Thursday, June 21, 2007

Breaking down the list: Goalkeepers

They say all the great teams in history are built starting at the back.

For years, Argentina have failed to keep up with a school of great keepers and nobody seemed to become the undisputable Number 1 for the Albiceleste.

In my opinion, the last great goalkeeper we had was Ubaldo Matildo FILLOL (World Cups 1978 and 1982). He was the greatest keeper from Argentina. And since he left, some have had success, Nery PUMPIDO, Sergio GOYCOCHEA and sometimes Carlos ROA or Roberto ABBONDANZIERI himself.

But a lot of names came by and showed that they were not good enough or simply lacked the consistency to give security to the team.

In the build-up to Copa America, Alfio BASILE went for experience between the posts and mixed it with some of the most exciting youngsters that are making a name for themselves.

Let's take a quick look at our three goalkeepers:

Name : Roberto Carlos ABBONDANZIERI
Club : Getafe CF
Caps : 27(0)
Safe hands ABBONDANZIERI, nicknamed PATO, moved to Getafe in 2006 after 16 years playing domestic club football in Argentina. His arrival proved to be one of La Liga best signing last season and has made the club a household name with arguably the best defensive record in the league. Has great reflexes and a well-known penalty-saving skill, a combination that have given him the Zamora award (a prize given to the best goalkeeper of La Liga).

Name : Juan Pablo CARRIZO
Club : River Plate
Caps : 1(0)
They say River Plate have one of the biggest goals in Argentina, because for their goalkeepers it is extremely difficult to perform in a top level. Historically, they are most of the time in attack, both home and away, so the goalkeeper will only be called into action a very few times through 90 minutes. Now Juan Pablo has been impressive and with youth on his side, he’ll push PATO in the next few years for a place in the first team.

Name : Agustín Ignacio ORION
Club : San Lorenzo
Caps : 0(0)
There is no other spot less glamorous than being the third-choice keeper in a list of 22 players. But don’t tell that to Agustín ORION. This young goalkeeper won his first title and he consolidated in the first division this season. To top it all, he’s going to Venezuela as a result of an injury to Oscar USTARI. ORION will travel to learn and that experience could be crucial if he wants to become first-choice by 2010.

My first take on this is that I think COCO is right. Many would think that if ABBONDANZIERI is not young enough to get to the next World Cup, then COCO is wasting time by calling him and not giving the youngters a chance. But COCO picked what he thought was the best keeper RIGHT NOW. And I agree with him. I think PATO is the best goalkeeper we have.

USTARI was forced out by injury but I don't think he is up there with PATO. CARRIZO and ORION look like great prospects but at the moment, they are just that: prospects.

Thumbs up for these group of three goalkeepers!

Are you with me?


John said...

From the way it looks like COCO is playing safe and would prefer to stick to tried and tested so there is no doubt PATO is the best choice.

Having said this age is a concern factor and COCO should start pushing his young guns so improve their level of performance on par with PATO.

Should this happen, then by 2010 we could be in for a big headache having to choose between CARIZZO, USTARI & ORION. But that’s all in the future.

For now it’s PATO, no second opinion required

johnny said...

I agree with Pato. The best talent and the most experience. Plus, he can make penalty kicks !

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