Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Brad Friedel's EPL Consecutive Start Streak Ends at 310
Even though the last game of the streak was the historic 3-2 victory at Old Trafford vs Manchester United, Villas-Boas decided to drop him for France #1 Hugo Lloris just a week later. Given that Friedel is now 41 years of age (last season he became the oldest player to ever play in the EPL) and that Lloris was a front page transfer this summer, this was an inevitability. However, it is indeed strange that the move is made now, especially since Friedel has been in strong form thus far. Villas-Boas has also not anointed Lloris as the permanent starter either, which is a disappointing way for the streak to end. I'd think choosing a keeper is much like choosing a quarterback - either you have 1 starter or your have none. It should have been Friedel's job to lose - either through a lack of performance or injury. Ultimately, and most impressively, Friedel's iron-man streak is celebrated not just as an American achievement, but as an astounding EPL record.
Interestingly, the holder of the longest current streak belongs to fellow American, Tim Howard, who has played 190 EPL games straight. (The streak for an outfield player is 164, held by Frank Lampard.)
Friedel also had 82 caps for the US, including its 2002 WC quarterfinal run, easily the most successful US campaign in modern times. You could argue that Friedel may be the best goalkeeper the US has ever produced and should the World Cup start tomorrow and Howard was injured, Friedel should be the US starter.
Friedel's English career:
2008-2011 Aston Villa