Major League Soccer announced tonight that Orlando City goalkeeper Pedro Gallese has won the 2022 MLS Save of the Year Award. Established in 2009, the award was voted on by fans on mlssoccer.com. The award was for Gallese’s stop on Dom Dwyer during the teams 1-1 draw against Atlanta United FC on July 17. Gallese becomes the second Lion to win the award, joining Joe Bendik in 2016.
After earning a road point in Colorado during the midweek, the Lions took an early lead in that game when Mauricio Pereyra scored off a free kick in the 10th minute. The Lions held the lead late into the second half, but Juan Jose Purata equalized in the 71st minute.
The hosts continued to push for a goal when the save occurred in the 82nd minute. After receiving a flicked pass by Thiago Almada, Dwyer’s second touch was a shot on goal. It was a great attempt by the second-half substitute and Dwyer’s reaction showed that he thought it was in. But Gallese flew across his goal and got his right palm to the ball, keeping it out of the net. That proved to be pivotal as it allowed Orlando City to claim a valuable point away from home.
The 32-year-old shot stopper was key to Orlando City’s success this season, completing a career-high nine clean sheets in all competitions, including one against the Sacramento Republic in the 2022 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final. In his 36 starts in all competitions, Gallese ended the year with 88 saves while conceding 51 goals.
Gallese’s honor marks the third time that an Orlando City player has won an MLS end-of-the-season award. In addition to the Save of the Year awards won by Gallese and Bendik, Cyle Larin took home Rookie of the Year honors in 2015 after scoring 17 league goals during his debut season.
Bendik took home the best save prize in 2016 for his late first-half save against Sporting Kansas City on the road on May 15. The Lions lost that game 2-1 and, ironically, Dwyer scored against Bendik that day for the hosts, so the former Lion has been involved on the other side in both games for which an Orlando City goalkeeper has won MLS Save of the Year.