Everybody Soccered - May 2015

Cover photo from Sounders FC

May 30th

The U20s started off their World Cup a rough with a miscue from goalkeeper Zack Steffen but rallied to win 2-1. The cameraman's shakiness ruins the gif so if you couldn't tell, Steffen comes for a ball too late and proves that if you can't win a ball immediately in the air, just stay on your line. Don't come out and try to fix your hesitation. If he stays back, there's a good chance it gets cleared out or he can make the next save. Still, he had some really awesome American gloves. Who knew Under Armour had a great goalkeeper glove design team? 

Another not-so-great conceded goal on a USYNT goalkeeper was Cody Cropper's slip up in the U23s 3-1 win over the Netherlands. A bending shot from distance gave him trouble as he dove to his left trying to hold it. Yes, it's a bad goal, but the problem is not with his hand strength but in his pre-catch arm motion. Watch as his hands swing back then upwards when all that is needed is a simple raise of the arms to catch the shot. Goalkeepers should always look to "minimize excessive movement" and here Cropper does not do that. If his hands are out in front of him at the start then there's a better chance his hands are stronger because he only had to move his arms to the correct position, not his arms and hands.

In more positive news for the youngster, he is drawing some interest from MLS teams, supposedly New England being one of them although some are suspect he comes back to MLS at all. Outside of New England, it's really hard to say which teams are best suited for him as half the league aren't in great standings with their goalkeeper core and could use a young backup to develop.

Hope Solo had some really interesting words on the upcoming Women's World Cup and its connection to the domestic league here in the states. 

The state of women’s soccer isn’t reliant on our success at the World Cup. In 2003 we were hoping that the league would take off if we won the World Cup, but at the end of the day we learned that longevity in the women’s game is a slow growth process. So there is no pressure on us to win for the state of women’s soccer. The pressure on us is to win because we want to win.

Montreal's Evan Bush had a highlight reel-worthy save last week.

Last goalkeepings of the month:

  • Chicago followed up Jon Busch's 300th appearance with a couple nice articles where he talks about the milestone and his relationship with Sean Johnson.
  • Sporting Kansas City has terminated their contract with Luis Marin, who was dealing with off the field situations. Jon Kempin has been called back from his loan to San Antonio. I'd expect him to get maybe one or two starts before the end of the year. Tim Melia is playing well so I don't see it being more than that.
  • Alex Bono took a shot to the face against Manchester City and someone took a picture at just the right time. Here it is in GIF form.
  • John McCarthy and Brian Sylvestre are working hard in Philadelphia.
  • Brad Stuver shined in a friendly and was overwhelmingly voted Man of the Match. He had a awkward but tough save and almost scored goal at the end of the match
  • Josh Deaver says William Yarbrough is in for the next USMNT matches against the Netherlands and Germany. I can't find another link for this but he seems like a trustworthy guy.
  • Will Hesmer appeared on TV to discuss FIFA's financial situation.
  • Jeff Caldwell talked about his journey to the U20 team and the importance of the college game.

Lastly, I'll be off the radar a little more than usual this summer so here's the current MLS GSAR standings which probably won't be updated until the fall.


May 26th

Cody Cropper is out at Southampton. At twenty-two years old, it's easy to associate a goalkeeper's typically long career with an equally increasing developing curve. However, goalkeepers at twenty-two are largely set in stone and truly a goalkeeper at twenty-five is basically the final product. Think back to Bill Hamid and Sean Johnson a couple years ago. Yes, they've improved but it's not like they're completely different goalkeepers. So Cropper, at his age, essentially has three years to show his true potential. I wrote back in April about how he is showing some improvement but is it too little too late? If Southampton really believed Cropper was more than MLS-quality, it would make sense they would have held on to him. The door is closing quickly on Cropper and the USYNT goalkeeper is going to either end up like Keller/Howard/Meola or the other guys who we quickly forget about.

In brighter news for Cropper, he joined Tyler Miller and Charlie Horton on the U23 roster for the Toulon Tournament. The U23s kickoff the tournament against France Wednesday, May 27th.

I interviewed Ashkan Khosravi, who is a recent dual-citizen of both the US and Iran. It's a really interesting story of leaving home at sixteen to come to the states and play, instead of the typical reverse. Khosravi will be a senior at UC Riverside next fall.

Tim Howard was (oof) named the 20th best EPL goalkeeper while Brad Guzan ended up at seventh. Guzan was sat for the last three games in the season for late struggling performances but, like I wrote for SOT's XI selection, it was Guzan who kept Aston Villa afloat for much of the season in the first place. And even if there are reports that Aston Villa is looking at the possibility of a new goalkeeper, he was the best goalkeeper overseas, after Katie Fraine of course.

Goalimpact has joined forces with Premier Insider, which means we can now see Howard'sFriedel's and Guzan's Goalimpact rating, which is my favorite player rating at the moment. (And here is Kasey Keller's, for reference.) Ironically, it sounds like Brad Friedel was going to play Tottenham's last game of the season but was held out due to stitches in his shin. Nevertheless, Friedel was upbeat about his time overseas.

Various goalie news around the globe:

  • Jon Busch played his 300th MLS game, making him the fourth goalkeeper to ever do so in MLS history. (Kevin Hartman, Nick Rimando, and Joe Cannon being the others.) Here is an article on Busch's Saves for SEALS program, which helps families who have lost someone in military combat.
  • Jimmy Maurer is now the all-time shutout leader in the modern NASL era. I can't find who was previously in first.
  • Top Drawer covered Zack Steffen ahead of the U20 World Cup and they also named Evan Louro as a player to watch in PDL this season
  • The Premier League put out some highlights of Friedel in honor of his retirement. Tottenham gave him a nice sending off.
  • Ethan Horvath earned his first league start and shutout. (A save from the game can be seen below.) It's good to see that Molde has a clear desire and use for him and reason to pull him from the U20 World Cup roster.
  • Calle Brown joins the exclusive group of goalkeepers who were backups their entire collegiate career and then later earned a professional start, which he earned with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. Honestly I can't think of another goalkeeper who did the same so perhaps it is just a group of one.
  • Cody Mizell is going to second tier Iceland to play this year.
  • The highlight bank is finally up and running again

And to end off in style, here are a bunch of gifs and videos of American goalkeepers making cool saves:


May 15th

Well I said the most notable announcement was the U20 roster but I hadn't seen Friedel's retirement announcement at that point so I take it back. With him moving to the booth for Fox Sports, it was all but official until now. ESPN covered the highlights of Friedel's career. There were many congratulations, including one from Zac MacMath and one from Edwin van der Sar himself, but I though Matt Pyzdrowski summed it up pretty well:

The U20 roster now has another collegiate player. Ethan Horvath was not released by Molde and Thomas Olsen, University of San Diego, will now take his place. Horvath is a regular on the bench, including some appearances in cup matches. Caldwell is now the number two behind Steffen.

The US Open Cup kicked off their first round Wednesday night. Top goalkeeper performances include:

  • Quinn McAnanery's shootout win for Lansing United, which can be re-watched by a great camera angle
  • Greg Hartley also performed well in Chattanooga's comeback shootout win and had a nice save early on.
  • Zac Gibbens continued Harpo's FC's cinderella run with a, surprise surprise, penalty shootout win that only Scott Sterling could top. (Watch the saves here at 2:52:25)
  • Everybody Soccer favorites Paul Blanchette and Justin Vom Steeg moved their teams on to the second round. Blanchette held a 2-1 win for Des Moines and Vom Steeg made a save in the final round for Ventura County Fusion's shootout.

All-in-all there weren't that many D1 goalkeepers playing in the first round. I imagine finals was a problem but it was odd to see so many absences. Perhaps more will appear in the next round, once school has finally ended.


May 14th

Not a lot of action in the first half of May. Easily the most notable announcement was that the three goalkeepers for the U20 World Cup roster have been selectedZack Steffen (Freiburg), Ethan Horvath (Molde FK), and Jeff Caldwell (Virginia) are the three, in order of starting likeliness. Caldwell has the distinct honor of being the only college player on the roster, including field players.

As far as things I wrote, there is my last article on Paste for some time about why a goalkeeper will never win the Ballon d'Or again and my second monthly write up on ASA that isn't too nice for MLS goalkeepers to read. On a positive note, the goalkeepers played much better this past weekend so maybe they heard what was coming for them. And of course there's the top 100 list of women goalkeepers.

The Union signed yet another goalkeeper. They brought in Brian Sylvestre on a short loan and started him last weekend. Sylvestre was in training camp with Philly before the season started so there's that connection. However it is odd they're calling up a USL backup and not a starter somewhere else. Perhaps they are thinking long term. Sylvestre didn't concede any atrocious goals last weekend, a plus for Philadelphia. John McCarthy, who is out with concussion symptoms at the moment (possibly from this), talked about his jump from Rochester to Philadelphia.

Minnesota is struggling with their goalkeeper position as well. Northern Pitch goes into depth between the Cameroonian international, Sammy Ndjock, and American Mitch Hildebrandt. Both display the needed athleticism but are having specific problems on the pitch.

#gkunion alum Josh Lambo signed with the San Diego Chargers. Lambo spent time with U17 and U20 US teams as a goalkeeper but never suited up for FC Dallas. After kicking with Texas A&M last year, he has now made the jump from professional soccer to collegiate football to professional football.

A plethora of random goalkeeper hits:

  • Nick Rimando hit 100 wins and someone compiled his best saves with RSL.
  • Toronto's Chris Konopka recorded a shot with this header last weekend.
  • Travis Worra spoke about his first MLS start with DC United.
  • Keith Cardona started for Indy 11. Cardona has taken an odd journey thus far, going from starter at Maryland to backup then to Austria and then landing in Indiana. It's good to see him back on his feet.
  • Ethan Horvath and Quentin Westberg notched shutouts for their respective Norwegian clubs in Cup action recently. Can't find any video but maybe they'll get a start later down the line.
  • Even though he didn't play in the second leg, Evan Bush did earn Golden Gloves for his performance throughout the CONCACAF Champions League.
  • Chris Seitz finally met the recipient of his bone marrow transplant. I caught the halftime interview on the FC Dallas game and the man, who is incidentally an FC Dallas fan now, was extremely thankful. It's a great story and a true act of selflessness on Seitz's part.
  • Tally Hall should be getting his first game in the next seven to ten days.
  • This doesn't really have anything to do with American soccer but I just really enjoyed it.
  • And Sean Johnson is a Jedi, apparently.