The 2022 MLS NEXT Pro season may be winding down, but many top saves from some of the league’s exciting young goalkeepers will live on into the future.
North Texas SC goalkeeper Antonio Carrera not only enjoyed an impressive summer with the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team, but also finished as one of the top shot-stoppers in MLS NEXT Pro. Carrera’s stellar save against in-state rivals Houston Dynamo 2 this past July won MLS NEXT Pro’s Save of the Year.
The 18-year-old stretched to his right to deny Dynamo Dos attacker Marcelo Palomino from finding the top corner, delivering the Save of the 2022 season. North Texas would proceed to earn one point from its 3-3 draw with Dynamo Dos, being edged 5-4 on spot kicks.
Carrera finished the season with 17 combined appearances for North Texas SC, posting four clean sheets and making 56 saves between the regular season and playoff action. He also remains one of the top prospects for FC Dallas and will certainly be in the mix for future involvement after an impressive campaign.
Carrera beat out several top goalkeepers for the award, edging Toronto FC’s Luka Gavran, RNY FC’s Caique, and Orlando City B’s Javier Otero for the honor. Gavran and Caique were influential in their clubs’ qualification into the MLS NEXT Pro Playoffs, while Otero finished the season with 100 saves made.
We asked all MLS NEXT Pro fans to vote on Twitter for this season’s award and Carrera’s effort earned him roughly 77.9% of the 470 votes.
“Being nominated with all these other keepers and their exceptional saves is a great honor,” Carrera said about winning the Save of the Year award. “It is something nice to remember from this great season. Not just my save but seeing the competitiveness and quality of keepers in this inaugural MLS NEXT Pro season is something very nice to see.
“Winning the first-ever MLS NEXT Pro Save of the Year is a great honor,” he added. “It’s a little bonus that is added to this great season we had with the boys. It’s a nice way to remember this first year.”