Thousands of goals went up on the board in the USL League Two season - thousands more never made it across the line. This week, we're celebrating those that dedicated their season to stopping that ball from getting into their nets. Here are your nominees for Save of the Year:
Ayuub Ahmed (MOR) vs. Long Island Rough Riders, 5/22: Morris Elite struggled at times this season, but this moment of brilliance from Ahmed will live on forever. A deep cross leading to a header has Ahmed leaning right, expecting a far post strike. It goes to Ahmed's left, and he shifts his body weight while laying out completely to deflect it away. A superstar save.
Brandt Herron (VBU) vs. Northern Virginia FC, 5/7: We're still not quite sure how Herron deflected this out of play. NoVa were putting together a picture perfect attack, freeing up a player on the right side during a fast break. Herron, protecting his near post, braced for a one-on-one battle. The ball is coming in to Herron's right, and without time to dive for it, Herron gets a boot out and deflects it to the side of the goal for a corner.
Bryant Pratt (KHR) vs. Kalamazoo FC, 7/22: Bryant Pratt put on a superstar performance against Kalamazoo FC, and was one of the biggest reasons they made it to a penalty shootout in the first round of the League Two playoffs. The shootout seemed to last forever, with both teams matching each other shot for shot after the fifth round. It wasn't until the tenth round - the 20th penalty kick - that Pratt got in front of the final penalty to advance past Kalamazoo. A reaching save after guessing the right direction sent them through to face Des Moines Menace.
Wessel Speel (LIR) vs. Ventura County Fusion, 8/6: In the 79th minute of the League Two playoff final, Wessel Speel was having a commanding game. One of the most imposing keepers in between the sticks all season, Speel anchored a strong Long Island defense. As Ventura County applied more pressure in the second half, Speel was called on more often. A whipped shot that was headed for the top bins took an acrobatic effort from the keeper as he leapt through the air and deflected the shot over.
Alexander Pearce (CAL) vs. Florida Elite Soccer Academy, 6/11: Pearce put on one of the greatest displays of reflexes of the season in his away game against Florida Elite Soccer Academy. Off a corner kick, Pearce is waiting for a strike inside his six-yard-box to know which way to dive. A clean header sends the ball to what should be a sure goal - except Pearce dove the right way and shut the shot down.