Featured Matches
Previous
Valencia
Malaga
8:00 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Augsburg
Borussia Dortmund
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Marseille
Nice
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Sporting Kansas City
Houston Dynamo
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Getafe
Almeria
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Getafe
Almeria
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Valencia
Malaga
8:00 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Augsburg
Borussia Dortmund
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Marseille
Nice
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Perugia
Bologna
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Union Berlin
Nurnberg
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
FSV Frankfurt
RB Leipzig
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
VfR Aalen
Kaiserslautern
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
AJ Auxerre
Valenciennes
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Ajaccio GFCO
Troyes
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Chateauroux
Orléans
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Le Havre AC
Créteil
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Nimes
Arles
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Niort
Clermont Foot
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Sochaux
Dijon FCO
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Stade Laval
AC Ajaccio
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Go Ahead Eagles
Willem II Tilburg
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Achilles '29
Fortuna Sittard
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Den Bosch
Jong Ajax
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Helmond Sport
NEC Nijmegen
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Jong PSV
FC Eindhoven
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
RKC Waalwijk
Jong FC Twente
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
SC Stormvogels Telstar
Almere City
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Sparta Rotterdam
FC Volendam
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
VVV Venlo
FC Emmen VV
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Academica de Coimbra
Vitoria Setubal
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Ural Sverdlovsk Oblast
Terek Grozny
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Balikesirspor
Akhisar Belediye
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Caykur Rizespor
Genclerbirligi
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
KAA Gent
KV Kortrijk
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Helsingborg
Halmstad
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Orebro SK
Brommapojkarna
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Athlone Town FC
Cork
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Bray
UCD
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Derry City
St Patricks
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Dundalk
Bohemians
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Limerick FC
Drogheda Utd
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Shamrock
Sligo
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Glenavon
Ballymena
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Coleraine
Portadown
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Sporting Kansas City
Houston Dynamo
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Queretaro
Monterrey
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Tijuana
U. de G.
2:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Aberystwyth
Bangor City
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Carmarthen
Port Talbot
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Newi Cefn Druids
Connah's Quay
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Airbus UK
Newtown
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
T.N.S.
Rhyl
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Independiente Rivadavia
Atlético Tucumán
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Unión de Santa Fe
Crucero del Norte
7:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Huracán
Patronato
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Instituto de Córdoba
Ferro Carril Oeste
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Temperley
Sp. Belgrano
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Gimnasia y Esgrima de Jujuy
San Martín de San Juan
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Atlante
At. San Luis
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Coras Tepic
Lobos BUAP
1:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Joinville
Oeste
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Sampaio Correa-MA
América Mineiro
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Santa Cruz FC
Goianiense
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Arica
Palestino
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
12 de Octubre
Nacional
Postp
Game Details
Bidvest Wits
Moroka Swallows
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Chippa United
Ajax Cape Town
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Next

Season preview: Will Juve win it again?

Serie A about an hour ago
Read

Marcotti: Platini's missed opportunity

FIFA 21 hours ago
Read
Apr 26, 2006

Worthy of a call

For most of the past fifteen years, the U.S. national team has been spoiled with world-class goalkeepers who excelled for both club and country. No run of results more typifies the importance of the goalkeeper to the United States national team then the 2002 run to the quarterfinals of the World Cup. The storied performance was made possible in part through some stellar individual efforts by Brad Friedel, who was heralded by some as the tournament's most outstanding goalkeeper behind only Germany's Oliver Kahn.

For a national team that still is somewhat naïve and lacks the savvy of the more sophisticated European teams in the group stage, it is fundamentally crucial that the choice of goalkeepers for the team be as deep as any field position. The fact that it might currently be one of the most shallow selections on the team is downright scary.

In a piece on ESPNsoccernet that first appeared earlier this year, Ives Galarcep lamented the current lack of goalkeeping in MLS and noted that the league had always produced high-caliber goalkeepers.

The truth is that this is not just a MLS-specific problem but is a drought for the national team as well. With the retirement from international play of Brad Friedel, the United States not only lost its starting goalkeeper but the move also directly affected the team's depth chart.

Friedel's decision to focus on his club career forced the very capable Kasey Keller into the starter's role. While many nations in the world would be envious to have Keller as their starting goalkeeper, it was a comfort to Arena to know that should Friedel falter or battle injuries, Keller was always a viable option.

With Keller now a lock to man the nets for the team this June in Germany, Arena has done a woeful job in finding the second and third keepers for the World Cup team. Many have penciled-in Tim Howard to be Keller's backup and understudy; a move that makes sense with the tournament most likely being Keller's last international hurrah.

The opportunity for Howard to soak up the World Cup atmosphere will be invaluable for the 27-year-old MetroStars product, who made a splash in the English Premiership upon his purchase by Manchester United in 2004 but has since battled for consistent playing time. While he should be a lock for the team, the competition for the third goalkeeper must now be questioned in light of Howard's match preparedness come June.

All indications point to Marcus Hahnemann being slotted into the third keeper role. Hahnemann has been more then adequate this season as Reading FC has earned promotion to the Premiership. The former Seattle Sounders and Colorado Rapids net minder will turn 34 during the World Cup, yet has limited international experience -- having earned just a handful of caps for the national team. Combining Howard's dearth of consistent playing time over the past year along with Hahnemann's lack of international experience and the options after Keller are far from inspiring.

The option for Arena is evident; the remedy to the situation is none other then Tony Meola. Remember, it was Meola who controversially was named to the squad four years ago to fill a similar role of experience and composure. His presence assured Arena that should either Friedel or Keller be unable to perform he had a goalkeeper on the squad who has and could handle the job.

Ironically, it was who Meola beat out the raw and inexperienced Tim Howard for that final slot. While Howard is more prepared to handle the position for the national team then he was four years ago, Meola is by far the best and most experienced option to have as a third keeper. Having recently earned his 100th cap with the team, Meola would be a more stabilizing factor to have on the team behind Howard then Hahnemann.

Meola's numbers through the first portion of the MLS season have been far from gaudy. In the first four matches of the MLS season, Meola's record stands at a less then stellar 0-3-1 with an abysmal 1.75 goals against average that places him in the bottom half of all MLS goalkeepers. Quite frankly, these are not the type of statistics that a World Cup-caliber player is expected to put up.

While statistics don't lie, they also are far more indicative of the quality of the Red Bull New York's midfield and backline then of Meola's standard of play this year. Numbers alone don't tell the story for Meola, who at times been the salvation of the team. His 29 saves through four games leads all MLS keepers and is a testament to the 37-year-old's ability to keep his team in the game.

Another intangible to Meola's game is his distribution, a skill that is perhaps the best of any American keeper -- whether in MLS or abroad. His composure and ability to jump start a counterattack is still as sharp as ever and is one of his most valuable assets.

More importantly, Meola has recovered fully from the injuries that hampered him throughout much of 2004 and 2005 and is now as fit and trim as he has been during his MLS career. Despite having been quoted that this might be his last year of professional soccer, the truth is that the man is still very much in his prime. There is no doubt that Meola's performance in MLS thus far has proven to be a class above any other keeper in the league, record notwithstanding. Much like Meola and perhaps Keller, it is unlikely that Hahnemann will be in the national team picture much longer due to his age. The argument to bring Hahnemann to Germany as a part of his development is not plausible. Even if you consider Meola and Hahnemann equals in terms of talent and ability, Meola's wealth of experience at the World Cup and international level is clearly the tipping point when comparing the two. Meola should in no way replace Howard on the depth chart but he is the ideal supplement to the roster. Marcus Hahnemann should be applauded for his achievements with Reading over the past several seasons, but Arena must choose someone with the experience of Meola to provide balance and provide much needed depth at the position. The choice is clear for Arena, but it remains to be seen if he will make the right move.

Kristian R. Dyer is a freelance writer who covers US Soccer and MLS for ESPNsoccernet and The New York City Sporting News. He can be reached for comment at KristianRDyer@yahoo.com