Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Canada's goalkeeping situation + more

Asmir Begovic is getting some good action to close out the season for Portsmouth. David James is set for shoulder surgery, which means that Begovic will likely start next weekend. He did do enough to get the job next week. The chance for Begovic at the end of the season has provided an opportunity for his to show his stuff of what he can do against some of the best players in the world. With that experience, does he get into the mix as the starting goalkeeper for Canada at the Gold Cup this summer?

His competition will try and show that they should get the gig and depending on how Stephen Hart wants to head into the tournament, they might. First, the competition and forgive me if I have missed someone, trying to find a Canadian goalie playing quality minutes outside of North America in like trying to find a needle in a hay stack.

Josh Wagenaar had a good string of games for Yoevil Town in League One. but did not feature in a long stretch of games near the end of the season before coming on for 6 minutes in his final match action on May 2nd, 2009. Hardly game ready.

Lars Hirschfeld plays for CFR Cluj. But playing is a hardly a word I would use. Featuring in very limited action during his time in Romania. Can he be ready for the summer?

Kenny Stamatopoulos is in Norway and so far during the season has featured in one match. Hardly someone you can have as your starting goalkeeper on a national level.

On this side of the water, Greg Sutton has been a mainstay in the program, but he's only played twice this season for TFC and has been beaten out for the starting job by Stefan Frei.

The biggest competition comes from the 109 year old (actually 41 years old) Pat Onstad. Who is once again proving that he has what it takes to play the game at the MLS level. Starting in all 8 games for Houston and providing 4 clean sheets.

The biggest question on Onstad is whether he still wants to play or whether Hart still wants him. he may not want to compete on the internation stage anymore, he did afterall, get a lot of blame for a certain goal in qualifying. Hart must decide whether Canada is making a run to win the Gold Cup or building for 2014.

If the decision is to win the Gold Cup, the choice is obviously Onstad, with Begovis backing up and learning. If it's to build for the future, Begovic is your main guy. I feel like the Gold Cup should be a building block for the younger players while continuing to build the core which features De Rosario and de Guzman. I would start Begovic and bring Onstad as the back-up to tutor the young netminder. The future starts now and it's time to figure out whether Canada can sink or swim with what they have.

Elsewhere on the field, I like the Canadian back line at TFC. I would love to see Adrian Serioux as the main man on the backline with David Edgar slotting beside him. With Nana Attakora-Gyan proving that he can play with MLS calibre players sitting on the right. While I like what I have seen from Jim Brennan this season, I think the left side is still up for grabs.

In the midfield, I would like to see Dwayne De Rosario, Julian de Guzman with Daniel Imhof playing a holding role, a job he's done very all season at Bochum in Germany. And to mix it up, Will Johnson starting all 9 matches for Real Salt Lake.

Up front, I'm going with Simeon Jackson, who is ripping it up in England and Rob Friend. It would feature a nice mix of size and speed.

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