There's a thread right now at the Voyageurs forums about Lars Hirschfeld's club situation at CFR Cluj in Romania. It looks like he might be on the way out. For the time being, he's getting paid rather handsomely to warm the bench. His lack of play (over a year without breaking a sweat, and counting) is well documented.
While people were taking turns lamenting his stagnating career and touting his folk-hero status (he bought a tray of shooters for some Voyageurs after Canada-Mexico in Edmonton, so the story goes), I waded in and pissed in everybody's cornflakes by pointing to the inactivity of Canada's goalkeepers generally. (Does that mean that I was wading in a bowl of cornflakes mixed with piss?)
In case you hadn't noticed, the keepers that are on Canada's depth charts aren't doing a whole lot professionally these days. Here's a rundown:
- Lars Hirschfeld. Getting paid to ride the pine in Romania
- Greg Sutton. Supplanted by younger and better looking Stefan Frei at TFC.
- Pat Onstad. Still getting it done in MLS, but he's as old as the hills.
- Josh Wagenaar. He's been called up to back for Canada few times, so he's in the mix. Unfortunately, he's not in the mix for his club, Yeovil Town FC, right now, as he's been supplanted by a new signing.
- Asmir Begovic. He's the backup right now for Portsmouth, but I think we all know he's not EPL quality quite yet. So he doesn't play (except with the reserves).
- Kenny Stamatopoulos. He's playing in Norway somewhere. Or not playing. I can't fake understanding Norwegian well enough to navigate the Tromso site.
Ultimately, I think Hirschfeld is still the guy. I'm not going to rag on the guy for clocking his dollars in Transylvania. Plus I like his attitude:
The situation with Wagenaar and Begovic is more worrisome. They are the best of the 'next generation' of keepers right now, and it is disappointing to see their careers on hold.
Not helping matters is the fact that none of Canada's professional teams fields a Canadian starting goalkeeper.
We'll see if all of this has anything to do with performance when the Gold Cup rolls around this summer. It's not as if most other CONCACAF sides besides USA and Mexico have good goalkeeping, at least on paper.