When Evander’s head connected with Boli’s cross, the Quakes were destined to go down to the Timbers.
With a fantastic save, Daniel rescued the Quakes once again. It was another moment of brilliance from the Quakes’ new hero.
Since returning from his hamstring injury, Daniel has been one of the best players in MLS. The Brazilian has been key to the Quakes’ defense, pushing them to new heights.
With multiple man-of-the-match awards in his locker, Daniel’s making a run for the best keeper award. The stats show one of the most underrated but high-performing keepers in MLS. Really out of nowhere, Daniel went from an unknown to a potential all-star.
Having beaten out Marcinkowski for the starting job, Daniel is now a key cog of the Quakes. When he is in goal, the defense is clearly more at ease, even if he doesn’t bring the aggressiveness of Marcinkowski. This calmness at the back radiates upwards and gives the whole team trust in the defense.
Very few people could have expected this somewhat random signing to have made such a massive impact thus far.
As each week passes, Daniel continues to cement his status as an elite MLS shot-stopper.
Quakes fans know how vital Daniel is to this side, but the rest of MLS is starting to realize it as well. Each matchday continues to build the statistical case for Daniel’s place amongst MLS elites.
Across 7 games, the Quakes’ keeper has only allowed 5 goals, less than a goal a game. This impressive stat puts Daniel in the 91st percentile of MLS keepers in terms of goals against. Comparatively, Marcinkowski has let in 6 more goals in only four more games played.
Solely looking at goals allowed isn’t the best way to gauge a keeper’s performance. Post-shot expected goals minus goals allowed is a better way of gauging the blocking ability of a keeper. This stat looks at how likely a keeper is to save a shot.
Across MLS, only one percentile of keepers are better than Daniel. The Quakes’ shot-stopper is outperforming MLS icons like Stefan Frei and Brad Guzan. Daniel has shown this ability across his recent games, where he just seems ready to save the team whenever the Quakes are in trouble.
It’s not just these stats that Daniel is dominant in; practically every saving ability has Daniel near the top of the table. The only place where the Brazilian struggles is in his play out of the back. Rarely does the push forward start with him, but lucky for him, Rodrigues helps push the Quakes for him.
Rarely do keepers find success as soon as they arrive in a new league, as it takes time to get acclimated to a new league. Daniel did struggle out of the gates, but he is now pushing to be the best keeper in MLS.
Coming into the season, most fans had Marcinkowski pegged to be the team’s number one. Daniel was seen as a good rotation piece but unlikely to push out the solid American.
During his years as the starter, Marcinkowski became known for his aggressive style of play. Very few crosses would go unchallenged by him. Seeing a keeper so ready to jump off his line to rattle opponents was exciting.
At the same time, this aggressive play invites the opponents to play off any mistake or whiff. When these whiffs happen, the goal is too exposed, making it too easy for opponents to get quality looks in. The team is also much less confident in the defense, as any mistake leads to easy shots by the opponent.
Contrast that with the way Daniel’s play seems to calm his teammates down. It gives more confidence in the whole team’s defensive work.
Preferring to stay in his box and trust his own skills, Daniel is always ready to react to opponents. He doesn’t want the attackers to react to him and gamble on that. The added time to react makes him more confident in stopping any shot.
In turn, this allows the defenders to not have to anticipate any sort of mistake from the keeper. Rodrigues and whoever his partner is are allowed to focus solely on keeping their man in front of them and stopping attacks. There’s no longer a need to cover for the keeper rushing off his line.
Daniel and Marcinkowski are both good MLS keepers, but the Brazilian has become one of the best in the league. Both keepers also play drastically different games, but only Daniel has brought stability to the side.
Over the past few seasons, the Quakes became known for leaking goals; now, with Daniel in the net, they are keeping the goals out. Most expected Daniel to back up Marcinkowski, given how much of an unknown variable he was.
Now, the Brazilian is making a case for the best keeper in MLS.
Photo: San Jose Earthquakes