Minnesota United coach Adrian Heath swears his club's four goalkeepers are MLS' deepest collection.
Yet only one can play.
Sunday's surprise starter, Dayne St. Clair, made his case in a 1-0 shutout victory that denied the New York Red Bulls, in their home opener, their first 3-0 season start.
He made eight saves of all varieties and remained perfect defending penalty kicks in his young career. St. Clair has not allowed a goal on four regular-season penalty kicks, after his stop on Red Bulls star Patryk Klimala in the 14th minute Sunday.
On Monday, St. Clair was named MLS Player of the Week for Sunday's clean sheet.
The Loons won their first game after two season-opening draws when striker Luis Amarilla's 51st-minute volley goal stood as the winner.
St. Clair learned four hours before opening kick he'd start, after Tyler Miller fell ill with the flu. In a pregame TV interview, he said, "I think I'm good enough to play, and I'm going to show that today."
He did, reminding Heath and his staff they have two MLS-quality starters as well as veteran Eric Dick and homegrown teenage prospect Fred Emmings.
Afterward, Heath was asked if – or when – he'll have to choose to between Miller and St. Clair.
"Not really, no," he said. "We've got four goalkeepers, and we're not giving them away. We will make decisions as and when we feel fit. But trust me, you can't have enough good goalkeepers. So if we keep them, we keep them. If somebody offers us enough money, then maybe we'd have to think about it.
"But at this moment in time, I've got no thoughts of trading any of them – or selling."
Miller turned 29 on Saturday and is beginning his fifth MLS season as a starter. The seventh player taken in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft, St. Clair is 24 and beginning a new contract in his fourth season. He led the Loons to the 2020 Western Conference final after Miller underwent mid-summer hip surgeries.
Heath credits St. Clair's 6-3 penalty-kick success to his height, range and ability to wait out the shooter until the last moment. Goalkeeper coach Stewart Kerr's scouting doesn't hurt, either.
"When players see my size in the net, hopefully the goal feels a little bit smaller," St. Clair said. "My reaction time is great, so I can wait for the striker to go instead of having to guess earlier."
St. Clair said he has let Heath know his ambitions, and he's hopeful his World Cup-bound Canadian national team reconsiders him again, too.
"Obviously, it's a World Cup year for me and with Canada doing so well, I want to get my name back in that fold and be a part of those camps," St. Clair said. "Club football is big, but on a bigger scale, being part of that World Cup roster is definitely one of my goals. I know in order to do that, I need to be playing games."
St. Clair said he has expressed his "frustrations" to Heath that he was not named starter at season's start. He believed he was good enough in preseason to earn it.
"He's got a lot of inner belief in his own ability, and he's a confident boy in general," Heath said. "He's not happy being second fiddle all season, and he has let me know that. But that's part and parcel of my job. I have to pick one goalkeeper. It's not like he's an outfield player where you can play with positions. It's tough for him.
"We really like him. That's why we drafted him in the first place. He's still really young for a goalkeeper. He's got tremendous upside."