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United States Men's National Team: Ranking the Top Five Goalkeepers

Historically, goalkeeper has been the United States Men's National Team's deepest position talent-wise, but the team now seems to have a shortage of options between the posts.

Matt Turner lost his starting spot at Nottingham Forest during the 2023/24 Premier League season, former USMNT 'keeper Zack Steffen has shown poor shot-stopping since moving to the Colorado Rapids, and Gaga Slonina was loaned out from Chelsea after getting beaten out by another former MLS player, Dorde Petrovic, who is not USMNT eligible.

Still, there are more than 10 American 'keepers starting for MLS teams, and quite a few of them are performing well in an offense-first league.

Turner and Steffen are Berhalter's most-used goalkeepers with 33 and 23 appearances, respectively, in the coach's 71 games in charge of the USMNT.

They're the only two 'keepers with double-digit appearances for Berhalter, while the coach has also used Brad Guzan, Sean Johnson, Bill Hamid and Patrick Schulte in net.

Here, we're going to rank the top five goalkeepers in the USMNT player pool.

We'll focus on shot-stopping stats - particularly expected goals on target minus goals allowed, which shows how many goals a 'keeper has saved compared to what an average goalie would save - and short and medium passing stats since the USMNT plays the ball out of defense, starting with the goalie.

All stats are broken down into per-90 minute rates, unless otherwise noted.

5. Sean Johnson

Club: Toronto FC (MLS - United States)
Key Stats: +0.03 post-shot xG minus goals allowed, 3.0 saves, 98.2 percent short pass accuracy, 99.3 percent medium pass accuracy, 1 total error leading to shot, +0.17 plus/minus

Sean Johnson is just about an average shot-stopper, as his +0.03 post-shot xG plus/minus shows (0.0 is average). Still, his team performs better when he is on the field.

For example: Toronto FC had a 4-10-20 win-loss-draw record to finish last in the Eastern Conference in 2023. Johnson, who started just 20 of the season's 34 matches, was the starter for three of the four wins, all 10 of the draws, and just seven of the losses.

Fully healthy in 2023 and playing under a new manager, Toronto FC is on course to make the playoffs, and Johnson's steady veteran presence is a huge reason why. He'll provide that presence for the USMNT as a result of being called up to the preliminary Copa America squad, although he's not likely to be the starter.

4. Drake Callender

Club: Inter Miami (MLS - United States)
Key Stats: +0.19 post-shot xG minus goals allowed, 3.1 saves, 99.1 short pass accuracy, 98.7 medium pass accuracy, 1 total error leading to shot, +1.12 plus/minus, 1/4 penalty kicks saved

Inter Miami is certainly not known for its defense, and Drake Callender's shot-stopping is a big reason why Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and company have been able to outscore their opponents consistently.

Callender has saved 3.3 more goals than expected in 17 matches this season, showing his ability to rise to the occasion and make a big stop. That's especially important given some Miami players' lack of interest in contributing to the team's defensive shape, which can lead to opponent counter attacks.

The 26-year-old is competent in possession, which is important for both Miami manager Tata Martino and USMNT manager Berhalter. He received a call-up from the national team in August 2022 but never made an appearance.

3. Matt Freese

Club: New York City FC (MLS - United States)
Key Stats: +0.32 post-shot xG minus goals allowed, 3.7 saves, 2 total errors leading to shots, 100 percent short pass accuracy, 98.6 medium pass accuracy, +0.44 plus/minus, 1/1 penalty kicks saved

As a younger player with the Philadelphia Union, Matt Freese had been tabbed as a potential USMNT 'keeper. Now that he's out of Union legend Andre Blake's shadow and is the undisputed starter for NYCFC, he's beginning to make good on that potential.

Freese has played every minute this season for his team, and NYCFC has a +7 goal differential while Freese is saving +0.32 xG on target above average, which means his play is worth about one goal saved every three games.

Freese is 25 and in terms of shot-stopping, he's statistically among the best in MLS in 2024. Add the fact that he has yet to misplace a short pass this season, and it seems that he's overdue for a call from Berhalter.

2. Roman Celentano

Club: FC Cincinnati (MLS - United States)
Key Stats: +0.27 post-shot xG minus goals allowed, 5 total clean sheets, 2.6 saves, 100 percent short pass accuracy, 95.7 percent medium pass accuracy, 0 total errors leading to shot, +0.58 plus/minus

The youngest 'keeper on this list at 23, Roman Celentano has been FC Cincinnati's starting goalkeeper for three seasons already. He played the most minutes in Cincy's Supporters' Shield-winning campaign last year, and he has taken a big step forward so far this season.

Through 12 matches in 2024, Celentano has saved shots worth a total of 3.2 xG on target. In 33 matches in 2023, he prevented just 0.3 xG on target for the full season. Plus, his clean sheet percentage of 36.4 percent last year (12 clean sheets in 33 matches) has grown to 41.7 percent with five clean sheets in 12 games in 2024.

Celentano hasn't made an error leading to a shot this season and he only made three in 2023. Even more impressive: he did not make a single error leading to a shot in 27 games in 2022, his first MLS season. This 'keeper plays with composure beyond his years and deserves a chance to shine with the USMNT.

1. Matt Turner

Club: Nottingham Forest (Premier League - England)
Key Stats: -0.35 xG on target minus goals allowed, 100 percent short pass accuracy, 97.4 percent medium pass accuracy, 4 total errors leading to shots, -0.29 plus/minus, +0.32 on-off plus/minus

One bad season is not going to knock Matt Turner off his perch as the USMNT's No. 1 goalkeeper. He lost his place at Nottingham Forest in part because the team signed three goalkeepers - including Turner - in the span of one season, and none of the three played well.

Turner comes up big between the sticks whenever he plays for the USMNT, although he constantly worries fans as he rarely looks comfortable with the ball at his feet. That said, his game-changing or game-saving saves give his teammates lots of confidence, and those moments can swing a game's momentum.

It should be noted that Forest fared much better in the 17 matches with him on the field than in the 21 games without him, as shown by Turner's +0.32 on/off plus/minus, which subtracts Forest's scoring margin per 90 minutes with Turner from its scoring margin per 90 minutes without him.

Simply put, he makes a positive impact when he plays.

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