What a fun moment this was, provided you left the stadium with your collarbone intact. In the closing minutes of Crew SC’s season finale against Philadelphia, goalkeeper William Hesmer, who had played every regular-season minute to that point, broke his collarbone in an aerial collision with Philly defender Danny Califf. As if that weren’t bad enough, Columbus had already used all three substitutions, meaning a field player had to don the gloves.
Enter Eddie Gaven. The team’s MVP during the 2010 season, Gaven allowed one goal and made two saves to preserve a 3-1 victory.
“I had no idea,” Gaven said of his impromptu goalkeeping appearance. “BC [Brian Carroll] came over to me and said that I was going in goal. I was like, ‘Really?’ I actually thought he was joking around. He said, ‘Yeah, really.’ So I put the gloves on, put the shirt on, said a little prayer, and hoped for the best. I was actually psyched. It’s fun to play goalie and dive around and punt balls as far as you can.”
After allowing a rocket goal by Sebastien Le Toux, which Gaven jokingly blamed on not being able to warm up, he came back to make a pair of saves, including a diving stop to his right.
“I made that save look a little bit harder than it was,” he said. “The ball was little bit to my right, but I dove more than I needed to. It was good.”
After the game, teammate Jason Garey offered this assessment: “First of all, the whole situation was a hilarious sight. The gloves were too big for his hands…the shirt was down to his knees…it was unbelievable. It couldn’t have been any better. The only thing that could have made it funnier is if, after the goal, Eddie would have gone out and started cursing out his defense like a lot of goalies do.”
Footnote: Hesmer was not subbed out of the match—he was technically getting treatment off the field while still an eligible player—so he officially logged the full 2,700 minutes in 2010. (Only 2,695 of them were in goal. That means that in 2010, Hesmer technically totaled five minutes as a field player and one goal scored. Just not in the same game.)