Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A Fresh Clipboard: #1

So we're starting anew, with a head start on the next World Cup cycle. On this edition, there will not be the typical ordinal rankings. If there is a clear starter, I will separate that player above the pack - but there is no clear top dog in the goalkeeping stable.

So I will simply list all the candidates currently worth an audition process, and those I'm backing for a November call will be marked with an asterisk. Obviously, some guys will be passed over this time because they'll presumably be busy with the MLS playoffs.

Alex Bono
Jesse Gonzalez
*Bill Hamid
*Ethan Horvath
Brad Guzan
Tim Melia
Sean Johnson
Zach Steffen (who I initially forgot to include)

Hamid (who I'd like to see head overseas now that he's available for free) and Horvath are the obvious choices to battle for the start against Portugal. By the way, I'm not entirely averse to calling in Howard next month, provided he's only there as a mentor figure. Of course, I am ready for the program to move on from the 38-year-old, who showed his decline in Couva.

I am not, however, prepared to shove Guzan completely aside - but he has to earn his shots like everyone else.  For the time being, I will consider Johnson to be another main contender on level footing with the aforementioned trio.

Gonzalez has a ton of potential, but his form has suffered in recent months as if the FC Dallas slide is contagious. Come January, it would be nice to have Bono and Melia in camp for looks, but each does carry question marks for me.

- Greg Seltzer


DaMa said...

Don't you think Steffen has earned a look before Gonzalez? He's been the better MLS keeper for the second half of the season. Dallas's defense hasn't done Gonzalez any favors and he hasn't been bad by any means. I would rather see both of them than Melia. Not that I don't think Melia has earned a look, but he's 31 and plays behind the best team defense in the league and he clearly isn't as good as Hamid, who is only 26, so why bother?

Greg Seltzer said...

You're right about Steffen, he should be included in this group. That was an oversight on my part.

I do think Melia has earned at least a look. And the FC Dallas has been downright negligent to Gonzalez.

DaMa said...

I agree that Melia has earned a call in, but it seems like a weird time to be rewarding MLS performance when everything should be focused on the future. Guys like Nguyen and Klejstan fall into the same bucket for me. Earned it but it's no longer really about the present.

I think Guzan is still our second best keeper (though I think the best has been Hamid for a year or so and Howard probably wouldn't have been in my top 3), and he is only 2 years older than Melia, so I am just not sure what value there is in Melia ever getting a call up other than some sense of soccer-justice, which for matches like in November- fair enough. That match will be a shit show anyway.

Greg Seltzer said...

While 31 is definitely on the old side for field guys, it isn't for the keepers. I can see the logic of excluding him, but would rather he get a look, if possible.

DaMa said...

For sure. Definitely not saying 31 is over the hill or 33 from Guzan. Just thinking in terms of a 4 year period. I know there are relevant games coming up before then that will be important (Gold Cup, for a chance at confed cup, for instance), and I am not even saying 35 would be too old for a world cup keeper. I just thinking within the 2-4 year period coming up, there will be at least three guys (Hamid, Steffen, Horvath) who will be well beyond Melia's ceiling and two of those three will still be getting better. I can certainly see both Bono and Gonzalez fitting in there (I actually really like Bono even though he too has a fantastic defense ahead of him).

All of that nonsense being said, I agree with you 100% in the sense that we should be rewarding people playing well in MLS because that DOES matter, especially when considering things like CONCACAF qualifying. My biggest complaint from day 1 (outside of Lichaj), was we relied on Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler instead of Ike Opara who was the better player in MLS. Anyway, I am getting off on a rant here. Melia has certainly earned national team playing time so I guess I too would like to see him at least called in for the November (if SKC is out of the playoffs, which is probably the case) match. I just think he won't ever crack the top 4 and so I wonder if that is a good use of a callup slot. Probably doesn't matter this soon after judgment day.

Sorry for the humangous ramble. So much pent up angst :)

tzvi said...

i guess get melia and bono in, give them their chance, but i agree with DaM about the ceilings of the other guys. Two years from now, Hamid and Horvath will likely be well ahead of the pack, and in 4 years Steffen and Gonzalez will probably be a lot better too.

Patrick said...

For your clipboard, age doesn't have to be a consideration of course. But I don't see any reason to play anyone over 26 until further notice.

DaMa said...

After that performance, Steffen might be in a dead heat with Hamid :P