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Top five saves from the 2023 MLS season

The 2023 Major League Soccer season saw goalkeepers across both conferences come up huge for their respective sides to give themselves a chance at winning.

It’s easy to get excited about the top goals scored during a campaign, but we can’t forget how important a reliable goalkeeper that can make an improbable save is. A couple legendary goalkeepers crack the top five as well as a shot-stopper in his first season in the North American top flight.

Here’s the top five saves from the 2023 MLS season.

Just about everything here signaled that Dayne St. Clair wasn’t going to keep out the headed effort from Jeremy Ebobisse. But still, like he’s done at the international level for Canada, St. Clair rose to the occasion.

He was already on his heels and falling into his own goal, but he still managed to pull off an incredible save to deny San Jose from taking the lead late on.

Philadelphia Union’s Andre Blake was bound to make the list at some point given his impressive save catalogue that he compiles every season.

Although it seems more straightforward since veteran forward Christian Benteke essentially heads the ball at the ground, it’s more difficult than you think. Blake was probably thinking that the DC striker was going to aim higher to find the back of the net.

But instead, Blake, as he was falling into his own net, remained strong enough to parry the ball out of harm’s way for his side.

Roman Celentano’s rise with FC Cincinnati has been one for the ages.

Not only did he made this mind-boggling reaction save in the 93rd minute when his team were up 3-2, but he came up clutch in one of Cincinnati’s biggest games of the season — the Hell is Real Derby.

Celentano really had no right to be making this save despite how much he’s improved. He made himself big and tried to put off the Crew’s Steven Moreira and created his own luck that saw jump over the crossbar to safety.

Another MLS veteran makes the list in the form of Houston Dynamo’s Steve Clark.

Now, you’d expect any goalkeeper to keep out the first shot, but Clark’s recovery for the second shot in such a short timeframe is what is really impressive here. To make things even more dramatic, the ball rolls slowly off Clark’s fingertips before bouncing off the post as the 37-year-old successfully recovered the ball.

Yohei Takaoka

Yohei Takaoka had the best save of the year. / Melinda Meijer/ISI Photos/GettyImages

In his first season in MLS after joining from Japanese side Yokohoma F. Marinos, Yohei Takaoka didn’t let anyone down.

In fact, he came up clutch with the best save of the season against the five-time MLS Cup winners LA Galaxy. The first save was already a great reaction stop, but his ability to track back and paw the ball out just before it fully crossed the goal line is nothing short of astounding.

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