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Guardiola backs USMNT’s Steffen, confirms League Cup spot

LONDON — Pep Guardiola has confirmed to ProSoccerTalk that Zack Steffen will start in goal for Manchester City in the League Cup final next Sunday, Apr. 25.

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Steffen, 26, started for Man City in their 1-0 defeat to Chelsea in the FA Cup semifinal on Saturday but admitted his moment of ‘indecision’ in the second half led to Chelsea’s long goal.

It was his first defeat in 11 games for City in all competitions, as he won all of his previous 10 encounters.

USMNT goalkeeper Steffen was out of position on the winning goal for Chelsea from Hakim Ziyech but made one big stop to deny Ziyech moments later.

The Pennsylvania native is City’s ‘cup goalkeeper’ this season and has played in all of their FA Cup and League Cup games over usual starter Ederson, so far.

Asked by ProSoccerTalk what he thought about Steffen’s display against Chelsea and if he intends to stick with the USMNT starter for the League Cup final, here was Guardiola’s straightforward response.

“He is going to play in the League Cup final, for sure,” Guardiola said. “Yeah, yeah. For sure.”

Big chance for Steffen to prove his worth

Guardiola said earlier this week he would rather start Steffen and lose the game than start Ederson and ‘lose the team’ as he gave the American goalkeeper his word he would play in the cup. He kept his word and City lost.

You could forgive Guardiola for wanting to bring Ederson back in for the League Cup final against Tottenham, but he is going to stick with Steffen.

This is a big, big moment for the former Columbus Crew star and he admitted he made a mistake on the goal.

“It’s a tough one,” Steffen said. “I think the boys did a good job, Chelsea are a tough team to play and their goal was indecision on my hands and I’ll learn from it. You have to keep going and I’m proud of how the boys fought and didn’t give up.

“The good thing is there is another game in three or four days so we can’t get too low on this one. We have to learn from it, come back together as a team and be ready for the next one.”

Steffen was pretty good with his feet, as always, against Chelsea but he did put himself out of position as Timo Werner ran at him and squared for Ziyech to score the winner. It was too easy.

Moments later he showed his quality to deny Ziyech who was clean through on goal, as the USMNT goalkeeper showed resilience and must now kick on.

Chelsea’s goal wasn’t all his fault, but he will look at it and think he should have done better. Now he has the chance to put that right by helping City beat Tottenham in the League Cup next weekend to pick up the first of three trophies.

If he does that to seal the first trophy of his career, that means Guardiola will continue to trust him and he will be set up for a loan move next season perhaps elsewhere in the Premier League, or stay at City for the next few seasons to develop his game.

Steffen has the faith of Guardiola and Man City. That will fill him with a lot of confidence, but now he has to repay that faith.

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