It's rare that MLS teams, or really any teams, have to go to their third goalkeeper. Injuries or suspensions sometimes force the third keeper to dress and sit on the bench, but he really only gets playing time when this team's goalkeeping situation is worse than the Red Bulls (there is such a thing). The Los Angeles Galaxy's goalkeeper situation is fine, with Donovan Ricketts and Josh Saunders giving them one of the best one-twos in the league, but they've gotten smacked by the injury and suspension stick. A broken forearm for Ricketts and red card suspension for Saunders (because Steven Lenhart is the league's biggest clown) have forced LA to their third goalkeeper, Brian Perk.
Who is Brian Perk? Well, he's a local kid raised in Rancho Santa Margarita who went to UCLA. He also has an impressive resume for a 21-year-old, having started for the United States at the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup. He hasn't had much of a chance as a professional though. Drafted by the Philadelphia Union last year, Perk appeared just twice, both as substitutes in friendlies before being released.
The Galaxy picked him up immediately after he was released, but he never got a crack until Tuesday's U.S. Open Cup match where he gave up one goal in the LA win. Now he's looking at a start on Fourth of July in front of a packed house at the Home Depot Center. The match is being nationally televised by ESPN2 and he's facing a Seattle Sounders team that is unbeaten in their last seven matches. Good luck, kid.
Being a NCAA All-American at UCLA and starter at the U-20 World Cup, Perk clearly has some amount of talent. He has outstanding reflexes and even when he showed up at UCLA as a freshman, he was already being praised for his ability to read the game and organize a team. He's also a fierce competitor unafraid to take out anything in his way to the ball. The problem is his size. Just 5'11'' Perk isn't an imposing figure in goal and for all his determination coming off his line, he can be swallowed up by the masses in front of goal.
As far as third goalkeepers go, Perk is pretty good. You won't find many third goalkeepers who have represented their country in major international tournaments, but Perk's size is a concern. Perk's professional inexperience and youth is equally concerning. Concerns or not, Perk will be in goal for the Galaxy tonight as the Sounders. If nothing else it will be interesting.