts in goal for Columbus, Steffen was named MLS Player of the Month for May. He was also named an MLS All-Star in 2018, playing the second half of the game against Juventus and recording three saves.

The Black & Gold goalkeeper earned the most votes in polling among the three groups of current MLS players, MLS club technical staffs (coaches, technical directors or general managers) and a select group of media members.

After taking home his first major MLS award, Steffen will continue to be vital for Columbus in the MLS Cup playoffs. The goalkeeper came up big for Crew SC in the Knockout Round penalty kick shootout win over D.C. United on Nov. 1 and earned his third career postseason shutout in the 1-0 victory over the New York Red Bulls in Leg 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal on Sunday.

Steffen and his Columbus teammates will be back on the field on Sunday, Nov. 11 in Leg 2 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Red Bulls. That game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET and air on FOX Sports 1.