Given the Los Angeles Galaxy's lofty goals for next season, "it seems a huge risk" to make a starter out of a goalkeeper who's played only six Major League Soccer games in three total seasons, says the L.A. Times' Grahame L. Jones. But that's exactly what Ruud Gullit and Co., intend to do with 24-year-old Steve Cronin. Indeed, Joe Cannon, traded to San Jose to free up cap room, is now but a distant memory, leaving Cronin as the senior guy ahead of three rookie backups.
"If you never give a young keeper the chance, then he will never become a good goalkeeper," L.A. coach Gullit said. "I have to give the goalkeeper a chance ... the possibility to make mistakes. Of course, I don't want him to make mistakes, but at least there's no pressure on him and he has to learn from that."
It goes without saying that Cronin, who was named goalkeeper of the tournament at the FIFA U-20 World Championship in 2003, has a lot to prove. Good thing he's confident: "I feel like this is definitely my team and I'm ready to go," he said. "Now I'm going to get the games and I have to do well in every one of them." The proving begins Wednesday night against Gamba Osaka in the Pan-Pacific Championship (ESPN Classic, 11 pm EST).