He stood by that today ... however, he also seems to believe that he can get the job done ... and so does goalkeeper coach Tom Dutra.
"He gave up a bad goal," Dutra said. "He knows he gave up a bad goal. But his training hasn’t changed. He still comes out here, performs every day, he works harder than everyone else. … These things happen. It happens in the position. That shot was such an innocent shot. He sees it probably 500 times, 600 times throughout the month, but never have I seen one go through his hands. It just happens. He’s still quality, top class."
I asked Dutra what is usually the first thing to go when an aging keeper begins to lose it.
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"I think the goalkeepers in their own minds, the one thing they have to ask themselves is, 'Are you losing reaction time?' Reaction time is the one thing you start to lose. The game has slowed down for them because they’ve played so many games. But when a keeper starts to slow down, it’s usually reaction time they start to loss. Then obviously the power. You lose a little of your step coming off your line, but it’s no different than an outfield player: You just don’t want to lose that second step. Then all of a sudden now everything starts to go downhill for you."
However, Keller's two cheap goals this season -- one against LA and one against DC last night -- had nothing to do with speed or reaction. He was well-positioned for both, and they simply went on through his hands. I asked Keller about that.
"It’s not like guys are beating me, (and me) thinking ‘I don’t know how I didn’t get there.’ It’s little things. The ball takes a little deflection or a different spin and you think it’s there and it’s not. Frustrating; but physically everything feels great. That’s always the fun part when you’re trying to figure out why a mistake happens and sometimes you’ve just got to chalk it up to if you take enough balls you’re going to make a mistake."
As a side note -- or maybe a significant one -- MLS uses the same ball that has become controversial in this year's World Cup. Keller has acknowledged earlier this season that this ball makes some odd moves in the air. And Dutra expanded on that a bit today.
"They don’t make balls for goalkeepers anymore," he said. "It moves. Your technique is the same in goalkeeping, your foundation is the same, everything is the same, but now the ball starts to move back on you. Maybe now you just block it away, versus trying to catch it. It’s a terrible ball for goalkeepers, a great ball for everyone else."