USMNT, The season ahead – Pt. 1, The Keepers

With a few weekends of in-season soccer under our belts, I figured it would be a good time to take a look at the season ahead for World Cup hopefuls and what we can expect from them leading into South Africa 2010.

For starters, we’re going to take a brief look at the keepers and their roles for the upcoming year.

Tim Howard

Everton FC

The clear choice at #1 on the US depth chart, Tim Howard is off to a bit of a rocky start with Everton this season. After suffering an 6-1 onslaught from Arsenal on opening day, Howard’s side then lost to newly-promoted Burnley 1-0 last weekend.

Despite the 7 goals against, it’s hard to lay much fault, if any at all, at Howard’s feet. His defense deserted him against Arsenal and wasn’t much better against the newcomers, leaving him with an ugly 3.5 GAA to start the season.

Needless to say, Howard’s spot as the #1 US keeper is not up for grabs and he’ll be the first-choice keep for the world cup even if Everton go down in flames this season.

He will start almost every Everton game in almost every competition, so hopefully his defense (now without the services of Joleon Lescott) can step up and provide some help.


Brad Guzan

Aston Villa

While Howard will undoubtedly get 90-95% of the Everton starts this year, Guzan is likely to see the exact opposite with Aston Villa. With former USMNT keeper Brad Friedel still in top form, Guzan is unlikely to see much Premiership action, but will likely get plenty of reserve and Carling Cup appearances.

Guzan’s appearances with the USMNT will be even fewer as it’s unlikely Howard gets much rest in preparation for the World Cup.

That being said, Guzan’s spot as the #2 is unlikely to change as he’s clearly preferred over others by Bob Bradley. The only wrench in these plans could be the possibly “un-retirement” of Brad Friedel if Bradley thinks we need extra cover at the position for the world cup.


Troy Perkins


Probably the 3rd best available keeper (since we aren’t countin Brad Friedel in this list), Troy Perkins made his name with his solid play through the Gold Cup this summer.

He starts almost every game for Valerenga, so it’s unlikely that he’ll be out of form for the World Cup. He won’t see any more time with the US team in qualifiers, but he typically gets called in for the January camp for the MLS and Scandinavian-based players, so he could see time in a January\February friendly game.

For my money, Perkins is the solid #3 and will likely travel with the squad to the world cup as such.


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