The San Jose Earthquakes may have had an up-and-down season, but that didn’t stop goalkeeper David Bingham from having an unwaveringly consistent year in goal. Bingham, who turned 27 in late October, quickly rose from Jon Busch’s backup to starter to U.S. National Team call-up to Major League Soccer All-Star in less than two years’ time.
Among all net-minders in Major League Soccer, Bingham was one of just three to start each and every one of the 34 regular season games – joining Joe Bendik of Orlando City SC and Luis Robles of the New York Red Bulls. He was the only one to do so in the fiercely competitive Western Conference.
Among all keepers to start at least 20 regular season matches, Bingham ranked fourth in goals against average (1.16), tied for fourth in shutouts (8) and sixth in saves (106). And while the Earthquakes continuously rotated the backline (see: injuries to Clarence Goodson, Jordan Stewart), Bingham remained a constant force to lead the way.
But despite Bingham’s glaringly obvious success on field for the Quakes, the MLS world, including players, coaches, executives, etc., stunningly left him off the shortlist for Goalkeeper of the Year. Take nothing away from the seasons that Andre Blake, Tim Howard and Robles had, but Bingham’s statistics go toe-to-toe with anyone.
You could argue that Zach MacMath had a comparable, if not better, season than Tim Howard for Colorado. Making the same amount of starts, MacMath had three more wins and allowed six fewer goals.
Blake was spectacular in his first season as the Union’s starter, and very few teams, if any, should be more excited about the future of their goalkeeping position than Philadelphia, but he ultimately allowed 50 goals in 32 starts (1.56 per game), fifth worst among all keepers with at least 30 starts. He would be the first Goalkeeper of the Year with a goals against average above 1.5.
Robles won the award in 2015 with similar numbers to those of this season. Where he clearly reigns superior to Bingham is wins (16 to 8), but the Quakes keeper faced three more shots and allowed five fewer goals.
Taking another step back, Bingham’s career goals against average of 1.15 is fifth best among all keepers in MLS history with at least 60 starts, trailing only Jimmy Nielsen (0.99), Kasey Keller (1.06), Bouna Coundoul (1.13) and Pat Onstad (1.14). The quartet ahead of him has combined to win four Goalkeeper of the Year Awards, but Bingham hasn’t even be voted a finalist in his two years as a starter.
Despite Bingham’s performance not being up for national honors, the Earthquakes do not take his rise up the ranks for granted. The team even went as far as drafting the nation’s top collegiate keeper, Andrew Tarbell, eighth overall back in January as an insurance policy. The move, considered a head-scratcher by some at the time, now seems to be brilliant as Bingham continues to develop and show off his talents on the international stage.
Perhaps in 2017, the rest of Major League Soccer will finally take notice of what the Quakes have realized for a long time.