Tim Howard is clearly established as the US number one for the forseeable future. But as we discussed with Jamie Trecker on the most recent episode of the Major League Soccer Talk podcast, the #2 shirt is up for grabs and the goalkeeping pool is shallower than any point in time since the US re-emerged on the world football stage in 1990.
Right now, Bob Bradley continues to get his way choosing Brad Guzan to be Tim Howard’s backup. But as we discussed last week, Guzan isn’t quite up to the established standard of US National Team keepers. Kasey Keller, I believe should continue to be the US #2 until he formally retires from the national team. But that is clearly not a view shared by the majority of fans and pundits. But in a big match would you rather have Keller unmatched experience and leadership or Guzan’s inexperience and recent history of critical gaffes?
When Keller’s back was against the wall last year with his club side Fulham, he came through to help author the great escape. Now with Seattle, Keller instantly becomes one of the top three keepers in MLS along with Matt Reis and Jon Busch. (Maybe an aging Pat Onstad sneaks in there)
Luis Robles has established himself as a top keeper in perhaps the best second division on the planet with FC Kaiserslautern. Robles, who was selected in the 2007 MLS Superdraft opted to sign in Europe after a strong college career at Kasey Keller’s alma mater, the University of Portland. Robles is a solid choice, and perhaps is the only keeper behind Howard in the pool he really deserves a long look at this point in time.
Troy Perkins, himself the author of many memorable gaffes as a keeper in MLS has been called into recent camps based on his play in Norway. Matt Reis, though aging continues to be a stopgap option for the national team. Jon Busch and Will Hesmer are two MLS keepers that could get a look along with young Tally Hall now backing up Pat Onstad in Houston.
Quentin Westberg is a young keeper I have been high on but his failure to establish himself as a first teamer in France’s second division nullifies his chances for now.Dominic Cervi currently does not have a club and his career which seemed to be blossoming a few years back is now on the rocks.
Then their is always the reliable Marcus Hahnemann, currently injured for Reading but always ready to step up. Can you imagine Tim Howard being backed up by a 40 year old and a 38 year old at World Cup 2010? While it is unlikely to happen thanks to Bob Bradley’s view of Brad Guzan’s ability, perhaps it would be the safest course of action.