For the first time since 2012, when they were an expansion side, Detroit City heads into the season without a goalkeeper who’s made an appearance for the club. The baton passed seamlessly from Jeremy Clark to Bret Mollon to Alex Bouillennec , and it will now have to be picked up by someone new.
The presumed frontrunner is Seattle Pacific’s Cody Lang. Lang is reminiscent of Bouillennec, a 6’4” D-II athlete with an impressive statline, most notably his 9 goals allowed in 18 starts and .868 save percentage this past year. He helped SPU to a GNAC title in 2015, he’s been named to the all-conference first team in each of his three seasons, and is his conference’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year.
Robbie Beckwell of UDM joins college teammates Matt Ybarra, Spiro Pliakos and Tyler Moorman on the City roster. At just 5’9” and with only 4 career starts for the Titans, he’s almost a complete unknown quantity. As he’s currently the only other keeper on the roster, however, he’s in line to see a decent amount of action.
Despite being a total newcomer, Lang should be a solid #1. One key will be how quickly he forms an understanding with the four defenders in front of him. Since communication and organization of the defense was one of Bret Mollon’s greatest strengths, both keepers should benefit greatly from his coaching this summer.
One Reason to Be Excited 😀
By the end of last season, Alex Bouillennec had grown to the point where many supporters were entertaining thoughts of him as City’s starting keeper if/when the club eventually made the move to a professional league. Judging from all available evidence, Lang shouldn’t be too far off of that level, and he may even surpass it. He has comparable size and experience, and his save percentage was actually better than Bouillennec’s in his only year at Saginaw Valley St. – .868 to .756.
One Reason to Worry 😕
As with centerback, the current depth situation here is not ideal. It’s obviously less of an issue with goalkeeper since there’s only one starter, but it’s essential for at least one more to be added to the team, even if it’s only to compete with Beckwell for the #2 spot.
Player to Watch
Lang, and not just by default. He comes in with an impressive resumé of stats and accolades, and his height is perfect for the position. He’s a bit of a mystery man since, at the time of this writing, his school hadn’t allowed any requests for interviews, but I’d be surprised if he doesn’t turn in a quality season for City.