Depth is a word tossed around liberally when describing Columbus Crew SC in recent years. It seems “depth” can now be substituted for the phrase “embarrassment of riches.” That’s what Crew SC now have at the goalkeeping position.
Thursday afternoon the club announced it signed former Orlando City goalkeeper Joe Bendik for the 2019 season. The 29-year-old goalkeeper makes his way to Central Ohio in exchange for $50,000 Targeted Allocation Money.
“We are pleased to welcome Joe Bendik to Columbus Crew SC,” said Crew SC interim general manager Pat Onstad in a press release. “Joe is a talented, veteran goalkeeper that brings significant experience in this League to our group and we are excited to integrate him into the team and our goalkeeping corps. We look forward to Joe pushing Zack Steffen, Jon Kempin and Ben Lundgaard as we begin the 2019 season.”
It’s not expected that Bendik will challenge for starting minutes at least not initially. Columbus returns the 2018 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year in Zack Steffen, but Steffen will transfer to Manchester City in July, as announced earlier this month. Bendik adds quality competition for Kempin and a second-year keeper Lundgaard as the trio may have to fill the void left by for Steffen when he finally departs for England.
The 29 year old brings seven years of Major League Soccer experience to Columbus. He began his career in MLS with the Portland Timbers, making three starts and registering 11 saves. The goalkeeper moved on to Toronto FC from 2013-2015, making 73 regular season appearances and earning nine clean sheets. But Bendik is best known for his time in Orlando, making 92 appearances, registering 13 shutouts and 316 saves from 2016-2018.
Bendik also spent time abroad, making nine appearances for Norwegian side Sogndal Fotball and helping the club gain promotion to the first division in 2010.
His resume doesn’t stop there. Bendik was also a member of the United States Under-17 and U-18 Men’s National Team. In 2005, the goalkeeper helped the U-17 side to the finals of the Ballymena International Tournament in Northern Ireland. The following year, Bendik helped the U.S. U-18 side to a fourth-place finish in the 2006 Slovakia Cup.
Thursday’s signing of Bendik marks the second signing for interim general manager Pat Onstad. Crew SC announced the permanent transfer of left back Milton Valenzuela last week. Both signings addressed current or future needs of the club. These are both positive moves as the Black & Gold build toward 2019.