Meet the Crew is a two-week series that examines positional battles on this year’s Columbus Crew SC roster. This installment focuses on goalkeepers.
Over the next two weeks, Four Four Crew will be previewing this year’s squad, which features fresh faces, established vets and youngsters competing for a spot on the first team. Today we will start in the back with the goalkeepers.
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Across the international stage, Americans are almost universally revered in our ability to produce high-quality goalkeepers (Remember those “Things Tim Howard Can Save” memes that went viral following Howard’s performance in last year’s World Cup?). Columbus Crew SC also boasts a pretty good starting goalkeeper, and the supporting net minders aren’t a bunch of schmucks either.
So without further ado, let’s take a quick look at the men in the fluorescent shirts yelling at the defense.
Third Keeper Options
Option No. 1: Tomas Gomez
The newest member of the roster is an interesting addition to the squad. Gomez was drafted in the 3rd round of the SuperDraft out of Georgetown, where he started 81 matches for the Hoyas over 4 years and recorded double-digit shutouts in his last two years.
It is extremely hard for a rookie Goalkeeper to make a roster (especially one with 3 other returning keepers.) However, Gomez is a big goalkeeper — 6’2” and 190 pounds — and seems fairly mobile for his size.
With the rough and tumble nature of MLS, if he combines his size with confidence and control of the box, he may earn himself a roster spot.
Brad Stuver Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports
Option No. 2: Brad Stuver #41
2nd Year with Crew
Picked up in the 4th round of the 2013 Waiver Draft, Brad Stuver has never stepped between the sticks for the Crew. Stuver spent much of the 2014 season on-loan at USL-Pro sides Dayton Dutch Lions and Wilmington Hammerheads.
Much of his time in Dayton was spent on the bench as the backup, but playing time with the Hammerheads was much better. In Wilmington, he played the last 12 matches, recording 3 clean sheets.
Stuver will be in a dogfight with Gomez for the third set of gloves.
Expectations: Stuver starts with the advantage being the one with professional experience, but Gomez has a chance if he puts in a good preseason camp. I expect Gomez to be signed and sent out on loan at the beginning of the season, hopefully using our partnership with the Austin Aztex. Stuver likely sticks around as third keeper unless a better option presents itself or Gomez simply outplays him.
Matt Lampson Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports
Matt Lampson #28
4th Year with Crew
The former homegrown player is now entering his fourth year with the Black and Gold. He is a solid, but not spectacular, player that makes for a good option to have in case Steve Clark is unable to go between the sticks. He has played 16 times for Columbus, but hasn’t featured with the first team since 2013.
Expectations: Spends majority of the MLS season on the bench backing up Steve Clark. He will likely start the Open Cup matches and any international friendlies (against bottom table English squads). If something happens to Steve Clark, he would be the man to step in the box.
Steve Clark. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Steve Clark #1
2nd year with Crew
Was there any doubt that our number one would be anyone else but Steve Clark? One of the most consistent keepers in the league, he looks to maintain a firm grasp on the starting keeper spot. He played 34 matches in 2014, recording 8 clean sheets and helping the team back into the playoffs.
Expectations: Continues his strong form from last season. Remains one the best goalkeepers in the league and backstops the Black and Gold into another postseason in an increasingly crowded Eastern Conference.
Hopes and Dreams: Clark continues to dominate the box and earns himself a National Team call-up. (I’m still salty about how he has never even received a January Camp call.)
That concludes our breakdown of the goalkeeper situation for this year’s Crew SC. Keep a lookout this weekend for our Defenders preview.