Houston Dynamo goalkeeper Pat Onstad was honored with the inaugural Degree Men Save of the Year as voted on by fans, Major League Soccer announced today. Onstad’s winning play was a double save on a penalty kick and the rebound on April 19, 2009.
Onstad won four individual and one combined Save of the Week honor during the regular season, but his winning play was actually one that came before the league decided to honor one save each week. On April 19, with the Dynamo winless through its first four games and clinging to a 1-0 lead against the Colorado Rapids, Onstad rose to the occasion in the 84th minute. Facing Conor Casey – later named to the MLS Best XI – on a penalty kick, Onstad dove to his right but reached back with his left hand to save Casey’s initial shot. The ball caromed off the crossbar and back into the field of play, and Onstad got to his feet and shifted to his left-hand post in time to save a follow-up header from Terry Cooke and clear that rebound. The save preserved the win and keyed a club-record-tying 11-game unbeaten streak. It was also part of a 491-minute shutout streak, the longest in MLS this season.
Onstad, 41, is the all-time MLS leader in goals against average (1.05) and remains at the top of his game as the league’s oldest player, competing in all 3,030 of the Dynamo’s minutes in MLS play, including the playoffs. He led the league with 13 wins and tied for second with 10 shutouts during the 2009 regular season, helping the Dynamo tie for the fewest goals allowed in Major League Soccer. Onstad followed up his regular season with career bests in goals against average (0.55) and shutouts (2) and a 313-minute shutout streak, again tops in the league, in the postseason.