Veteran Goalkeeper Matt Pickens Reaches 100 Career Clean Sheets
NASHVILLE - Nashville SC goalkeeper Matt Pickens wrote his name in America's book of goalkeeping greats, reaching 100 career clean sheets in last night's 1-0 victory over Birmingham Legion FC at First Tennessee Park. Pickens is one of two active American goalkeepers to have reached 100 clean sheets in American professional soccer, the other being Nick Rimando of Major League Soccer's Real Salt Lake.
In over 300 matches played since the start of his professional career in 2004, nearly one third have been shutouts. Pickens accumulated 14 shutouts with the Chicago Fire from 2004 to 2007 before joining the Colorado Rapids for the second half of his MLS career. With the Rapids, he earned 33 clean sheets from 2009-2013. The keeper then took his talents to the Tampa Bay Rowdies in 2014 and posted 28 shutouts before joining Nashville SC in 2018. With 25 shutouts in two seasons with the club, he's posted his highest average of clean sheets per appearance with Nashville.
"I'd be disrespectful or selfish if I didn't have an ode to all of the players and teams that I played with that have worked their tail off in front of me for every 100 of those shutouts including tonight," said Pickens following the win. "Above all, I'm just happy about the three points. It makes it sweeter than just having a point this time of year."
Nashville SC head coach Gary Smith has had a front row seat to Pickens' impressive professional career, coaching him both in MLS with the Colorado Rapids and now in the USL Championship with Nashville SC. Smith and Pickens won the MLS Cup with Colorado in 2009. While the championship match did not go towards Pickens' clean sheet total, the 2-1 victory capped off a stellar season that saw nine total shutouts from the keeper. Now, Smith and Pickens have their eyes on a new trophy as the they push for the Eastern Conference title and league playoffs with Nashville SC.
"If you look back at his career and what he's achieved, he's one of the top goalkeepers, one of the best goalkeepers I've seen in the U.S. in my time," said Smith. "The ability for him to continually move his career on and the amount of games that he's played, I think is a testament to the professional nature of the world that he works in."
Catch Pickens and Nashville SC in action this Saturday, Sept. 21 as the team hosts Pittsburgh Riverhounds FC at First Tennessee Park at 7 p.m. CT. The club has rolled out fan-friendly pricing for the remaining home matches this season.
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