Monday, Orlando City acquired Joe Bendik from Toronto FC for a conditional fourth round pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft. Bendik was a starter for Toronto before being beat out by Chris Konopka this year, after he sustained a foot injury. The stat sheet has Bendik with a 2.08 goals-against average, and he gave up 27 goals with a leaky Toronto back line in front of him. Compare the stat sheet to Tally Hall and this move doesn't look like an upgrade. But, before we get too worked up, let's take a look at what we're getting from Bendik.
Bendik makes excellent decisions in one-on-one situations. He is fearless off his line and has no problem sticking his head down in traffic. That was the first thing I noticed from him after watching game tape. Bendik rarely puts himself in no-man's land because of his decision making. He is quick off his line, making it difficult for strikers to go around him.
Take this save against Orlando City on Aug. 5. Bendik makes a great decision to come out and make it difficult for Cyle Larin, who beat the Toronto back line. He has to make this save near the top of the penalty area, and he doesn't hesitate to put himself into the fray.
Now, when a keeper is aggressive like this, a scouting report may tell a team to dribble around him. Bendik has also shown that he can have patience in one-on-one situations--like this one later on in the season, again against Larin.
Bendik holds his feet and waits for Larin to cut to goal. Many goalkeepers will be aggressive and dive at the striker's feet. Bendik knows in this situation the striker is in control, and he has to react. He waits for Larin to push the ball to give him more of an angle and anticipates a shot. This is great tactical awareness early on in a match.
Like most professional goalkeepers, Bendik is an above average shot stopper. He is going to make the saves you are accustomed to seeing. But, he rarely makes the amazing save that could seal a game.
Bendik spills rebounds and doesn't do well to hold direct balls out of danger. In the first clip above, he does well to come out and make the save, but the rebound goes to Kevin Molino who had a second opportunity.
In this save against Kei Kamara, Bendik makes a good reaction save off a corner but he isn't able to get the ball out of the danger area. His defense does a good job of cleaning up the rebound.
This clip shows both his strengths and his weaknesses. Bendik is caught a little bit out of position, but his quickness and excellent footwork gets him in a better position for the shot. The shot comes at him with some pace, but he spills the rebound right in front of the goal.
Bendik has big shoes to fill for Orlando City after Tally Hall's departure. Orlando City seems to be getting someone who is younger, cheaper, and less injury prone than Hall. Bendik is no stranger to criticism; supporters in Toronto blame him a lot for goals. The Toronto Sun classified him the "Biggest Scapegoat Player," and many claims made by supporters were off base. However, he is now a Lion, and we will see how he battles with Earl Edwards Jr. for the number one spot.