Ethan Horvath Nearly Single-Handedly Earned The U.S. A Draw Against Italy With Some Ridiculous Saves

Italy needed a 94th-minute goal to beat the U.S. because Horvath was a beast in goal.

Ethan Horvath hadn’t played for the U.S. in about a year. On Tuesday, he made a statement that he deserves more playing time with the USMNT.

Lost in the goalkeeping shuffle with guys like Brad Guzan, Zack Steffen, Bill Hamid, William Yarbrough, Horvath put himself right back into contention to be a starter for the U.S. with seven saves against Italy on Tuesday. 

The 23-year-old was the biggest reason the U.S. was in the match throughout before succumbing to a well-worked goal in the 94th minute to lose 1-0 to the four-time world champions.

A Colorado native, Horvath left the country at age 18 to play in Norway for former Manchester United player Ole Gunnar Solskjær at Molde. After making 56 appearances in four seasons (just two in his first two), Horvath moved to Belgium to join Club Brugge. He made 19 appearances last season, including four in the Champions League. While he hasn’t been first choice this season with Club Brugge, he did appear in the Champions League yet again. 

You’d think a Champions League keeper would be given greater consideration for the national team — after all Christian Pulisic plays in the Champions League and was named the USMNT’s youngest captain ever on Tuesday. However, the last time Horvath played — one half against Portugal in interim coach Dave Sarachan’s first match in charge last year — he made one of the worst mistakes any U.S. goalie has ever made.

With the U.S. playing in Genk, Belgium, Horvath was given another opportunity by Sarachan, who made 10 changes from the squad that was throttled by England 3-0 last week.

From the outset, Horvath was the USMNT’s best player, denying Federico Chiesa one-on-one in the opening minutes, during which the U.S. struggled to just string together three passes. 

In the 18th minute, Horvath denied Juventus’ Leonardo Bonucci on a close-range header off a free kick.

Horvath was again called into action twice in the closing minutes of the first half. First, Domenico Berardi whipped in a shot from the left side that Horvath tipped just over the bar.

Five minutes later, Horvath did well to keep out a free kick Marco Verratti.

The U.S. was better in the second half but Horvath was still busy. 

Just when the Americans looked like they might trouble Italy goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu, Italy hit the U.S. on a counter, with Kevin Lasagna getting in behind the defense. Once again, Horvath came up huge in the 59th minute.

Eventually, the U.S. forced Sirigu into a save, Walker Zimmerman getting a good back-post header on a free kick from Kellyn Acosta only to be denied by the former PSG keeper. 

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As the match began to open up, Horvath was twice called into action in a three-minute span, first stopping a sizzling effort from Vincenzo Grifo. In the 72nd minute, Horvath smothered an effort from Lasagna on yet another one-on-one opportunity for Italy.

After Moise Kean made his Italy debut, Horvath leapt off his line to prevent the young Juventus striker from making a dream start. 

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Eventually, though, Horvath was beaten.

In the 94th minute, Matteo Politano finished off a scything move through the middle of the U.S. defense to give Italy the 1-0 it probably deserved.

With that, the U.S. lost its fifth match in 2018 compared to three victories and three draws in what will be a year to forget for U.S. Soccer, which has now gone more than 400 days without hiring a USMNT coach

The next scheduled match for the USMNT is on Feb. 2 against Costa Rica in San Jose, California. The team will probably have a full-time coach by then. That full-time coach will do well to give Horvath more chances with the USMNT.

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