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Zack Steffen struggles in Man City’s FA Cup semifinal loss to Liverpool

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Zack Steffen’s day started with hope of leading Manchester City into the Emirates FA Cup Final, but will end with frustration and disappointment after a shocking performance in goal.

Pep Guardiola’s side were eliminated in the semifinal round on Saturday, losing 3-2 at Wembley Stadium to Liverpool. Steffen earned the nod in goal over No. 1 starter Ederson, but didn’t help the Citizens avoid a horrendous first half in London.

Liverpool struck first in the ninth minute as defender Ibrahim Konate rose highest to head home from a corner kick. Andrew Robertson’s cross was met cleanly by Konate, who outraced Gabriel Jesus to the front of the goal before heading home past Steffen into the top-left corner.

Man City’s day didn’t improve as the first half went on as Steffen was at blame for the second Liverpool goal. A pass back to Steffen in the box was not cleared immediately, allowing Sadio Mane to slide into the American goalkeeper and poke the loose ball into the empty City net.

Liverpool extended its lead before halftime as Mane delivered his second goal of the match, this time beating Steffen to his near post. Thiago Alcantara’s chipped pass over Nathan Ake allowed Mane to stroke a low shot into the bottom-right corner, continuing a poor afternoon for Steffen and his teammates.

Manchester City answered back with an early goal in the second half from Jack Grealish, but could not muster up a full comeback and force extra time. Bernardo Silva poked home into an empty net in stoppage time after great work from Riyad Mahrez, giving the Citizens a late consolation to what ended up being an underwhelming performance from the English Premier League leaders.

Steffen improved his play after halftime by spreading passes out wide for fullbacks Joao Cancelo and Oleksandr Zinchenko, and even denying Roberto Firmino from close range with City pushing for an equalizer. However, the U.S. men’s national team goalkeeper did little to improve his stock in Guardiola’s squad, missing out on the chance to feature in an FA Cup Final this season.

Man City sits top of the EPL table by one point over Liverpool and could meet the Reds again in the UCL Final, should both teams advance from the semifinal round. Steffen will likely remain on the sidelines for the final matches of the season as Ederson retains his No. 1 spot for a midweek league showdown against Brighton & Hove Albion.

As for Steffen’s international schedule, the Pennsylvania native will be pushing for involvement in June’s first two matches of the 2022-23 Concacaf Nations League group stage. The USMNT will face El Salvador and Grenada before also taking part in a pair of undetermined friendlies as continued preparation for the World Cup in November.

Comments

  1. Right now he is a very bad player. If Beerholder had any balls and wasn’t a horrible coach, he’d drop Steffen until he gets regular playing time. He won’t because he’s one of those toxic idiots who has “his guys.”

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  2. Potential of Steffen and Turner riding pine next season is not a very good thought. Will Young Slonina pass them both to be the starting keeper at the WC?

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  3. Goal keepers need to be playing…doesn’t matter what the prestige of the team is….field players need to be playing so even if they get a consistent run out as a 20-30minute sub they can remain sharp…

    goalkeeper position doesn’t have that option…..he has to stay at man city next season unless he can be guaranteed a #1 spot at a new team…

    getting beat near post was an issue for tim howard too….just sayin’…….

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  4. There has been much criticism of GGG fot his qualifying roster selections on this thread. Horvath lost his starting job unmistakably by accepting the call up for the last window in which he didn’t play a minute. Curious to hear if anyone who has been very critical of his European roster ommissions has changed their perspective somewhat on what goes into roster selections.

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  5. You win and lose as a team, and those 3 goals in the first half came because Man City was really really bad. Zack had a really bad moment to give away the second, but his defenders were constantly going backwards, over and over. Constantly playing him passes under pressure, expecting him to what? break lines from the gk position every single time? Lesson for him is that sometimes just clearing the ball out of bounds is better than giving away a goal. So unlucky for him to go out this way, but I really think he needs to get out of City, go to a mid-table team where he can be the #1. Clearly he needs more gametime to be at his best.

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  6. That “laxi-daisy” attitude loses games. Wow, that was horrible from Steffen….absolutely horrible!!!! It will be interesting to see Pepi’s reaction

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  7. First and third goals it would have taking something special to stop. That giveaway for the second, tho…eek.

    I dunno if it’s injury or just too much time on the bench, but Steffen hasn’t looked great for club or country for awhile now.

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    • I was never a keeper but the former players commenting seem to be pretty universal that you can’t get beaten at the near post on the third. So maybe it’s not a reaction mistake but a positioning mistake.

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      • Yeah, they always say: “don’t get beat near post” and if you watch the shot in slo-mo you definitely see he probably should have taken that one step to his left to cut it off…but you also see why he didn’t; Liverpool had been pinging it all around, it went to Mane on the far right, and Mane had not one but two guys in position to attack the ball if he just put the ball across for a tap-in. So you can see the pickle that Steffen’s in there. It looks like he sort of dithered a second…and Mane saw it, hit it first time and into the near post it went. But if Steffen had taken that step, Mane likely would have just put it across the goal…and one of the other two would have tapped it in. There really wasn’t a good answer there, after Liverpool went through the defense like that.

        That was some distinctly Not Good defending going on.

  8. The second goal was incredibly bad, as if he had a total mental meltdown. What was he thinking?! On the third goal, while the strike was out of his reach, a keeper shouldn’t get beaten at the near post like that. His positioning must have been poor before the strike. Steffen also showed weakness during the last qualifying cycle. Turner should be our first choice USMNT goal keeper and it isn’t even close.

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    • What is Turner going to look like after 5 months on the bench at Arsenal? Horvath again has lost his spot. Gaga might make a move this summer as well. Does it come down to which MLS keeper has the best season?

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      • There are friendlies and the Nation’s Cup coming up. Going into the qualifiers I thought Steffen was our best bet. However, last year during the Nation’s Cup and Gold Cup, and following qualifiers, Turner showed his worth even before Steffen’s howler. You are very good at making excuses for people. I guess you are satisfied with mediocrity.

      • Mr Page.

        What excuses?

        All the USMNT GK candidates are, so far, mediocre.

        Turner has shown the best lately but:

        1. He had regular playing time with his club
        2. The USMNT faced crap teams.

        That may not be true going forward.

        If Matt expects to see any time in Qatar he needs to win the #1 job at Arsenal. Or at the very least mount a terrific challenge to Ramsdale.

        Steffen is this manager’s favorite and if you all haven’t figured out by now how much that counts with this manager then you didn’t notice that Aaron Long may be in Qatar.

        I expect Matt to win the Arsenal job.
        Whether he can keep it , we’ll see.
        But if he doesn’t and things stay as they are now I’d start Horvath.

        He’s real used to coming in cold after a long time out and doing well.
        At some level he probably has the biggest chip on his shoulder of any of the GK candidates.

        And my #2 would the kid keeper . He likely wouldn’t play one minute but he’s being hyped as the greatest thing since the invention of contraception. So if something happens to Horvath, I want to see if we have the new Donnaruma on our hands.

      • I wasn’t making excuses I’m just saying part of Steffen’s issue of being out of form is also hurting Horvath the #3, likely going to hurt Turner #1a/2, and could hit Slonina #4. I’m not disagreeing that Steffen should be moved down the list I’m saying Turner might not be reliable by November either. Turner had quite a lot of responsibility in the first goal in Canada after his two months off after MLS.
        —————————————
        I understand there are 4 matches in June and 2 in Sept. but if those are the last matches Horvath, Turner, and Steffen play because they’re riding the pine in England we’re in trouble. (Yes I know all 3 would likely get a couple league cup and preseason starts).

      • Vacqui,

        I like your optimism on Turner but unless Ramsdale just falls off the rails Arsenal isn’t likely to toss their GK they paid 30 million for. Especially since he’s a top 3 keeper for the Three Lions.

      • JR,

        Arteta is going for a British core and I hear a lot about Ramsdale’s character, attitude,blah,blah, fitting in with the British core , etc.,etc.

        If Ramsdale was so untouchable, then why did they even bother to sign Turner?
        If they needed an American why not buy a better long term investment in Slonina?

        Matt technically, is probably not as good a keeper as Ramsdale but he has more piss and vinegar. He’s not pretty but he does what he needs to in order to win. Also, he knows that if he doesn’t really impress at Arsenal. he’s not seeing a minute in Qatar. What could be greater incentive?

        And if Arsenal, a prissy bunch, are short on anything , it’s attitude and cojones. Matt’s got a ton of that. I expect he’ll win a job at some point but maybe Ramsdale learns from that. Maybe they bought Matt to pressure Ramsdale and hold his feet to the fire. Maybe Ramsdale is just another overrated English keeper.

        Most here don’t think he can do it and that’s nothing new for Matt.

        The move will be his greatest challenge to date and I expect it will force him to do his best. And in that sense, it’s a great move.

        If he succeeds than at Qatar he can just tell the manager, “I’m your best shot. If you don’t play me FU”.

      • Vacqui,

        You might be right over time but I don’t see it happening before November. He’ll likely get a League Cup start or two but it will take Matt standing on his head on those two likely against lower competition and Ramsdale stinking it up two months for it to work before Qatar.

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