In their short existence, Inter Miami has had more goalkeeping issues than one could count. Until the arrival of Nick Marsman in 2021, it seemed like any shot from the opposing team would find the back of the net. An injury set Marsman back, and an injury to his backup, Clement Diop, created an opportunity for the third-string keeper – 25-year-old Drake Callender – to shine.
Callender played all of 2021 with Fort Lauderdale CF, but made his way up to Inter Miami due to Marsman's injury. It took injuries to both veteran keepers for Callender to find the field, but he is making the most of his opportunity. His debut against FC Cincinnati was anything but great, conceding three goals. He would sit out the next five matches until a return on May 7.
Once he returned to the lineup, Callender was on another level. He had a 6-save performance against Charlotte FC, and followed that up with back-to-back clean sheets against the Philadelphia Union and New York Red Bulls. In his last five matches, In the last five matches, Callender has 25 saves, two clean sheets and just four goals allowed.
For his 8-save performance against Philadelphia in Week 12, Callender was named to the bench of the MLS Team of the Week. With his clean sheet against the New York Red Bulls, Callender was awarded with the starting goalkeeper spot in the Week 13 MLS Team of the Week. In addition, he was named Inter Miami's Man of the Match in both of those games. An incredible two weeks for what was once a third-string keeper.
When it comes to statistics, Callender is up there with the best of them. His 80% save percentage is the third-best in the MLS, saving 28 of 35 shots on target against him. Callender's 33.3% clean sheet percentage is 7th in the MLS, and his 1.17 goals allowed per 90 minutes ranks 11th. The best part is that most of these stats are a bit skewed due to the three conceded goals in his debut. To think that Callender was sitting on the bench as a third-choice keeper just months ago.
With Inter Miami hitting its form in the last couple of months, and new stars in Callender and Leo Campana, this season looks like it could possibly be the one for the Herons. Something about this team just feels different than years past, and now, with a potential MLS Goalkeeper of the Year award winner in net, the possibilities seem endless.