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Good, Bad for Americans in Germany

Americans met in a German second-division match yesterday, and it wasn't pretty.

With Luis Robles in goal, Kaiserslautern blasted defender Heath Pearce and Hansa Rostock, 6-0. Pearce received a red card in the 64th minute.

Kicker, the fine German publication, referred to Kaiserslautern's uprising as a "sixpack."

Robles is an Arizona native from the University of Portland who was drafted by D.C. United in 2007, bypassed MLS and has ascended to the starting job in the past month for the second-place club, which is one point behind Mainz. (To read more about him, click here.) As you are well aware, Pearce has been a USA starter at left back in World Cup qualifiers this year.

Is it too soon to add another Euro-based goalkeeper to the USA national team player pool?

By Steve Goff  |  November 18, 2008; 8:11 AM ET
Categories:  Germany , U.S. men's national team  
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Next: A Few Minutes With Greg Andrulis



I'd forgotten DC had drafted him. Does this team put any effort into researching potential picks? I know the NBA interviews and has informal tryouts with the team pre-draft. Does DCU do anything similar?

Posted by: Josh8 | November 18, 2008 8:24 AM | Report abuse


C'mon US field players - EARN SOME RESPECT!

Drafts assume that a player will sign with the team picking them - MLS' is useless - aside from the pipeline of Wake Forest to New England.

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | November 18, 2008 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Is he balding?

Posted by: Reignking | November 18, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Sounds like he was a good pick...

Posted by: sitruc | November 18, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, Reignking, for making me spit out my over-priced coffee.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | November 18, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Boca is playing left back for Rennes. Time to totally consider him for left back for MNT and putting Demerit or Calif or Marshall in center with Gouch. Much better option than Pearce.

So....Goff...I can't believe you haven't mentioned the Italian guys dropping their shorts to block the goal keeper's sight.

Posted by: Beckster1 | November 18, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

I for one am not convinced that Pearce has the left side nailed down on the USMNT. What ever happened to Jonathan Spector? I know he plays right side but is he featuring much these days for West Ham? He was not called up for this round of qualifying. Good to know we have another potentially strong keeper out there. He's young and if he's playing in the BL2 thats a good sign. Maybe he will get a callup for the hexagonal.

Posted by: sbg1 | November 18, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Robles, Arguez, Needham, Jacobson...the list is growing, no? United needs to do a better job before it drafts in figuring out whom it can sign.

However, if you go to Yanks Abroad,, there's a long list of young and youngish players who've gone over there and haven't made a mark. Players like Gabe Ferrari, who one would think could be starting over here -- he's loaned out to Perugia, and not even playing there.

As for Robles, it sounds like he fell into a good, but lucky situation. There are others. For example, Tally Hall (ya gotta love that name), picked six spots ahead of Robles by LA -- not playing in Denmark...

All these players, not playing in Europe...Maybe they're making more money over there to start, but I wonder if they're doing their career prospects a disservice.... They might have been better served to try and scratch out a living here, like Troy Perkins, and get some game experience, before moving over there.

That said -- it seems like United made a good pick, based on talent (not signability). Kaiserslautern isn't going to sign, much less play a stiff. I wonder why he was able to get with a better team than Hall, even though LA drafted Hall ahead of Robles...

Posted by: fischy | November 18, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Re: Boca at Left back

I believe Boca was at left back vs Ghana, 2006.

Just sayin'....

Posted by: JkR- | November 18, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

If Spector ever comes back healthy, he would be a great addition. His best position has been central D but plays out right and left as well. West Hamm has him for sale right now so it will be most interesting to see what happens with him in the next 6 months.

Posted by: Beckster1 | November 18, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

to: fischy

"All these players, not playing in Europe...Maybe they're making more money over there to start, but I wonder if they're doing their career prospects a disservice.... They might have been better served to try and scratch out a living here, like Troy Perkins, and get some game experience, before moving over there."

Its a hard choice to make. If MLS starting salaries were more competitive, then maybe. As it now, the lure is too strong. Players' playing time is relatively short - you get to 30 and you are "old". Most of these guys went through college system - they are already 20+. Can they afford to wait? Its not like MLS is an established pathway to glory, with European scouts watching every game.

You might be onto something, but if a player has an offer, I see how it is hard not to jump on it.

Posted by: Tolik | November 18, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Really enjoyed the bio on Robles from Soccer365 (To read more about him, click here: ). To me this illustrates our broken youth system. College would be one thing if they left and were ready to be professionals. But the fact is they'er not prepared. So, now they turn professional have to waste time learning for another few years. Our players are not peaking until 23-26.

By his own admission, Robles was unprepared upon leaving college to be a professional. That puts him 4 years behind his fellow goalkeepers in his *professional* development. He has then taken the last 2 years learning that. The article even states the injured starter is 4 years younger than Robles.

How can MSL and USMNT ever expect to compete if our players are always years behind in development?

Posted by: Becks_for_prez | November 18, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Good news! His hairline is definitely receding.

Posted by: Reignking | November 18, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Good catch, Reignking!

@Tolik -- there are definitely 2 sides to the question. Look at Pickens -- his move didn't work out and now he's got no team...other than the USMNT. How'd that happen?

Posted by: fischy | November 18, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I was thinking -- being bald may give our goalies a competitive advantage. Perhaps, it makes them more aerodynamic.

Speaking of goalies -- what are the odds Seattle takes Wells in the expansion draft? Or, will they be concerned with more pressing needs than finding a back-up goalie in the expansion draft? This would be of great interest to NYRB -- I don't imagine they would dare expose Cepero to the expansion draft, but does that mean they won't protect Conway?

Posted by: fischy | November 18, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Ahhh, more Seattle talk. The USL Sounders had a pretty solid keeper, but as most reports are saying, things are kind of in limbo at the moment.
I'd bet Seattle is salivating over field player's we may leave unprotected, like Dyachenko;-)

Posted by: DadRyan | November 18, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

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