TUKWILA, Wash. -- In the postgame news conference after a momentum-building 2-1 win against Colorado, Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid was asked to comment on a game-preserving save by his goalkeeper, Kasey Keller.
"Which one?" Schmid responded.
Exactly. Was it the stellar effort in the 19th-minute, where a combination of instincts, footwork and technical know-how allowed Keller to just barely tip a Conor Casey header over the cross bar?
Or maybe in the 62nd minute, when an intuitive reflex-save smothered a clever back-heel flick by Jamie Smith and prevented a rebound?
With every passing week in Seattle's recent turnaround, the 40-year-old captain is robbing some hapless opponent of a goal or two in highlight-reel fashion. And now that he's playing at a high level again, Sounders FC coaches, players and fans can look forward to Keller leading the way for many games to come.
When asked if his recent form has given him the confidence to want to play in 2011, Keller said: "Oh, yeah. Yeah, I felt very comfortable even at the time when I was (expressing doubts) that I could make sure that I played to the level that I want to play at, because I felt great physically.
"There wasn't anything that was telling me in training or even in the games except for the odd mistake, which every player in the world is going to go through the odd mistake. Sometimes, like I said, you just have to get refocused and ready to go, and I feel good about that."
Those doubts, which surfaced after allowing soft goals to D.C. United and Los Angeles, have now been forgotten.Coach Sigi Schmid never had those misgivings and contends Keller is undoubtedly one of the best in MLS.
"I guess you don't want to become used to it, but sometimes Kasey is such a fundamentally sound goalkeeper that you're almost surprised if he doesn't make the save," Schmid said.
Earlier this month Sounders FC general manager Adrian Hanauer said Keller, whose contract expires after this season, will dictate most of his own future in Seattle.
If Keller's teammates had a say, they might lock him up beyond 2011.
"Kasey Keller is such a key piece for us on this team," said Fredy Montero through a translator. "He's a big motivation for us to score more goals."
Added midfielder Steve Zakuani: "I've said from the first day when I came here, he leads by example on and off the field. He's one of the hardest-working guys in training; he doesn't take time off or anything like that. ... That's why he's had the career he's had."
And that career appears to be far from over.