CARSON, Calif -- The goalkeeper position in the United States national team might be more open than it has been in several FIFA World Cup cycles.
Currently the US have four domestic goalkeepers in their January camp: Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes), Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls), and Stefan Frei (Seattle Sounders) -- although Frei, a Swiss national pursuing US citizenship, is not yet eligible for selection.
Notice anyone missing?
That would be longtime No.1 Tim Howard of the Colorado Rapids, who is still recovering from an injury suffered in November during World Cup qualifying; heir apparent Brad Guzan, who -- despite rumors of a domestic move -- still remains under contract with Middlesbrough; and Bill Hamid, who left January camp with a knee injury.
After Thursday's practice, head coach Bruce Arena confirmed all seven of these goalkeepers are still on his radar, along with two more who ply their trades abroad.
“In a short period of time [our domestic goalkeepers] have had a good showing,” Arena said. “Brad Guzan is still in England, and we’re waiting to see the progress of Tim Howard.
“The other two players that are certainly under consideration are [William] Yarbrough and [Ethan] Horvath.”
The goalkeeper for the upcoming friendlies will come out of the four domestic keepers still in camp, with Rimando holding an edge over the other three in terms of experience. Aside from Guzan, the foreign-based keepers still on the radar were both brought into the pool by former coach Jurgen Klinsmann, with dual citizen Yarbrough (Leon) switching from the Mexican federation to US Soccer in 2015 and the 21-year-old Horvath (Club Brugge) making his USMNT debut in 2016.
Hamid’s injury is a deja vu for the national team and D.C. United fans, as he started off 2016 with a right meniscus tear that kept him from the first 12 games of the MLS season. Fans can take comfort that Arena didn’t appear to be too concerned about this latest injury.
“Bill should be fine," said Arena. “I think in a couple weeks he should be back to full training.”
For Rimando, who has been around the national team long enough that he was first called up during Arena’s first stint as national team coach in 2002, the new regime is a fresh start but still business as usual.
“It’s a new chapter for sure,” said Rimando. “A new chapter for a lot of people. Doesn’t change for me, my focus is always come in, help the team in any way you can, impress the coaches, give it my all and try to bring something to this team.”