At this time last year, there were still a few smoldering embers of a goalkeeper competition around White Hart Lane, with Hugo Lloris having only recently gotten his feet firmly established in the starting goalkeeper’s position.
That’s the position he took from Brad Friedel, remember?
I was thinking about that Saturday as Lloris lined up once again for Spurs, this time in the FA Cup as Tottenham faced off with its bitter North London rival, Arsenal. Wasn’t there just a little voice inside every U.S. soccer supporter wondering if perhaps, just maybe, new manager Tim Sherwood would give the former U.S. international a start? Spurs (and Lloris, naturally) had been quite busy late, after all?
But there was Lloris once again, standing sentinel in what turned out to be Tottenham’s FA Cup ouster.
To be clear, Lloris is the right choice. Even Friedel said so as the 2013-14 campaign kicked off. It was also inevitable once Lloris, 26, arrived last year from Lyon for $19 million in the summer of 2012. Besides, Lloris is far better suited to play the style Spurs desire, with defenders positioned in such a high line.
Friedel has played this year, but sparingly, with just seven starts so far. With Spurs now out of the League Cup and the FA Cup (although still in Europa League), the opportunities will dwindle further unless Lloris turns up injured.
All of this is why it would be so great to see Friedel make a return to MLS for 2014. He wants to coach, and history has taught us that the best chance of coaching success in MLS comes attached to those who “get the league,” those who understand the league’s quirky ways.
There are maybe 6-8 MLS clubs that wouldn’t see an improvement in their goalkeeping situations with Friedel on the roster. Even in places where a solid, well-regarded youngster is in place (Chicago, D.C. United, Colorado to name three), couldn’t the long-term be well-served by having Friedel around for a year to show the “kid” how it’s done?
Of course, there’s a salary consideration here. A club would have to convince Friedel to take a pay cut – and maybe that’s something the former international doesn’t want. Still, it’s all worth talking about, eh?