For the upcoming five matches, U.S. national team coach Jürgen Klinsmann named six goalkeepers to the roster.
The United States will rotate the four domestic-based 'keepers so that it only has three in camp at any given point.
The main reason is to not deprive MLS teams – which are still in season – of starting goalkeepers for an unnecessary length of time. Besides the upcoming matches, which include two friendlies and three World Cup qualifiers, the United States will participate in the Gold Cup this summer.
“The rotation of the goalkeepers is just practical,” Klinsmann said. “We're going to have three full-time goalies with us at the Gold Cup. It's going to be mainly the goalkeepers coming from MLS. We're trying to work hard with Todd Durbin at MLS and the coaches in MLS to not keep their goalies away for too long. That's why we came up with the idea to share time in the third goalkeeper position in the upcoming five games.”
Another reason is to help nurture younger goalkeepers for the future.
“In the rankings there's no doubt about it. There's Tim Howard at No. 1, Brad Guzan at No. 2 and then Nick Rimando No. 3 as of today,” Klinsmann said. “But the years go by fast. We accompany them throughout the years in their development.”
Sean Johnson will join the team in Cleveland from May 26-30 for the friendly against Belgium. D.C. United shot-stopper Bill Hamid won't have to leave Washington, D.C. to train with the team May30 – June 2 ahead of the friendly with Germany.
Tally Hall will fly with the team to Jamaica (June 2 – June 8) for the first World Cup qualifier. Rimando has two games, qualifiers in Seattle and Salt Lake, Utah.
“The No. 3 right now is clearly Nick Rimando, but is it fair to take him for an entire month now and then also an entire month for the Gold Cup?” Klinsmann asked. “I don't think so.”
The German's comments indicate Rimando may start during the Gold Cup run in July.
Hamid and the Chicago Fire's Johnson represented a U-23 team in the failed 2012 Olympic qualifying campaign.
“Billy and Sean Johnson are our future goalkeepers that we monitor, that we nurture, that we help in their development,” Klinsmann said. “They went through a very difficult stage in developing because of the Olympic team situation. At the same time they're young, they play already as the No. 1 at their clubs, and we want to always keep them connected to us.”
Hamid recently lost his starting spot at D.C. United, which has the fewest points in MLS, to Joe Willis. Klinsmann emphasized that his young players – Hamid is 22 – need to ride out the natural ups and downs of professional soccer.
“I think it's important that these guys know if they have a couple bad games they're definitely not out of the picture,” the former Germany international said.
However, the inclusion of Hall for the World Cup qualifier in Jamaica may indicate that the Houston Dynamo stopper has edged ahead in the pecking order.
“The highest priority we have is World Cup qualifying, there's no doubt about it, but at the same time we want to have a way strong Gold Cup roster as well,” Klinsmann said.
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