RAPIDS

Rapids close to inking goalie with similar clout to Tim Howard

Dec 7, 2023, 4:26 PM

The Colorado Rapids are on the verge of signing one of the best goalkeepers in the world, again.

According to a report from The Athletic, the Rapids are in advanced talks with Manchester City about buying goalie Zack Steffen. The 28-year-old Pennsylvania native has twice won the Premier League while backing up for Ederson and was part of the team that went to the Champions League Final a few years back. Steffen posted a shutout for City to win the EFL Cup, beating Tottenham. Steffen was the MLS top Goalkeeper in 2018 while playing for the Columbus Crew and was one of the league’s top XI players.

Steffen has appeared 29 times for the US Men’s National Team and has won 16 games internationally with 10 clean sheets. With the red, white and blue, he won the CONCACAF Nations League in 2021, shutting out Honduras in the semifinal. Steffen was the starter in Denver for the final but hurt his knee forcing Colorado native Ethan Horvath into duty, who saved a penalty and sealed the win for the Americans.

Most recently, Steffen has been on loan with Middlesbrough in the EFL Championship. Steffen has missed most of this season with another knee injury but has played in 84 games mostly as a loan elsewhere since joining City on a deal for $7 million.

Steffen was the starting USMNT goalkeeper at the start of the 2022 World Cup cycle but fell behind Matt Turner before the tournament began and did not make the roster that went to Qatar.

Steffen will take the net in Colorado, where the Rapids finished bottom of the Western Conference in 2023. The team is in transition, hiring a new coach Chris Armas, and overhauling the veteran-led roster by moving on from Jack Price and Diego Rubio. Steffen is likely to replace Will Yarbrough in net, who had been the keeper since 2020 and is officially still negotiating a contract with the club. The Rapids also gave a good chunk of change to Marko Ilic, who is now likely to just be Steffen’s backup. Colorado already has three designated players, an MLS rule that allows teams to overspend the salary cap on a specific player like Lionel Messi in Miami. Where Steffen fits next to Andreas Maxsø, Kevin Cabral and Rafael Navarro on the spreadsheet is unknown for now.

What is known is the legacy of a start American men’s keeper playing in Denver. Tim Howard was brought to Colorado to end his career with the Rapids, playing in 100 games from 2016 to 2019. Many criticized the move because Colorado had spent a lot on a keeper, which is rare for MLS. But Howard helped Colorado right away, making a run to the Western Conference final after he saved two penalties in a playoff game. The team didn’t do much in future years while Howard was in town, but Steffen is much younger. Howard had a lot more notoriety and a stronger career—Steffen will hope to rebuild those things in Commerce City.

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Rapids close to inking goalie with similar clout to Tim Howard