United States men’s national team head coach Gregg Berhalter confirmed Zack Steffen will be starting in goal against Jamaica during Tuesday night’s World Cup qualifier, after a stunning performance versus Mexico.
Last week Berhalter opted for the Manchester City goalkeeper instead of the New England Revolution's Matt Turner.
Competition has been intense between the pair, especially after Turner excelled when Steffen was out with a lower-back injury during the October international window.
But the head coach revealed he is confident in his decision, adding that “we felt Zack was ahead.”
“There are a number of possessions we could be keeping in these games that we’re not. We think Zack is stronger with his feet. There’s not much separating them, but in this particular area, where we think it’s an area of need, we felt Zack was ahead,” Berhalter said.
“We’re not hesitant to change goalkeepers; that’s not something we are adverse to. We know the competition is really tight and they’re pushing each other. And that’s a good thing.”
Steffen reiterated the coach’s thoughts that the competition is a “good thing,” clarifying that no tension or animosity exists between the two USMNT figures.
“We all want to be playing, and for goalkeeping, there is only one position. I really like Matt. I really like his energy. We have a really good camaraderie within the group. We have a good culture. We have a very strong group that pushes each other day in and day out. That’s exactly what we need to continue to grow on the field.”
Steffen marked his territory during Mexico’s match, making two momentous saves in the first half that preserved his clean sheet. His exceptional performance inspired teammates to push forward and seal the 2-0 victory.
“We ask keepers all the time, ‘Can you make that one, maybe two big saves you need to make?’” center back Walker Zimmerman said.
“Mexico certainly had the great chance in the first half when they could’ve gone up. If he doesn’t make that save, the game is a lot different.”
The USMNT now enters the match against Jamaica as leaders of the Concacaf table with 14 points in seven games, narrowly edging out Mexico on goal difference.
Source : 90min