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Hartman Nearing Saves Record

Another MLS story not getting enough press: Kevin Hartman’s assault on the All-Time Saves Record…

Hartman, 33, spent his entire career with the Galaxy until moving to the Wiz last year. In a legendary career spanning over 250 games, he has won two MLS cups and the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Award (1999). Despite being infrequently selected for national team duty, Hartman has had a career most American keepers would envy.

In fact, Hartman owns almost every significant career statistical record for MLS keepers. He has the most wins (127) and postseason wins (22), the most clean sheets (67) and postseason clean sheets (14), the most postseason saves (151) and he is second in goals against average (1.22 per game) to only Pat Onstad (who arguably has always played behind a better defense).

One record Hartman does not own, but may soon, is that of all-time leader in total saves. Hartman is currently at 1013 for his career and is trailing only Scott Garlick (1021) and Tony Meola (1136).

U.S. soccer fans remember Meola as the ponytailed media darling of the 1994 World Cup campaign. U.S. soccer fans would like to forget Meola’s ill-fated bid to become a kicker for the New York Jets.

Hartman has never had a ponytail as far as I know, though he has sported what appear to be frosted locks. He has also apparently never tried placekicking. Maybe it was these deficiencies that led MLS “experts” to award Meola a spot on the All-Time MLS XI Team instead of Hartman.

In any event, Hartman needs just 123 saves to break Meola’s record. Now, the question is, will Hartman get there?

Despite playing every minute of every game last year, Hartman had 110 saves, which if repeated, would place him just short of the record.

However, I believe Hartman will be busier in 2008. Nick Garcia and Jose Burciaga, Jr. are both gone, and the inexperienced Tyson Wahl and rookie Chance Myers are expected to see alot of playing time. Hartman may give up more goals in ’08, but he will also likely increase his saves total.

I bet Hartman gets to the record this year (just barely). If he does there can be little doubt that he belongs in any discussion regarding MLS’s best keepers of all time.