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A look at the USMNT goalkeeper depth chart ahead of the Gold Cup

Goalkeeper is one of the more intriguing positions on the U.S. Men’s National Team depth chart.

Zack Steffen is still the clear-cut No. 1 at the position, but after that, it’s a wide-open competition for the final two goalkeeper spots on the USMNT Gold Cup roster.

With the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup six weeks away, the candidates to fill the other two goalkeeper roster spots have turned in some impressive performances in Major League Soccer.

Jesse Gonzalez comes to mind right away because he had a stellar showing in goal in recent weeks, including against Atlanta United two weeks ago.

Gonzalez isn’t a stone-cold lock for the Gold Cup squad, but his play has gotten better in April to warrant serious discussion about his inclusion.

Gonzalez has made 14 saves and conceded two goals in FC Dallas’ last three games and he’s only allowed seven goals through eight contests.

Bill Hamid made a splash at the start of the MLS season during D.C. United’s hot run of form.

In 10 games, Hamid has five saves and 10 goals against, and he’s gone head-to-head with Brad Guzan and Sean Johnson in two of those games.

Johnson caught our attention for the wrong reasons a few weeks ago with a howler against Minnesota United, but if you look past that mistake, he’s had a solid season for New York City FC with four clean sheets and 12 goals against.

Guzan, who is now the elder statesman of the goalkeeping group, has faced more tough sledding than the other USMNT keepers because of Atlanta’s early struggles.

But Guzan is still the most experienced player in the goalkeeper pool, and if Gregg Berhalter wants to call on a backup with a wealth of international games to his name, the Atlanta United man is the answer for the No. 2 spot.

Ethan Horvath has also made Berhalter’s decision a tough one, as he has three clean sheets in April for Club Brugge.

You could even make an argument for LAFC’s Tyler Miller to be the third goalkeeper given how well the Black and Gold have played in the first two months of the MLS season.

When Berhalter sits down to analyze the goalkeepers at his disposal, he needs to take the best three that can help him win the Gold Cup.

Steffen is the starter until proven otherwise and Guzan would be a great asset to have as an experienced hand in what is expected to be a younger group with a handful of players taking on their first international competition at the senior level.

If Berhalter believes he has enough experience in the squad and doesn’t need Guzan, then Horvath, who has been a consistent member of USMNT squads recently, seems like the rightful No. 2.

If Steffen and Guzan top the depth chart, Berhalter has a difficult choice to make between Johnson, Hamid, Horvath and Gonzalez.

The youth angle would favor Gonzalez and Horvath, who are both 23, while Hamid may win out because of form.

No matter which way Berhalter goes with his decision, it is becoming clear that goalkeeper is once again one of the strongest positions on the depth chart.


  1. “Zack Steffen is still the clear-cut No. 1”

    “it is becoming clear that goalkeeper is once again one of the strongest positions on the depth chart”

    holy detachment from reality, batman.

    • my thing is that used to be an earned distinction, ie, the best 3 keepers in the shirt. at this juncture steffen is the only one earning it with consistent play. horvath sometimes plays well, sometimes horribly, ditto guzan. and the rest……one reason i would like to see some fresh options.

  2. IMO for this tournament I’d go with Steffen, Horvath, & Guzan. As it currently stands Steffen & Horvath are leading the way for the future of the Keeper position with the USMNT. Guzan provides that veteran (tournament) experience.
    After the Gold Cup they need to look at the others…..Gonzalez, Hamid, Johnson, etc….
    My guess would be during the next January Camp they try out a bunch of new keepers from MLS. Than in 2020 the 3rd keeper will be a rotation of until someone can distinguish themselves.

    • Maybe because they are currently let’s say #10 and # 20 on the depth chart? What national team would go down to that level for their regional tournament?

  3. I would like to see Horvath, Jesse G, and Stefan Frei. Guzan is too old and never was reliable, and there is a reason that Steffen and not Hamid, Johnson, or a few others became #1. Westberg I think came back to make a go of it but hasn’t done well for TFC. Rather than going in circles on backups, I would try some new options. Jesse G is <1 GAA right now and Frei is solid. My dark horse would be Miller from LAFC.

      • playing well one day and then giving up soft goals is my definition of unreliable. just like yedlin, robinson, and brooks. most keepers considered for this honor can play at a good level some nights. the question is consistency of being exceptional. Guzan will have days his brain is on vacation and he gives up 3 goals. don’t believe me? he was in the net for 0-3 England, 0-2 Colombia, 0-4 Argentina, 0-4 Costa Rica, as well as 3-2 Martinique, i like my NT keepers to be the sort who can bail us out of — rather than ensure — rough nights.

      • also in net for the group round tie, semi loss, and 3rd place loss in GC 2015.

    • The deal on Steffen is he is so obvious are you better off resting him and using the tournament to learn about the others.

      • The question then becomes are you trying to win or just using it as a tryout. If you aren’t bringing Steffan are you not bringing other obvious first teamers like Pulisic, McKennie, Adams, and Brooks?

      • See, the deal is I believe there is a very short list of players who have truly earned their way onto the XI as a fixture, basically Pulisic and Steffen, and maybe Adams. Everyone else can show up for Gold Cup and it is no more a “tryout” than most other friendlies or tournaments. USSF needs to get away from its fixation on the obvious and look at the goal as 23-30 reliable players with more excellent ones. McKennie has promise but has not converted it to truly dominating stand out play. Brooks, don’t make me laugh, we ship goals almost every other big game he plays, the videotape and stats are depressing. People are in snobby big club denial on that one. People need to quit confusing where there mail goes with proof they can play ball. Right now the Euros can strike but not defend.

      • also, you might consider that the drumbeat of constant callups is not necessarily positive over a career. landon used to be the guy called every time. landon was worthy of those calls. landon also never took breaks. landon also did the hiatus that cost him 2014 and then retired too early, which might have been burnout from over-use. similarly, pulisic has been starting to have weak outings or injuries where he looks tired. back in the day this sort of excused absence was the sort of thing we would do for a player like reyna. no real debate he was going to be on the team. Gold Cup is not qualifying us for the world cup, the real goal. so rest them for the part of the cycle we really need them for, and extend their careers where we have them more years on the team. or you can call them every time and they can get hurt or burned out.

      • You are the only person on the planet that doesn’t think Adams, McKennie, and Brooks are lock starters when available.

  4. To me, it’s Steffen, Horvath, Guzan.

    Steffen is the current #1. His City move will have a future impact. I anticipate he goes on loan (watch, to NYFC – ha). But if he doesnt, not good for our #1 not to be playing in games. You can practice all you want with the best players in the world but game time provides physical and mental sharpness.

    Horvath – playing in europe with CL experience. To me, he belongs there and would benefit from the experience.

    Guzan – as the third keeper, good for moral support and providing tourney experience.

  5. Do we know that Steffen is the clear #1?
    I agree he should be, but he has no pedigree as the US starter and his club situation is not in any way superior to his competition. I’m not aware of Berhalter indicating Steffen as the #1? It’s possible he sees the competition more open to the field of keepers that was mentioned.

    • This is an interesting question. I think he has enough big games to have earned the slot, at least for the time being, relative to his cohort. But at the end of MLS 2018 he fell apart, and we need to be mindful with him and everyone else that you should earn these spots by being consistently excellent, as opposed to a pond in a desert that then starts to dry up. One problem with the US in recent years is few players of the Howard or Keller or Dempsey sort reliable each night out for an elite standard.


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