Monday, September 18, 2017

On The Spot - Pt. 1

The research on the USMNT penalty takers has taken longer than I anticipated, so I've decided to split this category into two posts. First, we'll focus on the keepers' skill at stopping spot kicks. And like before, we're confining the count to competitive matches and sticking with the big five - mainly because finding complete info on PK saves prior to the '80's is impossible as far as I can tell. But it may even be a moot search, because so few other netminders have enjoyed more than a handful of caps.

Sparked by his famous pair of penalty stops at World Cup 2002, Brad Friedel unsurprisingly leads this chart. 

PK SAVE PERCENTAGE57.1% Friedel (4-7)
44.4% Keller (4-9)
37.5% Meola (3-8)
33.3% Howard (1-3)
28.6% Guzan (2-7)

- Greg Seltzer

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Big Five

After enjoying the wild 3-3 draw between Atlanta and Orlando City in front of an MLS-record crowd, I grabbed a quick breath and then turned my attention toward the top USMNT 'keepers of all-time. In tallying up career total wins and clean sheets in competitive matches for our backstops throughout history, it became quite obvious that any sort of abacus count would come down to five guys.

In fact, that would be the five guys that have started an overwhelming majority of our big tilts since the '80's. No other US netminder could even knock on the door of double digits in either of these categories.

Keller 42
Howard 39*
Friedel 18
Guzan 16*
Meola 16

Keller 36
Howard 29*
Friedel 14
Meola 14
Guzan 12*

* = active


Tomorrow, we'll get into USMNT penalty stats, for both the takers and the 'keepers.

- Greg Seltzer

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


Please excuse my recent absence, as watching the last two USMNT performances was like a double-punch to the soul-gut. But I am rallying my fervor and will get back to some USMNT stats soon enough. For now, let's shout hoo-rah for Cameron Carter-Vickers, who scored the first half winner on his Sheffield United loan debut.

I was hoping a better clip would surface overnight, but no luck. So here ya go...

- Greg Seltzer

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

And the trivia answer is...

Despite another brain-numbing performance, we'll celebrate Bobby Wood joining the "hero strike" club by finally outing the mystery USMNT player. Sooo, until Jordan Morris hit a pair of Gold Cup winners in the waning moments back in July, the only Nat to have scored two goals in the 75th minute or later to changed a major competitive result for the better was... drumroll, please... Graham Zusi.

He actually pulled the feat in consecutive games, but one was an equalizer, so J-Mo stands as the only guy with two late goals that magically turned a draw into a victory. Counting every World Cup and its qualifiers, Gold Cups, Confederations Cups and Copa Américas, Wood makes it 27 players in USMNT history with one hero strike to their credit. The others are:

Marcelo Balboa, DaMarcus Beasley, Jonathan Bornstein, Michael Bradley, John Anthony Brooks, Brian Ching, Kenny Cooper, Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Brad Evans, Frankie Hejduk, Stuart Holden, Aron Jóhannsson, Eddie Johnson, Cobi Jones, Cle Kooiman, Clint Mathis, Joe-Max Moore, Bruce Murray, John O'Brien, Oguchi Onyewu, Mark Peterson, Preki, Tab Ramos, Brek Shea and Al Zerhusen.

- Greg Seltzer

Your Line-Up v Honduras

Looks like we're going back to the 4-2-3-1... at least I hope so.

By the way, I was so dismayed by Friday's performance that I held off putting the answer to my "hero strike" trivia question. Just didn't feel like it. That will finally go up after the final whistle tonight, so feel free to hazard your guesses until then.

- Greg Seltzer

Friday, September 1, 2017

Your USMNT Line-Up v Costa Rica

A few surprises (if not concerns) for me in this group: Ream over Besler, what looks to be either the underwhelming empty bucket or a risky 4-1-3-2, and most of all, Johnson starting when he's played just 10 minutes of competitive soccer since May. I hope none of this ends in regret.

- Greg Seltzer