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Should Jeff Attinella be the Portland Timbers' starting goalkeeper in 2018? You be the GM

The Oregonian, Portland, Ore. — Jamie Goldberg The Oregonian, Portland, Ore.

Nov. 14--We are opening our "You be the Portland Timbers GM 2017" series with a look at the goalkeepers. Over the next week, we will ask our readers to step into the shoes of Portland's general manager and voice their opinions about every player on the Timbers' 2017 roster.

After going almost five years without making a regular season appearance for the Timbers, Jake Gleeson earned the starting goalkeeper role in 2016 and entered the 2017 season as Portland's top goalkeeper. But the Timbers also made the decision to bring in longtime Real Salt Lake backup goalkeeper Jeff Attinella ahead of the season to push Gleeson and create competition at the goalkeeper position.

While Gleeson continued to demonstrated his shot blocking talent in 2017, he was inconsistent in the the net early in the season. He made 21 starts this year, recording 52 saves, three clean sheets and a goals against average of 1.43.

Gleeson sustained a hamstring injury against Toronto FC on Aug. 12, which gave Attinella a chance to prove himself in the net. Attinella made the most of it, recording a shutout and winning MLS Save of the Week in his first two starts after Gleeson's injury. While Attinella struggled in moments throughout the year as well, he took over the starting goalkeeper from Gleeson in August with a string of strong performances. Attinella started in Portland's final nine games of the regular season, recording four clean sheets and a goals against average of 0.78 during that span. During 2017, Attinella made a total of 14 appearances, recording 45 saves and a goals against average of 1.43.

Behind Attinella and Gleeson, the Timbers signed Kendall McIntosh as their third-string goalkeeper in 2017. McIntosh did not make an appearance for the Timbers, but made 20 starts for a struggling T2 side, conceding 43 goals and posting a save percentage of 67.7.

The Oregonian/OregonLive's Timbers reporter Jamie Goldberg evaluates each of the three keepers below. Read the evaluations, vote in our polls and share your thoughts about Portland's three goalkeepers in the comments section.

Jeff Attinella

Jamie Goldberg says: Attinella took over the starting role in August after Gleeson injured his hamstring and never relinquished his No. 1 spot. He had his best run of form as a Timber in the final nine games of the regular season to help Portland earn the top spot in the Western Conference. Still, while Attinella demonstrated his talent as a shot blocker and had some big moments for Portland, he also had a handful of miscues throughout the season. He struggled at times when he had to come out on crosses and was unable to make a stop on a challenging, but savable strike from Mauro Manotas in the second leg of the Western Conference semifinals. While the inconsistency might raise questions about Attinella's viability as Portland's starting goalkeeper moving forward, Attinella did well overall in the net and is on an affordable contract. I think the Timbers may consider adding a new starting keeper in the offseason, but signing a top-notch goalkeeper would limit Portland's ability to make moves at other key positions due to the salary cap and might not be the best use of Portland's resources. Stay.

Jake Gleeson

Jamie Goldberg says: Gleeson entered the season as Portland's No. 1 goalkeeper after proving himself in the lineup and taking over the starting role in 2016. It was clear in 2016 and, at times, in 2017 that Gleeson is capable of being one of the top shot stoppers in MLS. But Gleeson was inconsistent this season. He finished the year with a save percentage of 62.7. Gleeson waited five years to earn a place in the starting lineup with the Timbers before losing that spot this year. Still, Gleeson is an affordable and more than competent backup goalkeeper that could push Attinella for the starting role in 2018. If Gleeson is willing to accept a possible role on the bench once again, he is definitely worth the investment from the Timbers. Stay.

Kendall McIntosh

Jamie Goldberg says: McIntosh earned a spot on Portland's roster this season after a standout year with T2 in 2016. McIntosh did not make an appearance for the Timbers this season, but did make 20 starts with T2, posting a 2.15 goals against average as the club finished dead-last in a highly disappointing USL season. McIntosh has shown athleticism and talent as a shot stopper and his poor statistics this season are in large part due to T2's terrible form overall. Still, the Timbers need a No. 3 goalkeeper that is continuing to grow and improve and demonstrating that he can be a part of their succession plan down the road. It might be time for Portland to give a new young goalkeeper that chance. Go.

-- Jamie Goldberg -- jgoldberg@oregonian.com

503-853-3761 -- @jamiebgoldberg

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