Time to go, Kasey

>> Monday

I've always been a Kasey Keller fan. It's kind of hard not to be. The man was tough-as-nails on the field, easily one of the best (if not the greatest) American goalkeeper in history, a metalhead who rarely gave a shit in interviews with the press, and lives in a German castle. But it's time for him to go.

Keller is listed as the Americans' starting goalkeeper for tonight's Copa America match against Paraguay. The whole point of sending a roster devoid of stars and regulars to Copa America was to develop the kids. By exposing a young group of players to the intense pressure cookers and world-class teams in South America's premier tournament, the team hoped to have a leg up for the bright lights of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Kasey Keller will not and SHOULD NOT be on that team. He is 37 years old now, and will be 40 come 2010. He's at least the 3rd or 4th best keeper in the US Player Pool. While Keller was a great keeper for the US National Team, "was" is the key word in that sentence. More cerebral goalkeepers can play into their 40s, but a keeper like K eller whose skills are based more on quick reaction time and reflex saves cannot. Keller's continued inclusion on the roster can only be attributed to misplaced loyalty for his years of service or to serve as a "field general" or "mentor to the kids." However, both of these can be accomplished in a coaching or reserve keeper role.

So what's the alternative? In the United States' 4-1 loss to Argentina last week, admittedly no keeper could save the US from Argentina's world-class strikers, but had backup keeper Brad Guzan (who figures to be on the 2010 World Cup roster) been playing, the US could have at least gotten some player development and experience out of the process. Keller still believes he is a top-flight keeper, despite being cut from his now-Second Division German club. With Keller's aging body and slowing reflexes, it is plainly obvious to anyone who watched his performance against Argentina, or against Canada in the Gold Cup, that he has lost a step. I wish him the best of luck finding a new club, but it is clear that he is the past, not the future of the US National Team, and as such, should be benched by Coach Bradley.


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