It can be hard for a backup goalkeeper to find minutes with any club, especially one like New York City FC’s 2018 squad. While being sent to the other side of the continent on loan isn’t ideal for a player looking to earn first team minutes, Andre Rawls has made the most of his minutes thus far.
Through six United Soccer League appearances, Rawls is the best goalkeeper in the league.
NYCFC announced on March 15th that Rawls would join USL side Orange County SC on a season-long loan, with the MLS side reserving the right to recall the keeper at any point. San Antonio FC is City’s USL affiliate, but the Alamo City club retained the services of 2017 USL Goalkeeper of the Year Diego Restrepo for their 2018 campaign.
Orange County’s first two matches resulted in a 1-1 draw with Phoenix Rising FC and 0-1 loss to Sacramento Republic FC.
Since those matches, Rawls and the OC squad haven’t given up a single goal.
With a month straight of clean sheets, Rawls leads the USL with 4. The 26-year-old keeper also leads the USL Western Conference in saves with 18, which matches Evan Louro’s Eastern Conference total for New York Red Bulls II.
The most impressive performance put on by Rawls is likely OC’s most recent match, a 3-0 victory in San Antonio on April 14. Rawls recorded 8 saves on his way to a clean sheet, earning USL Team of the Week honors.
In a league with so many teams, it can be hard for individual players to be rewarded for their efforts publicly in USL. While he may not make many headlines, Rawls is proving NYCFC made the right decision in keeping his rights for the 2018 season.
After 10 days of rest, Rawls will likely get his next opportunity to increase his league-leading stats on Wednesday, April 25th when Orange County faces Rio Grande Valley Toros FC in South Texas. Should you want to see for yourself, all USL matches are available as part of the ESPN+ subscription, or for free seven days later on the league’s YouTube channel.