Gold Cup Preview, Pt. 1 – The Keepers

In part 1 of my “Gold Cup Preview”, I’ll be introducing you to the keepers that have been called up to the team. With no Tim Howard, Marcus Hahnemann, or Brad Guzan, the team has a pretty fresh set of faces between the sticks.

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Jon Busch

Chicago Fire

Busch is a 32yr old, 6-year veteran of MLS, spending time with the Columbus Crew and the Chicago Fire. He was named 2008 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year while playing for the Fire.

He’s an agile keeper, though he’s fairly small for the position at 5’10 (and that’s a bit generous I think). He makes up for his height with solid shot-stopping ability and relatively good distribution of the ball. He does, however, struggle with crosses and would likely do so at the international level where strikers tend to be bigger.

That being said, he’s a veteran keeper that Bradley is fond of, so he has likely been brought in for some balance to the two younger keepers on the squad.

I wouldn’t expect him to see the field at all.

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Troy Perkins

Vålerenga I.F.

At 6’2, Perkins is an imposing keeper with good aerial prowess. The 27yr old has only made 1 appearance for the USMNT, but he has played in the Norwegian Premier League for 2 seasons. He also spent 3 years playing for D.C. United, winning the 2006 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year award while there.

Perkins is a big, reasonably athletic keeper with fairly strong hands. He’s not quite the pure shot-stopper that Robles or Busch are, but he makes up for it with good command of the box and strong presence in the air. His distribution is also the best of this particularly pool, making him the odds-on starter.

I expect Perkins to start most of the games, unless we get to a throw-away game and let him rest.

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Luis Robles

Kaiserslautern

Robles comes in as a surprise inclusion, again. He was surprisingly brought in as the third keeper for the Confederations Cup pool, though he didn’t make the final roster of 23.

At 6’1, Robles is a another good-sized keeper in the American pool. He’s a talented shot-stopper with relatively good aerial ability. Robles is probably the best athlete of this group, being a strong kid with great leaping ability. At 25, he’s also the youngest of this group and has the least top-flight experience – but he’s certainly a keeper to watch for the future.

Don’t be surprised if Robles gets a surprise start in a late group game.

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As it stands now, expect Troy Perkins to be the starter. He’s a quality keeper that will command an unfamiliar back-line with a strong voice. He’s not quite as naturally gifted as Robles, but he’s a strong personality at the back that will be needed with a back-line that has never played together.

Luis Robles will likely get 1 game if the Americans start out strong in the group with wins.

Jon Busch is not likely to get much playing time and was brought in to be a veteran in camp and training.

While not the strongest keeper pool for the US, it’s certainly not a terrible one either. At the end of the day, goalkeeping is never a problem for American squads.

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