USMNT Watch: Goalkeeping Concerns Continue, Alvarado Experiments at Right-Back

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJanuary 17, 2016

Everton's goalkeeper Tim Howard during the English Premier League soccer match between Newcastle United and Everton at St James' Park, Newcastle, England, Saturday, Dec. 26, 2015. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)
Scott Heppell/Associated Press

One of the most discussed positions in the United States men's national team lineup over the last year has been goalkeeper. 

The situation worsened over the weekend as the top three netminders in the USMNT talent pool suffered different kinds of setbacks. 

Although the negatives may seem to outweigh the positives in terms of first-team news at the moment, one regular in 2015 is thriving in Mexico at a new position.

We'll have news on those stories and more below in our latest USMNT Watch. 

Howard Concedes 3, Guzan Sits Again 

After delivering what was arguably his best performance in net Wednesday since the USMNT's last game of the 2014 FIFA World Cup against Belgium, Tim Howard conceded three goals in Everton's 3-3 draw with Chelsea on Saturday. Although Howard made seven saves in the draw, he failed to secure three points for Roberto Martinez's side.

In news involving Howard off the pitch, the Colorado Rapids are attempting to bring him in by way of the No. 1 spot in the MLS allocation order, per ESPN FC's Jeff Carlisle. 

Everton's US goalkeeper Tim Howard (R) makes a save during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Everton at Stamford Bridge in London on January 16, 2016. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS


A move back to MLS with Colorado may not seem ideal, but Howard isn't exactly making a strong case to remain Everton's No. 1 goalkeeper at the moment.

As for his co-starter on the USMNT, Brad Guzan spent another week on the bench for Aston Villa as they drew Leicester City 1-1. 

As if the USMNT needed more rough news involving goalkeepers, D.C. United's Bill Hamid could be out for several months with a knee injury, per Steven Goff of the Washington Post: 

Steven Goff @SoccerInsider

Brutal news for D.C. United: GK @BillHamid28 probably going to miss several months with knee injury. No official word from #dcu yet

USMNT boss Jurgen Klinsmann seems set on rotating Howard and Guzan right now, but don't be surprised if one of the goalkeepers in the January camp ends up pushing the experienced pair for the starting gig if Howard's and Guzan's form remains brutal in the Premier League. 

Alvarado Impresses at Right-Back 

Klinsmann is no stranger to playing his best athletes out of position, but Ventura Alvarado never strayed from center-back during 2015 in red, white and blue.

That might change if he continues to receive playing time on the right side of defense at Club America in place of the injured Paul Aguilar. 

OSAKA, JAPAN - DECEMBER 16:  (MEXICO OUT)  Ventura Alvarado of Club America and Roger Assale of TP Mazembe during the FIFA Club World Cup Fifth Place Playoff  between the Club America and TP Mazembe at Osaka Nagai Stadium on December 16, 2015 in Osaka, Ja
Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

If Alvarado remains at right-back for a sustained stretch of time, he could end up there for the pair of CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers against Guatemala in March. 

Elsewhere in Mexico, defenders Jorge Villafana and Omar Gonzalez made their second-career starts in Mexico for Santos Laguna and Pachuca respectively. William Yarbrough made two saves in Club Leon's 3-1 win over Veracruz on Friday. 

Miguel Ibarra, Jose Torres and Jonathan Bornstein did not feature this weekend in Mexico. 

Pulisic, Morris Contribute in German Friendlies

The hype train surrounding standout prospects Christian Pulisic and Jordan Morris roared louder than it has in a few months on Friday. 

Pulisic, who was recently promoted to the first team at Borussia Dortmund, scored a goal in a friendly against South Korea's Jeonbuk. The 17-year-old netted the final goal of Dortmund's 4-1 victory. 

Morris, who is currently training with Werder Bremen, handed out an assist in the club's friendly against Inter Baku. Morris provided Claudio Pizarro with a nice cross from the left wing on the forward's 42nd-minute goal. 

Although Morris hasn't chosen where he wants to play first as a professional, he is showing signs that he can be an immediate contributor wherever he goes. 

News and Notes: Vincent Drafted, Bedoya Plays Solid 90 Minutes

Left-back Brandon Vincent was selected fourth by the Chicago Fire in Thursday's MLS SuperDraft. The current member of the USMNT January camp should receive playing time right away, since Joevin Jones was traded to the Seattle Sounders on Thursday.

Alejandro Bedoya played 90 minutes in central midfield for Nantes in their 2-2 draw with Guingamp on Saturday. Nantes are 10th in Ligue 1 with 28 points from 21 matches. 

Danny Williams and Eric Lichaj were the only USMNT-eligible players to go the full 90 in the Championship on Saturday. 

Gedion Zelalem entered as a substitute in the Rangers' 4-1 win over Livingston in the Scottish Championship on Saturday.

Joe Tansey covers U.S. Soccer for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter, @JTansey90