Jurgen Klinsmann announced on Thursday, 24 hours ahead of the U.S. national team’s first qualifier for the 2018 World Cup, that goalkeeper Brad Guzan and Tim Howard will split minutes as the starting goalkeeper between Friday’s opener and Tuesday’s away date with Trinidad and Tobago.
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Yes, really. In the year 2015, the USMNT, just as ever, flush with quality options at the position, will open its World Cup qualifying campaign with a 50-50 timeshare in goal.
I’m going to say the first thing that comes to mind here: this seems like a terrible idea, in every way possible.
Have a look at the current state of the USMNT defense, and try to convince yourself that they — no matter who starts back there on Friday, Tuesday and beyond — wouldn’t benefit from some semblance of stability and continuity organizing them from the back. Thus far, 2015 has been a disastrous calendar year for the USMNT, and a shambolic defense has been one of (about 19) of the biggest reasons why.
Howard and Guzan are professionals, they’ve both been backups at times during their respective careers and would/should fall in line if they were again named the backup this week. If not, there’s a young man named Bill Hamid who’s every bit deserving of the no. 2 (or no. 1) title, and would be happy to play the role of first understudy. Howard and Guzan don’t need to be “kept happy” by splitting up the minutes in goal; what the USMNT needs now is less constant change, more structure and a decent run of results to close out a thoroughly dreadful year.