Stars & Gloves
If you have browsed social media in recent days you are likely to have seen the chaos that unfurled during the MLS penalty shoot-out between New York City and Orlando City, after Pedro Gallesse was inexplicably showing a second yellow card after appearing to move off his line in a penalty save.
The MLS have a habit of producing weird and wonderful iterations of the penalty shoot-out but never before had an outfield player had to take the gloves during the spot kicks. That is exactly what happened when unable to make a sub, Orlando City sent defender Rodrigo Schlegel between the sticks, printed goalkeeper shirt and all. Schlegel was the hero when he saved the all-important New York spot-kick to send his side through to the next round of the MLS Play Offs.
This isn’t the only notable goalkeeping news in the US this week, as Sparta announced an initiative to add to #TeamSparta in every state with members already in New Jersey, Florida and California to name a few.
After being immersed by the recent election and now this, we might as well keep the American theme going. This week’s Sparta Spotlight will look at the best American goalkeepers on the scene right now.
Zach Steffen - Manchester City
The USMNT’s current number one Zach Steffen, was bought by Manchester City from Columbus Crew in the summer of 2019. He is yet to make a single league appearance for Pep Guardiola, just two in the League Cup and spent last year on loan at Bundesliga side Fortuna Dusseldorf.
Steffen is still only twenty-five and has very much been City’s back-up ‘keeper this season and is a reliable replacement for Ederson should he be called into action.
The Pennsylvania born stopper made his international debut in 2018, the same year he won the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year award, and soon became a shoo in after a magnificent display in a 1-1 draw with France just a month before they were crowned world champions.
Sean Johnson - New York City
Involved on the periphery of last week’s bizarre events, Sean Johnson is the national team’s second choice keeper and is still plying his trade in his home nation.
The Georgia born ‘keeper has spent the entirety of his career in the MLS with Chicago Fire and New York and has made nine appearances for the USMNT, having come through both under 20 and under 23 national set ups.
At thirty-one Johnson still has a substantial amount of time left if he plays his cards right but faces stiff competition in Europe for the country’s number one jersey.
Bill Hamid - DC United
Bill Hamid has been from DC United to FC Midtjylland and back in his eleven-year career and has been part of the national team set-up for the last eight years.
Hamid is essentially a one club man, having made just one appearance in his time in Denmark and spending his second season with Midtjylland on loan at DC, and with 230 games under is belt is one of United’s all time appearance maker.
The thirty-year-old from Virginia has only made seven appearances for the USMNT has played the role of back up to the likes of Tim Howard, Brad Guzan and now Zach Steffen, having been part of the 2014 World Cup and the CONCACAF Gold Cup squad.