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Ethan Horvath posts another shutout, solidifying his case for a USMNT return

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One month ago the name Ethan Horvath wouldn’t have registered much of a reaction from U.S. men’s national team fans when discussion Gregg Berhalter’s options in goal, but fate opened the door for the Nottingham Forest goalkeeper and he has taken full advantage.

Horvath made his fifth consecutive start for Forest on Saturday, and maintained his undefeated record during that stretch, notching three saves in a 4-0 victory over Reading. The scoreline might suggest an easy day for the American goalkeeper, but Forest held a 1-0 lead until the 62nd minute before pulling away with three goals down the stretch.

Horvath’s biggest save of the day came in the 26th minute, when he denied a Michael Morrison chance to keep Forest in the lead.

Stuck in a backup goalkeeper role behind Brice Samba that left him without a single minute of playing time for more than five months, Horvath fell out of the USMNT picture and failed to earn a call-up for the past three qualifying windows after being part of the squad for last September’s qualifiers.

Horvath’s opportunity came when Samba drew a red card on February 22 in a 2-2 draw against Stoke City, triggering a three-match suspension and opening the door for the American to pounce.

Horvath has done just that, helping lead Nottingham Forest to a 3-0-2 record in his five starts, allowing just one goal in his four league matches, which has helped Forest climb to within two points of the playoff places in the League Championship with a game in hand.

Horvath’s form has helped him take hold of the starting role at Forest even after Samba’s return from suspension, and with Matt Turner and Zack Steffen both dealing with injury issues that have sidelined them in recent weeks, Horvath is suddenly looking like a very good candidate to play a starting role when World Cup qualifying resumes later in March.

The USMNT roster for the March qualifiers will be revealed later this week and Horvath is a safe bet to be included, and given his recent run of successful starts, he stands a good chance of challenging Sean Johnson for the starting role of Turner and Steffen are unavailable, and could be called upon even if those two make it back from injury.

Comments

  1. While it’s better to have a keeper who’s in-form and playing at the club level Horvath showed that even without consistent minutes he was a worthy USMNT inclusion back in the Nations League final when he stepped in for Steffen, made a couple good saves and then saved the penalty that propelled the USMNT to it’s first trophy in ages.
    Now with a run of league games under his belt and both Steffen & Turner sidelined it’s the perfect opportunity for Horvath to prove once and for all that he deserves to be one of the 3 keepers for the “A-Team” going forwards.

    Reply
    • People get all caught up in was this guy selected for the roster. Just because Ethan wasn’t selected for previous rosters doesn’t mean he hasn’t always been Gregg’s 3rd choice. Especially with the 3rd keeper who to my memory has never played under Gregg, it’s not worth the travel and time away from club for someone initiated into the group.

      Reply
      • With Steffen out- he would/could have been the 2nd keeper last window. If something had happened to Turner…. frost bite?… I’d have been quite happy to see Horvath step in. To me, that contingency/qualifying is certainly worth the flight and time away from what he was doing- riding pine. We’ve been caught out more than once not having a plan B.

    • I agree- throughout his career, unfortunately he has often been a backup and proven that he can come in cold and perform. That said- being that he hasn’t been called in since being exiled into the Forest- I don’t think Gregg sees it that way. Hopefully this good run he’s on changes the manager’s thinking as I think he is a much more complete keeper- think we are in better hands with Horvath rather than Johnson.

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      • You did have the English travel rules that made the first two windows I think it was unlikely because then you would have had 2 of 3 unavailable for certain matches. Gregg is fully aware of the riggers of travel from Europe from his playing days and he does not like to bring guys over who are unlikely to play. Of course maybe I’m wrong on Slonina starts at the Azteca who knows.

  2. Great development for Horvath who has shown some incredible character being ready to step up when the opportunity presented itself. Would have been all too easy to wallow and pout. Great news and timing for the national team as well. I feel every bit as good with an in form Horvath in net.

    Reply
    • “some incredible character”

      That’s a little over the top.

      “Would have been all too easy to wallow and pout. ”

      If he had done that then he might as well have retired.
      It’s dog eat dog out there. Ethan is just being a professional.
      If you’re not the #1, most backup keepers play very little because few managers regularly rotate keepers.

      So if you ever want a #1 job in the pros then you’d better be ready to turn it on and impress the hell out of everyone as soon as the #1 guy gets hurt, or hits a bad patch or can’t play for whatever reason.
      Either that or move.

      If you’re a backup and you can’t get hot instantly after being out for an extended period, you won’t be a pro keeper very long.

      The key is to avoid being a backup in the first place.

      Reply

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