COLUMBUS, Ohio — William Hesmer is not the only Crew player to have scored while wearing a goalkeeper's jersey, although Eddie Gaven’s goal in 2003 was under vastly different circumstances.
Gaven's famous moment is being relived this week after Hesmer became the second 'keeper to score in an MLS match when he put in a corner kick in the 92nd minute Saturday to tie Toronto FC 2-2.
WATCH: Hesmer earns Crew a tie
Gaven set up Hesmer's goal with a corner kick that Chad Marshall headed back to Hesmer. But the 23-year-old midfielder is becoming the Forrest Gump of MLS by being at the scene of three of the strangest goals in league history that involve goalkeepers.
“I’ve got that going for me at least,” Gaven said jokingly.
Two years ago to the day — on Oct. 18 — he was getting ready to enter the match as a late sub at Giants Stadium when New York’s Danny Cepero sent a free kick 81 yards that bounced on the turf and over the head of Crew netminder Andy Gruenebaum to become the first MLS 'keeper to score.
On July 5, 2003, Gaven was a rookie with the MetroStars when coach Bob Bradley told him to take over in goal for Tim Howard to start overtime against D.C. United.
The MetroStars were down to 10 men at RFK Stadium after Bruce Arena’s son, Kenny, had been red-carded in the 35th minute. The side faced further depletion when defender Mark Lisi came up lame as the 10-minute extra period was about to start.
That’s when Bradley came up with a bit of conniving genius to find a loophole in the rule at the time that allowed three field-player substitutions and one for a goalkeeper.
Since the three non-'keeper subs had been used, Gaven came on with an unnumbered and unnamed gray practice jersey and gloves. Then, Howard put on a field jersey while Lisi left the match.
The MetroStars were able to stay at 10 players and got Gaven’s fresh legs, albeit temporarily in goal, in a legal move that was soon closed by the rules committee.
“We tried to kick the ball out of bounds real quick and [Howard and I] changed,” Gaven said.
Fortunately for him, the MetroStars did get a stoppage 10 seconds into overtime. Gaven traded places with Howard, who never took his gloves off, but not before Gaven entered the MLS record book as the youngest goalkeeper.
Gaven put his No. 24 jersey back on and some eight minutes later Howard made a spectacular save on Galin Ivanov. The MetroStars quickly transitioned and Amado Guevara spotted Gaven streaking down the left side.
He held off defender Ryan Nelsen and slotted the ball past goalie Nick Rimando for the winner. Gaven, in just his third game, became the second-youngest (16 years, 232 days) player to score in MLS history.
“That was a lifetime ago,” Gaven said.
He’s not buying that he was a goalkeeper when he scored.
“If you want to be technical, yeah, but I wasn’t a goalie at the actual time I scored,” he said. “I didn’t even have the gloves on.”