Back-to-back defeats against Mexico and Costa Rica eventually cost Jurgen Klinsmann his place at the helm of the United States men’s national team back in November.
LA Galaxy manager Bruce Arena was handed the vacant role, 10 years on since he departed the national team after eight years in charge, and soccer fans have been eagerly awaiting his first squad selection since. That moment came earlier this month, ahead of friendlies against Serbia and Jamaica on January 29th and February 3rd.
It is clear from Arena’s selection that he is keep to put his own touches on his new team, as he has called up no less than seven uncapped players into his 32-man squad.
The goalkeeping position, in particular, seems to have caught his attention. The national team has been switching between Brad Guzan and Tim Howard since the Copa America tournament last summer, to no avail. However, both of those players have failed to make the cut under Arena, as he begins his search for a player that can lock down the goalkeeping position.
Instead, Arena has opted for four keepers with just 25 caps between them, most of which come from one player.
It has been 15 long years since Nick Rimando made his debut for the US national team. He is the only experienced goalkeeper to make Arena’s squad selection, having played 21 times for his country throughout his career. Although, he has failed to make an appearance since April 2015.
At the age of 37, Rimando isn’t the long-term answer to Arena’s goalkeeping conundrum. However, with a CONCACAF Gold Cup winners’ medal, two MLS Cups and 15 years of top level experience, Rimando is a great figure for the younger players to have in the dressing room.
Like Rimando, Robles has plenty of top level experience to call upon, having featured in more than 150 matches for Major League Soccer side New York Red Bulls.
Despite an impressive five year spell in the top flight, in which he has won two MLS Supporters’ Shields and an MLS Goalkeeper of the Year award, Robles struggled to convince Klinsmann to give him a chance, making just one appearance since returning to the United States. He will recognise that Arena’s arrival provides a huge opportunity to correct his disappointing international record and must take his opportunity when called upon.
After embarking on loan spells with North American Soccer League side San Antonio Scorpions and Norwegian club Strommen IF, Bingham returned to San Jose Earthquakes in 2015 to take up his place as their first-choice shot-stopper.
The Quakes had a disappointing 2016 season, finishing in 9th place in the Western Conference. Yet, they recorded the third lowest goals conceded tally in the conference, which has ultimately earned Bingham a place in Arena’s squad. Aged 27 and entering his prime, Bingham has a real chance to take his career to the next level over the next week.
Rowe made the switch from the reserves to the first-team under Arena at LA Galaxy, breaking through as the club’s first-choice goalkeeper ahead of the 2016 campaign. Given the 28-year-old’s relationship with the United States coach, he could be fast-tracked into the national team set-up too.
Rowe is the only goalkeeper to make the cut who has never made an appearance for his country. However, having helped LA Galaxy to reach the MLS Cup conference semi-finals, conceded the second fewest goals in the Western Conference and recorded the third most shutouts, all in his first full MLS season, Rowe is certainly deserving of his place in the squad.