Choosing a man of the match is not always particularly easy, but Jeff Attinella made it a simple task with his RSL-best performance against Vancouver Whitecaps in a 2-1 loss on Saturday.
There was cause for concern when Attinella was handed the start, though only truly because Nick Rimando's absence hadn't been discussed in the press. It quickly emerged that it was to give Rimando a rest, and it's hard to argue with that — he hadn't taken a break after the World Cup and other international duty, and it was likely wearing on him.
But with Jeff Attinella starting, there was as much cause for confidence as there was for initial concern, and that remained the case over the 90 minutes of the match. His biggest moment came when he stopped Pedro Morales from the penalty spot, diving to his right and pushing the ball toward the touchline.
Throughout, Attinella was commanding, aware, and calm. He may not be Nick Rimando, but on his day, he's showed himself to be a strong MLS-level goalkeeper. Considering, too, that his starts have rarely come in bunches, matches like this one lend even more credence to his suitability for the team and the league.
He's not likely to play much more this season in competitive play, so this sort of performance is exactly the sort of one to hang on the wall when looking toward next season. And if he is conscripted into action, he'll have the confidence necessary to continue playing at a high level.