Now that Troy Perkins is gone and that the Impact will go in MLS with Bush and Kronberg as goalkeeper the question is: are they better than last year at that position? Quite frankly I don’t think so !
I’m a fan of Evan Bush. I really like the guy and how he managed to stay focus in 2013 by playing only in few games and still be very effective in the Amway Championship. Last year it was a bit different since we have seen him more often in front of the net as Perkins lost is #1 spot. By doing that Bush also showed us some flaws in his game and there is some goals scored against him that were not spectacular. He was not consistent as a MLS starting goalkeeper must be. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt because it was far from being easy to play behind a defence like the Impact had last year. Honestly when we look at the defensive squad right now it’s a lot better with the addition of Ciman and Samoura but Bush need to be ready to face a lot of shot in 2015 and step up.
The other keeper will be Erik Kronberg who has played with Sporting Kansas City over the last few years. I don’t know much about him so that’s why I asked our friend Thad of Sbnation The Blue Testament to know more about him.
1-How would you describe Eric Kronberg as a goalkeeper (strengths and weaknesses)? And how would you rate him?
Eric is a good keeper. He is tall and has the size, reach and punching ability to get the ball out of the box quickly. He is good with his feet and can get the ball down field well if needed. After being a backup for so long, he is slightly inexperienced for his age. Kronberg is a good person, funny (follow him on twitter), loyal and a good team mate. He seems to get hurt at the worst times and low shots close to him. Not sure what rating scale to use but I will say you got a good keeper. Will it turn out well, only time will tell?
2-Do you think he can be a starter at the MLS level. If not how many starts would you give him?
Kronberg can be a starter and with time and some patience I think he can be a very good keeper. Probably not challenge for best keeper in league good but can be solid mid to upper half.
Last season, his first couple games as the #1 starter was a little shaky. A couple miscommunications with defenders and coming out cost a couple goals but take a look at the first half of the season. As a first time starter he made 17 starts before he broke his hand in practice. In those starts, Kronberg had 7 wins, 5 draws and 5 losses with 7 shutouts spread through. When he got hurt he led the league in shutouts.
When Andy Gruenebaum took over, there was not another shutout for 12 matches and that was against the about to be dissolved Chivas.
When Kronberg came back he was not ready but the team needed him and he wanted to be that leader. With the broken hand he could stay in shape but not really keep his shot stop timing down in practice so when he played it was not his best. Sporting KC was also going through historic injury issues on defence and the whole team was in a funk.
I would see how he plays over a solid series of matches and how the chemistry is with the defense before starting to worry.Perhaps 10 matches to see which direction he was going.
3-Why Kansas City did not resign him and leave him available for the MLS re-entry draft?
Kronberg signed a new contract last off season and was named the number one keeper before the ink dried so when they decided to not exercise the option on both Kronberg and Gruenebaum it came as a surprise to most.
I would say SKC manager Peter Vermes saw the need for a fresh start for both the team and Kronberg. Eric had been with Kansas City since day one and can benefit from a change. He had the tough job of trying to follow in the footsteps of the very popular, legendary even, Jimmy Nielsen. Expecting someone that had never been a starter to do that may have been a bit unfair.
With the information’s given here I don’t think we are at a better place than last year with Perkins and Bush. Yes Kronberg has the talent to be a good #1 but he’s never been one in the league so far.
I will give the goalkeeper position in Montréal a B-. My understanding is that we got two MLS caliber goalkeeper but none of them as prove he can be a reliable #1 over a long period. I think Bush will be the starter but if he makes a couple of mistakes Kronberg could be quickly in the net. The job is up to them and to show me wrong!
I did not mention Maxime Crepeau because I think he will play the entire season with Montreal FC and that is going to be very good for is development. I can see him be the backup in 2016 if the Impact has a solid number 1 goalkeeper.
I would also thank Thad Bell from the blue testament for taking the time to answer some of my questions. I trule appreciate it ! You can follow him on twitter @TheBackpost