BRONX, N.Y. – It’s unusual for a goalkeeper to earn widespread praise after conceding four goals, but Djordje Petrović had that rare kind of performance in the New England Revolution’s 4-2 loss to New York City FC on Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.
Petrović faced three first-half penalties – denying an attempt from reigning Golden Boot winner and current MLS leading goal scorer Valentín Castellanos – and registered seven saves while marshalling a Revolution side that played with 10 men from the 43rd minute on following Andrew Farrell’s red card.
Several of those stops were of the highlight reel variety. In fact, NYCFC’s expected goals for the game – measuring the quality and frequency of their chances through the 90 minutes – was a whopping 5.63, meaning Petrović actually performed 1.63 goals better than to be expected based on the shots he faced.
“He’s been absolutely incredible,” DeJuan Jones said of the 22-year-old Serbian, who was unbeaten in MLS play until Saturday afternoon. “The score could have been a lot more lopsided if he didn’t come up with some big time saves in some big time moments. He’s really adapting well to this league and he’s going to continue to show his quality each and every game.”
The most notable save was on the Castellanos penalty, as Petrović held firm while the NYCFC striker tried to fool him with a stutter step, then dove right to push away the shot. At the time that save kept the score level at 1-1 shortly after Gustavo Bou’s first of two goals on the afternoon.
“He’s a big guy in the net, so definitely intimidating for the other team’s strikers trying to take penalty kicks,” said Jones. “I’m not very surprised, because that’s just what he does. But an incredible save.”
It was always going to be a tall task for Petrović to fill the shoes of reigning MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Matt Turner – who made his preseason debut with Arsenal FC yesterday – and it’s still a small sample size with just six MLS appearances under his belt, but early indications are that the Revolution have found a very capable replacement between the pipes.
“He had a great game and I think he’s building week in, week out,” said Henry Kessler, who made his first 90-minute appearance since mid-May. “Hopefully, he continues to play very well like he did today.”