clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Joe Bendik Is Making a Believer Out of Orlando City Fans

New, 3 comments

Orlando City fans were quick to write off Joe Bendik upon his arrival to town. Now he's earning his keep and their trust.

Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Being goalkeeper for Orlando City might be the hardest job in professional sports (I'm kidding, relax).

But seriously, in Orlando, a city with a history of falling in love with goalkeepers -- Miguel Gallardo and Tally Hall, mostly -- between the pipes is a position of high evaluation.

It hasn't been easy, but Joe Bendik is quickly earning his keep as the starting goalkeeper in Orlando.

When the preseason started, it was hard to find people talking about the goalkeeper situation for the Lions that didn't shut down the notion that Bendik could possibly start over Earl Edwards Jr., who had shown plenty of promise and potential during his brief amount of playing time last season behind Tally Hall.

I won't lie, even I thought it was Edwards Jr.'s job to lose heading into the spring.

And, guess what? Bendik won the job, and we hardly mentioned Earl's name once since the season started.

Through Orlando City's first six games this season, Bendik has yet to give up more than two goals, racking up a total of 19 saves and just eight goals against. He's been nominated for MLS Save of the Week three times in seven weeks, and Lions goalkeeping coach Steve Kerr has even talked about him as a U.S. Men's National Team candidate.

As a team, that Orlando City hasn't given up more than two goals in a game this season is pretty impressive, especially given how wild things can get when it comes to scoring in MLS matches. While Bendik isn't the only reason why Orlando has been good at keeping opponents off the score sheet, he's a big part of it, without a doubt.

With each big save, he's winning over the Orlando City fans that were so quick to write him off.

I mean, just look at what he did against NYCFC.

Kerr had a big part in Bendik coming to Orlando. One of the first things he did upon coming to Orlando to recommend the 26-year-old netminder to Adrian Heath, knowing the team needed a new starting goalkeeper, having had a great relationship with Bendik from their time in Toronto.

The two make a great pairing, and it's a combination that's paying off for Orlando City.

Joe Bendik is quickly earning his keep, and trust, among Orlando City fans -- one save at a time.