Mitch Hildebrandt might be a name you know. More likely for an embarrassing moment that made it into ESPN’s “Not Top Play”s back in 2015. Then, Hildebrandt gave up a sloppy turnover for a Jacksonville goal while playing goalie for Minnesota United FC.
But Hildebrandt is back. This time, the clip is on the exact opposite side of ESPN’s “Top Play” spectrum. The 27-year-old keeper has since moved to the newfound FC Cincinnati to help keep things clean in their inaugural USL season. And boy, if he isn’t up for the task.
This keeper seems to be of a strong mind that the impact he leaves on the game will be a highlight reel, not the lowlights.
Futbol Club Cincinnati (is anyone really sure how we feel about this name?) started their season with two wins and two losses before this match in Toronto. Toronto FC II started the season with a loss, a win and two ties, so they were definitely trying to get something going in front of their home crowd.
However, Hildebrandt had his own ideas.
In the 84th minute, with the game tied at 1-1, TFCII’s Sal Bernal picked up the ball right on the corner of the box. No hesitation, the young Mexican settled himself and fired an absolute rocket right at the upper 90. On a different day, Bernal would have collected a highlight of his own.
But this wasn’t a different day. It was April 24th, and Mitch Hildebrandt was in goal.
Hildebrandt reacted beautifully and parried the ballistic shot wide. However, it was right into the path of the Gambian, Bubacarr Jobe. Jobe redirected the ball back on goal with a header, but Hildebrandt’s quick feet got him to the ball before it could cross the line.
Cue a fancy pirouette and some quick hands, and Hildebrandt’s highlight save was complete.
FC Cincinnati slotted another to win the game 2-1, making Hildebrandt’s save all the more important. Good on you, Mitch.
I’m done with the description, just watch this clip. And that video has the entire match if you want to see how this nail-biter played.