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Zack Steffen out indefinitely with knee injury suffered in Dusseldorf training

The start of the week has not been kind to Zack Steffen.

Fortuna Dusseldorf announced on Monday that Steffen suffered a knee ligament injury during their morning practice session, and is out for an indefinite period as a result. Dusseldorf did not specify if the American goalkeeper hurt the same knee that caused him problems last fall, nor did the club provide any more details as to the severity of the current injury.

“When players get injured and cannot take part in training for a certain period of time, it always hits us hard,” said Fortuna Dusseldorf sporting director Lutz Pfannenstiel. “With Zack Steffen it is particularly annoying. We had just gotten a grip on his patella tendon problems thanks to hard work. Now Zack has to pause again with a knee injury, which has nothing to do with his previous complaints.”

Steffen’s injury comes as a blow for both the 25-year-old netminder and Fortuna Dusseldorf, which is readying for the resumption of the German Bundesliga season. The league came to a halt because of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, but is hoping to restart the campaign in early May.

Steffen, who is on loan from Manchester City, has been the starter for Dusseldorf when healthy this season. Injuries have, however, prevented his participation at points throughout the season.

The U.S. Men’s National Team’s No. 1 had issues with his left knee last fall, and they resurfaced over the winter to the point that he returned to Manchester for knee examinations. He was subsequently ruled out of the USMNT‘s two March friendlies, which wound up being canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Steffen has started each of the 17 league games he has played this season for Dusseldorf, posting two cleansheets for the relegation-threatened side.


  1. People keep playing a lame pro Guzan internet gotcha game of “who else?” As though there is no other answer. Actually, plenty else. Guzan last year in MLS had a tepid 1.26 GAA and 67% saves, on a very good team that allowed 43 goals and should flatter him. Clark had a 1.04 GAA and 77% saves. Hamid had a 1.12 GAA and 75% saves. Gonzalez switched to play here and has similar numbers to Guzan. Miller had a 1.0 GAA and 67% saves. Horvath was the #2 under prior coaches and his only sin is he is rarely used in club — because he doesn’t allow a bunch of goals when he does play. Frei is not bad. And if your response is, “but they haven’t been capped and tested,” that’s actually my point. We overused the #1 to chase tournament results. We already know what he does. Beyond him it’s basically people who have been waiting in line since 2012, regardless of if they are the best option. It’s a royal succession line, not a keeper competition. And no surprise few of the USMNT games involve the keeper standing on his head to get a surprise result.

    • Not really trying to play gotcha— just sort of reality. I’ve never been a fan of BH due to past USMNT performances. Clark and Frei have been around a while and I think both are quality keepers, but neither has got much of a sniff with the USMNT which says something. Multiple coaches have selected others (for whatever the reason)…. maybe the timing is right now to bring them into camp to compete. Horvath— Sort of forgot about him, but I think his experience in Norway and a nice run of form when called on in Belgium should put him in the mix as well.

      • and my point is not so much to replace steffen as that the competition for the top 3 spots should be more serious and the non-steffen options should be tried more. so we can sort out who the 2 and 3 are by performance — not by succession rights because someone years ago “thought Guzan would be the heir apparent” and it didn’t get re-evaluated by reality — and have a great backup keeper for situations like this. ditto how we treat people who play where pulisic and our other few good players play. everyone seems to get hurt and sick and yet the players deemed elite are allowed to suck up all the oxygen at their positions. we need to start looking at this like making an 11, a 23, a prepared pool, instead of finding a few elites to drool over for shoe commercials. two or three guys soaking up all the starts and accolades then getting hurt or sick doesn’t build up a full team that is chosen by how it plays.

    • Maybe it’s not based a line of succession but instead based on scouting the players and using advanced analytics instead of using basic stats like GAA. I’ve seen Clark play well over 50 times he’s not NT quality. Horvath, Hamid, Johnson, Gonzalez, Turner, Miller, Guzan, and Steffen have all been in camps during Berhalter’s tenure. This isn’t parks and rec everyone doesn’t get a chance.

      • flawed argument. you pretend like Guzan actually made good on his chance to start when he really didn’t. i could rattle off a list of bad games since Howard’s hiatus that happened under guzan’s watch. no one else gets much of a chance. you pretend like it gets decided by a clear headed coach who watches the practices — the classic status quo defense. if the status quo “chosen” in those practices then plays indifferent or poorly in the games i kind of wonder what the coach thought he was watching. i mean, do you never ask yourself what happened to the type of USMNT game we used to have with, say, Keller in net, where the team was overwhelmed but the keeper standing on his head had us competing for results? or we can run guzan out there and give up 3-4 goals every few games. because he’s so obviously proven himself.

      • Guzan is undefeated under Berhalter 3-1-0 0.5 GAA. Again your reason you remember Guzman’s poor performances is that you’ve seen him. You missed Clark giving up 3+ goals in 40% of his games in 2018. Miller giving up 3+ 6 times last year including both playoff matches. Gonzalez giving up 3+ 6 times last year including his one playoff match. Horvath single handily costing the match against Portugal by letting a softly hit ball roll between his legs. Berhalter did what you wanted worked out 8 keepers in one year and your complaining the one who played the best in that time is getting chosen.

  2. Well GB… I really hope you dont count on Guzan. I know he has a lot of experience (picking the ball out of the net) but he wont get it done

  3. For the umpteenth time can we learn the basic lesson that you don’t just identify one player and stop. I assume the erratic Guzan — in the net for many of the ’18 cycle horrorshows — gets his job back by line of royal succession since we have reverted to the roughly 2012 depth chart minus Howard, and give talent and performance short shrift.


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