Guzan v. Panama - WCQ - 10.15.13

COCANCAF gonna CONCACAF. Howard departed after US's 2-0 over Jamaica. Guzan last played in the 4-2 loss to Belgium, coming on in the second half and conceding three goals, but did well against Mexico, holding them to a 0-0 tie at Azteca. So maybe this game would shed some light on how good this Brad Guzan guy really is. [youtube=]

Starter: Brad Guzan Bench: Nick Rimando Not in 18: Sean Johnson

Johnson, who looks like a strong candidate for 2018 bench at this point, fills the void. Guzan comes out in the worst USMNT goalkeeper kit I have ever seen. All mustard yellow (including gloves and sock) and neon yellow cleats.

Four minutes in and Guzan collects a skyscrapper of a header then punts the ball down to a man cleverly disguised as a target striker but for whatever reason never wins a 50-50 ball.

Seventh minute and we get a really good example of the difference between Guzan and Howard.

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Kljestan takes care of the header as Guzan stays home. Howard goes for that ball every time. Who is right? Well in this occasion it's Howard. However, a goalkeeper who typically protects the line versus one that imitates a wrecking ball can be equally as effective, you just have to know how to play them appropriately. There's a lot of to consider (relationship with the defense, aerial strength of the opponents, type of service, etc.) before you just pick stay or go. (I went into length about this last time on Howard v. Jamaica.)

I don't know who has the longer throw but Guzan dishes out a nice javelin at 0:25.

(There are a lot of looped balls sent in and various no-shot skirmishes in front of the goal because that's what Panama is good at.)

Thirteen minute, Guzan gets a stressful encounter. A ball slices through the eighteen towards the corner flag. Guzan moves to it, then backs away (either because of the striker or slick bounce). The Panamian tracks it down, breakdances,

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...and sends a hard ball in front of the goalmouth. Guzan goes down to collect it (as he should) but the giraffe is too thin to box out his man. I don't know if Guzan does this on purpose or not but he kicks his right leg up in the air as if to block the goal when he realizes he's lost the angle on the play.

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If it's on purpose, smart play to try to avoid the chip; if not, well he still looks awful in yellow.

Guzan pops back up and Goodson proves to not be completely two-deminsional and stomachs the ball from getting on frame.

Alright who watched the first goal and thought "Wha-Guzan? What happened?" then proceeded to watch eight awful camera angles that didn't clarify anything? (Comment below about your experience.) Well I think I figured out some factors that contributed to Guzan's wiff. First, there is a nice mud patch that Guzan is trying to avoid.

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He ends up being a little out of position because of this. Secondly, his feet are a bit out of sorts. His pre-shot jump is too high and he does a weird circle motion with his right foot (again, maybe because of the mud pit) that slows him down and kills his reach. The shot is in the side netting but this is something Guzan can get if he gets his mechanics sorted out. (I slowed it down at 1:48 to get a good look.)

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A minute later he gets a similar shot on goal that Perez can't get off the ground.

Later, Guzan does his best flying squirrel impression two minutes before the half.

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Second half, Guzan comes out in a new kit. I bet Frank Borghi didn't have that luxury.

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Guzan and Castillo team up in the fifty-fourth minute to awkwardly bat a ball back into the center of the park. I think Guzan would have gotten this one on his second attempt. He misses with his foot but his swinging arm should arrive in time.

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Guzan makes his best save of the match at around the 66th minute. Just a deft southpaw but a needed one. The play goes somewhat unnoticed because it happens so fast but it's a six yard 1v1 blast and Guzan gets back up after the save just as fast as he made it. The slowed replay from behind the goal still makes the shot look fast.

I added a shot that goes wide from the seventy-ninth minute because I loved Guzan's footwork. Constantly on his toes. Great stuff.

83rd minute and Guzan gets thrown in a similar situation that Howard faced with the in-swinging cross from Jamaica. There's the original shot that's not going in the goal but if Guzan leaves it he runs the risk of a easy shot on goal from the backside. He stretches out but can only fingertip it back to the guy that both Beckerman and Goodson have combined to stop marking. (The old adage "If you get your fingertips on it you need to catch it" does not apply here or for goalies at all btw.) There's another crashing striker in the play that makes things even more difficult for Guzan.

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What could he have done differently? Officially, I'm going to say nothing because any critique is going to be so minute it's not actually helpful. But in the margin I'm making a note that you want to parry the ball out on a line and not pop it up, which Guzan kiiinda does (5:03).

Two bounces into the bread baskets later, Guzan gets a hockey assist to make it 3-2.

The biggest thing I got out of the game is not knowing who the better goalkeeper is between Howard or Guzan, it's deciphering the little things between the two. From first glance, they're both bald. They're both athletic. Both are good communicators. Both can kick and throw well and they are playing in the EPL. But they two have distinct playing styles. Howard is definitely more aggressive on crosses and 1v1s. Guzan likes to stay back. Howard's stance is a lot wider while Guzan's footwork is constant changing. Overall, I think the biggest difference in the game is that Guzan takes a calmer approach to the game and Howard is like that giant circular dog on a chain from Mario.


The good thing about this is that there's no obvious better goalkeeper at the moment so everyone still has something to discuss on BigSoccer.

two goals: -2

5' catch: +.02 7' no catch: -.01 7' catch: +.02 10' catch: +.01 13' positioning: +.10 17' catch: +.01 18' goal: +.82 19' catch: +.05 40' catch: +.01 66' save: +.17 83' save: +.06 83' goal: +1

Total: +.27