America’s Stopper


Kasey Keller isn’t the most talented or athletic goalkeeper the United States has ever produced. Nor has he been the best at any particular moment in time. But consistency and commitment are important and few if any American bred keepers can claim Keller’s consistency over time and his battle scars. Unlike Brad Friedel and Tim Howard, Keller hasn’t been sought by top international clubs, and unlike those two, his commitment to his national team and his country always came before club.

For Fulham a club totally bereft of the sort of talent needed to avoid the relegation drop in the English Premier League (I have picked Fulham for the drop each of the past two seasons; last year I missed by a point, this year it appears I will be correct as of this writing) I can think of no better keeper on the planet than Kasey Keller. Why? Keller has the tag of a journeyman keeper but he has been on clubs before like the current Fulham one, which need his leadership and his shot stopping ability to stay afloat. Keller has fought relegation or mid table mediocrity with Milwall, Leicester City, Rayo Vallecano, Southampton, Borusia Gladbach and now with Fulham. Only when Keller was with Spurs was he on a club that was expected to compete for top honors (although ironically Leicester City and Rayo Vallecano both had better runs than Spurs when he was on those squads), but he’s become sort of a go to guy for any survival threatened club in Europe who wants a reliable keeper whose leadership is unquestioned and his influence in locker room is positive.

Despite having played in Europe now for sixteen years, far longer than Brad Friedel or Tim Howard, Keller remains the most “American” top keeper in our player pool. Keller easily mixes well with young American starlets whether they hail from MLS or European clubs and will never refuse a call up from his country. It is precisely this commitment to the US National Team that has gotten Keller in trouble at times at his clubs. But wih crucial qualifiers coming down the pike for the United States, do our fans really feel more comfortable with an untested Brad Guzan or an error prone Tim Howard over Kasey Keller, whose ability to organize his back line and wall during set pieces is unquestioned? This is a question Bob Bradley must be asked and ultimately answer. My thinking is Keller has to be called in this summer for the qualifiers. Kasey Keller has been part of every successful United States qualifying effort in its history. With Keller once again getting regular football at Fulham, and showing once again his shot stopping prowess, from my vantage point the choice is a no-brainer.

16 thoughts on “America’s Stopper”

  1. Your praise of Kasey Keller is well made. A great player who has been under appreciated by various clubs and his country.

    I’m one fan who believes that Kasey has a place on the USMNT in the upcoming qualifications and in coaching when he hangs it up.

    Thanks Kasey!

  2. I’d take Keller any day of the week for the national team over Howard. He is quite honestly one of the best in the world when he’s on and he’s always been on when we’ve needed him most for the national team.

    I’ve never been awed by Howard the way some have and maybe it’s because I don’t waste my Saturday Mornings obsessing over English matches but I just don’t see it with Howard.

  3. Kartek, considering your consistent support for young players on the team, I’m shocked by this reversal. I like Keller. He’s always been a reliable and consistent number two. Why should we make him number one now when we have younger, more viable options? Fulham may be fighting regulation, but the USMNT isn’t at that point yet, is it?

  4. lol Keller is barely the starting keeper on one of the worse teams in England. He’s past his prime and even in his prime was never as good as Howard or Friedel. Howard BLOWS HIM OUT OF THE WATER presently and is the MNT starting keeper with no arguments. Friedel was and still is a much better keeper as well. Brad was the MVP of our team in the 02 WC and we made it to the quarters cause of him and got robbed against Germany!

  5. We did horible in the 06 WC with Keller behind the pipes, and arena’s loyalty to him instead of going with Howard was terible. Keller’s days are long gone now with Bradley aboard.

  6. I don’t think Kartik was advocating starting Keller in the World Cup. The intent here is to say the guy has been overlooked, he is at the end of his playing days, in some of the qualifiers you can get away with a C team, and let Keller have some more fun. No one is suggesting that he has to be starting in 2010. Just lets thank him for a lot of great service over the years and now that he is at the end send him off well. I think Tim Howard is a better keeper at any age, but thanks to Kasey.

  7. I’ve watched almost every game Howard has played this season and he has been anything but error-prone. I know he comes with that tag because of his highly scrutinized play with manu, but what we need to do is reward players for the form they are in at present, and Howard has been reliable at worst and fantastic at best this season. Calling in Kasey Keller is like calling in Eddie Lewis, both were vital in progression of the sport for th US this decade, but in 08 there are much better options who are displaying better form.

  8. Ugh, utter drivel from someone who doesn’t know any more about this game than any other idiot out there….

    Keller’s time is past. You call Guzan untested…how the hell is he supposed to gain experience when he is sitting behind a 45 year old has-been?

    Keller peaked in ’98. He’s fine for Fulham, but not worth more than 100k in MLS.

    ugh….I hate that this country has people typing up articles who know nothing about this great game….it offends me as an America….because this is why we are looked down upon overseas…(soccerwise)

  9. Giacomo,

    You are totally clueless about our national team.

    Compare Keller’s body of work for the national team versus Howard and you’ll see the difference. Howard as Kartik has said is error prone usually at the worst times. He can’t organize a back line or a wall, and generally is indecisive.

    I agree totally with this article and hope Bradley turns to Keller not only for his keeping skill but because we need a real permanent captain instead of Donovan or Bocanegra both of whom do not lead by example.

  10. I can see how this argument could have been made prior to the Gold Cup last year, but now?

    In Gold Cup semi-final against Canada and throughout Copa America, Kasey’s age apparent.

    His positioning and ability to organize the defense cannot make up for his decline in athleticism at this point.

    Howard is the better choice.

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