Argentina has their number 10. Other countries have their famous positions. What would the United States’ be? Landon Donovan may be the best player ever to wear the red, white and blue, but the position that cranks out the most talent would be goalkeeper.
Outfield players, like Donovan, have only now started making a major impact in international tournaments and foreign clubs. However, the goalkeepers have been making noise across the pond for years.
It started with Tony Meola in 1988, and the tradition has continued through Kasey Keller, Brad Friedel and now Tim Howard and Brad Guzan in 2014.
Goalkeeper has never been an issue for anyone in charge of the U.S. National Team as both their experience and talent has always been a strength.
Tim Howard is entrenched as the number one keeper until he wants to retire from international duty. After a down season for Everton in 2012-13, he rebounded spectacularly in 2013-14 for the Toffees.
Guzan, meanwhile, struggled at times for Aston Villa this season, but suffered because of a shoddy defense in front of him. Aspects of Guzan’s game were still on point, but his overall Squawka score was down significantly from his 2012-13 campaign where he single-handily kept Aston Villa afloat.
So how did they compare against the world’s elite? Guzan’s disappointing season doesn’t have him anywhere on the leaderboard, but as you can see in the chart below, Tim Howard finished tenth in Europe in Squawka score for all goalkeepers.
Howard has long been considered a top-flight keeper, but after looking at the list he has to be considered one of the elite in the tournament. Manuel Neuer is Germany’s number one keeper, and his back up Marc-Andre ter Stegen, while also on the list, won’t see the field. The same can be said about Gigi Buffon and Salvatore Sirigu once Buffon returns from injury, while De Sanctis won’t even be in Brazil for Italy.
Like De Sanctis, Wojciech Szczesny won’t be in Brazil either as Poland failed to qualify and the same can be said Samir Handanvich as Slovenia failed to qualify.
That just leaves David Ospina as the only other goalkeepers ranked ahead of Tim Howard who will be starting at the World Cup.
Not too shabby, Tim.