Photo courtesy Chris Cowger / Pittsburgh Riverhounds
If you’ve been watching the USL closely over the past couple of years, you’ll have seen numerous top young goalkeepers performing at a high level for their respective clubs.
According to a new list compiled by Will Parchman for MLSSoccer.com, you might also have seen the future between the sticks for the U.S. Men’s National Team. Ahead of tonight’s international exhibition between the United States and New Zealand (8 p.m. ET, ESPN), Parchman ranked the 10 players most likely to take up the mantle upon the international retirement of longtime stalwarts Tim Howard, Brad Guzan and Nick Rimando.
Among them? Three players who’ve appeared in the USL both this season and before. Leading the way is Pittsburgh Riverhounds goalkeeper Zack Steffen, who joined the club on loan from Columbus Crew SC to make nine appearances at the end of this past regular season. Steffen posted a .755 save percentage and 1.33 goals-against average on loan as he returned to the States after starting for the U.S. at the 2015 FIFA U20 World Cup.
Next up is Seattle Sounders FC 2 goalkeeper Tyler Miller, who began his pro career with S2 before being signed to an MLS contract this past offseason. Miller has made 13 appearances for S2 over the past two seasons, posting a .758 save percentage and 1.15 goals-against average, and made a big impression this year in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, earning the Sounders a penalty shootout victory against Real Salt Lake in the Round of 16.
Finally, Sporting Kansas City Homegrown standout Jon Kempin has been playing on loan in the USL since 2013, when he first suited up for Orlando City SC. After making nine appearances for the Lions – where he posted a 1.12 goals-against average – he has since appeared for both OKC Energy FC and the Swope Park Rangers. A former MLS Chipotle Homegrown Game MVP, Kempin shone early in the season for SPR, including saves like the two below.