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U.S. Men's National Team

SBI Question of the Day: Which young USMNT goalkeeper is the most exciting prospect?

The U.S. Men’s National Team has seemingly always possessed a talented crop of goalkeepers. From legends like Brad Friedel, Tony Meola and Kasey Keller to current stars Tim Howard and Brad Guzan, the goalkeeping position has long been a spot of strength for the U.S.

With Howard and Guzan’s careers winding down, though, the U.S. will soon look towards a new crop of talented shot-stoppers.

On Tuesday, Fox Sports reported that FC Dallas goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez has filed paperwork to officially represent the USMNT. Gonzalez was named to the USMNT’s 40-man preliminary Gold Cup roster and is expected to be included in this summer’s tournament. If approved by FIFA, Gonzalez would officially be cap-tied to the USMNT after representing Mexico as a youth international.

The securing of Gonzalez’s international future is a big one for the U.S. while also taking the highly-regarded goalkeeper away from a CONCACAF rival. However, Gonzalez is far from the only promising goalkeeping prospect scattered throughout the national team program.

For quite some time, Ethan Horvath has been viewed as the heir apparent. The Club Brugge goalkeeper has been a semi-frequent USMNT call-up for several years, including at last summer’s Copa America, and he is set to begin his first UEFA Champions League campaign this summer.

There are also some interesting prospects coming up through MLS. After shining at the Under-20 World Cup in 2015, Zack Steffen is finding his footing as starter for the Columbus Crew. The same could be said of the New England Revolution’s Cody Cropper, who was previously a regular throughout the U.S. youth teams.

Going a bit further, the current U.S. youth setup has shot-stoppers with promise. Jonathan Klinsmann, who won the Golden Glove award during CONCACAF qualifying, had his ups and downs during the U-20 World Cup, but showed plenty of potential throughout his run with the U-20s while also earning trials with Everton and Stuttgart.  His teammate, J.T. Marcinkowski, is also highly-regarded, having trained with Eintracht Frankfurt this spring.

With that in mind, SBI asks who you see as the USMNT’s most promising goalkeeper under the age of 25? Who are you most excited to watch in the coming years?

Vote in the poll below and explain your reasoning in the comment section:

14 comments
  • Benjamin C.

    I like Horvath or Steffen, if pressed, but Gonzalez is certainly an exciting prospect. Not to mention someone like Hamid or Yarbrough, who have already been in the pipeline and are still youngish in goalkeeping terms. Klinsmann has some great shot stopping skills, but really needs to work on distribution, which I hope would be a focal point whenever he turns pro.

    Like

    • The Imperative Voice

      I think Guzan is a hot and cold mess. Ever since Hamid and Sean Johnson helped blow the Olympic qualifying 2012, I have doubted the senior NT chops of that generation.

      I am more impressed with Horvath or Gonzalez. I’m also a big fan of league GAA as a metric and on that basis would like to see Bono, Deric, and Melia get chances.

      Like

  • HTM

    lol Klinsmann?

    It’s obviously the 21 year old who just moved into the starting position for one of the biggest clubs in Belgium and European regular…

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Imperative Voice

      Yeah, he plays for a good college team and still allows pretty high GAA for college, and then these U-20 qualifying and worlds games it’s a lot of goals allowed, few shutouts, giving them up not to just Venezuela but also St. Kitts, Haiti, El Salvador.

      Like

    • Johnnyrazor

      The list contains the 2 keepers from the last Olympic qualifiers, one from the last U20 WC , 2 from this U20 WC and Gonzalez. So yes Klinsmann was included.

      Like

  • wychijeff

    Definitely Horvath. Younger than Gonzalez, has Champions League experience, and already getting time for the top team in Belgium.

    Like

    • The Imperative Voice

      The current #1 is 38 so 22 vs 21 is kid stuff. The age difference for a keeper is also negligible. I might care if they were in their 30s.

      Most of the really good keepers in US history have a stint at some top club abroad. I don’t know if Brugge is any more that than FCD, though, sorry. And citing early round European experience, to me, is basically tying up Europhilia in a nice bow. Brugge’s CL record this year was 0W 6L -12 GD. They were done before he arrived. If you’d instead referenced his Europa League work for Molde, perhaps we could talk. But he arrived too late for this European season for Brugge and they will probably get drubbed again in CL. The type of CL experience I take seriously is you play for a team that wins some and that’s usually a big club where in reality the heft of the club is as important as the fact they play CL.

      I actually agree to some extent in the sense that Horvath and Gonzalez would be my younger keeper choices to compete for NT slots, now and when Howard retires. I would choose them over the others listed. But I resist the idea of settling keeper contests on paper. “Oh, blah blah is one year younger a kid and plays in Europe……: Put them both in net in games that matter and settle it there. I was a little disappointed Horvath wasn’t listed for Gold Cup.

      Like

      • wychijeff

        Sorry, I thought he played in CL for Molde. That was what I was referencing. If it was Europa, my apologies. I think Brugge is a considerable step up than FCD. Molde vs. FCD would have been a closer debate. Playing in Belgium also increases his chances of moving to a top league in Europe which would further move him ahead of Gonzalez. We’ll see what happens to Gonzalez but his current trajectory has him on pace to be another Johnson or Hamid (which is fine).

        Like

      • The Imperative Voice

        I am sure that Brugge is a better pipeline to bigger leagues in Europe to further his pro career and salary demands, but that doesn’t make Brugge itself bigtime. Is Belgium better than here? Najar didn’t suddenly get incredible at Anderlecht. Meh.

        MLS produced Friedel and Howard who went on to do fine. Howard starts for the NT while playing for Colorado. Keller in contrast built a career in Europe and they all ended up similar quality. At keeper in particular, the US has traditionally been superior (Friedel and Howard were dominant keepers in the EPL for decades) and so I don’t buy playing in Belgium makes you better.

        Gonzalez could have gone abroad but chose not to. My understanding he was in demand by both Mexico NT and Liga MX clubs. I could understand the snobbery if Juve or ManU came calling, but this is Brugge. Dallas is a solid competitive team in MLS which I’d say is an equivalent league.

        Even if Horvath turned this into a ManU deal, Howard’s history is a cautionary tale about treating the mere fact a player gets signed somewhere big as the same as he is there playing and being catapulted to greatness. Keller bounced around Europe. Friedel and Howard had some false starts before becoming stalwarts at particular teams. Just because you sign somewhere doesn’t mean it immediately works and rubs off on you.

        Like

    • Yo-Joe

      Hamid is good, but Andre Blake and Luis Robles are two better MLS goalkeepers that come to mind. Hamid can be spectacular but also surprisingly bad. For me, not consistent enough yet for serious USMNT consideration.

      Like

      • The Imperative Voice

        Blake is a cap-tied Jamaican, 22 appearances. Robles will forever be living down that Haiti game with me. Ditto Hamid and Johnson in U23 CONCACAF.

        Like

  • Johnnyrazor

    The Belgian League is better than MLS with roster players 4-23, MLS is hard to compare though because of elite star veterans like Kaka, Giovinco, and Villa. Belgian League is rated as the 9th best league in Europe better than Netherlands, Turkey, Swiss or the Scandinavian leagues. Of course those ratings go by the top 4-6 teams in each league not overall league quality.

    Like

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