SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA (KTSM) – It was a night that goalkeeper Logan Ketterer, and fans of El Paso Locomotive FC aren’t soon to forget.
Called up on a short term loan to Portland Timbers FC on Tuesday following a barrage of injuries to Portland’s goalkeepers, Ketterer started and made his MLS debut on Saturday night against the San Jose Earthquakes, and produced a clean sheet, four saves, and a dramatic penalty save in a 2-0 Timbers victory.
Adding to the wild MLS debut, Ketterer became the first Timbers keeper to ever save a penalty kick and record a shutout in the same MLS match.
“It’s been a crazy week, I got in late, midnight Tuesday,” Ketterer said. “I went to training on Wednesday trying to learn as many names, play styles, formations, set pieces, everything. It’s been a lot of studying, video, and hard work from the guys in front trying to get healthy. This is a great end to a great week.”
Portland found its way on to the scoreboard first in the fifth minute on a goal from Yimmi Chara, a perfect start to the match for everyone involved, including Ketterer, allowing Timbers FC to play with a lead from the early going.
Ketterer wasn’t challenged very much in the first half, but made two saves in the opening 45 minutes. The most important came in the 32nd minute, off of a free kick from the left side. The ball was lofted in towards the far post, forcing Ketterer to punch it over to avoid a goal. Timbers led 1-0 at the break.
The second half was where Ketterer became an instant folk legend in Portland. The Timbers conceded a penalty kick, and in the 62nd minute Ketterer was called on to do what he does better than arguably any keeper in USL Championship: make a penalty save.
With MLS’s all-time leading scorer Chris Wondolowski staring him down from the spot, Ketterer out-witted the former U.S. Men’s National Team striker, stopping the shot with dive low and to his left. The man who had arrived to the Timbers just four days earlier was mobbed by his new teammates.
It’s a scene Locomotive FC fans have become accustomed to; since 2019, Ketterer has made five penalty saves for El Paso. It’s part of what makes him an elite keeper in USL Championship. Overall, in three years in with Locomotive FC, Ketterer has recorded 22 shutouts in 55 appearances, including nine in 16 matches in 2020.
“I’ve seen a lot of penalties the last year or two, so that’s good experience to draw on,” Ketterer said. “The most important thing as a goalkeeper is that I expected to make the save. It was a great moment for me.”
After the PK save, Ketterer’s work wasn’t done. He made another fantastic save on a Wondolowski header late in the match, once again diving to his left to push the shot away.
Marvin Loria gave Ketterer and the Timbers some breathing room in the 74th minute with a second goal, to give Portland that 2-0 final score line, moving the Timbers into 9th place in MLS’s Western Conference with six points.
How long Ketterer will be on loan with Portland is still a moving target. Two of the Timber’s keepers are expected back soon, including starter Steve Clark, who is currently being evaluated on a week-by-week basis after suffering a thigh injury.
If the Timbers still expect to be thin in goal next Saturday when they host LA Galaxy in front of a nationally televised audience on ABC, it is well within the realm of possibility that Ketterer could be between the woodwork again for that showdown at Providence Park.
Locomotive FC technical manager Mark Lowry told the El Paso media on Thursday that it was a short term loan, that came about because Los Locos didn’t have a game this week. El Paso will host Rio Grande Valley next Saturday, the same day Timbers play the Galaxy.
Expect the two clubs to put their heads together very soon to discuss whether or not Ketterer will be staying with Portland beyond Saturday’s masterful performance. It certainly depends on the Timbers’ injury situation, but if he’s needed again in a week’s time Ketterer has proven that he’s got what it takes to be successful at the highest level of American soccer.