Former Terp Zack Steffen held one of the best national teams in the world to just a single goal in 90 minutes Saturday.
In preparation for the World Cup, France hosted the United States men’s national team for a friendly in Lyon. It seemed like it would be an easy win for Didier Deschamps’ squad — France’s starting lineup looked like the kind it would use in the World Cup, while the USMNT was trotting out an inexperienced group of young players to give them a chance to play on the road against a prestigious national team.
However, Steffen and the rest of America’s youngsters held their own against players from teams like Manchester United and Barcelona, earning a 1-1 draw.
Steffen made seven saves on France’s eight shots on goal. His two biggest saves came right at the very end of the game to protect the USMNT’s hard-earned draw.
Steffen’s one blemish came when a pass was perfectly placed into the box and Kylian Mbappe was able to finish the chance pretty easily. There’s not much shame in allowing a goal to Mbappe, as the 19-year-old striker has already tallied 29 scores in France’s Ligue 1.
And the former Terp did all of this in only his third appearance for the senior USMNT. He made his debut back in January, and less than six months later, he had success after being thrust into a tough matchup against France.
This shouldn’t really be a surprise. Steffen just finished the month of May allowing exactly zero goals in five Major League Soccer matches, earning Player of the Month honors.
We’re more four years away from the next World Cup, and a lot can change between now and then, but with more performances like this, there’s a pretty good chance the American goalkeeper for Qatar 2022 will be someone who once manned the net at Ludwig Field.