Goalkeeper Zack Steffen played his first game for Manchester City on Thursday, and the 25-year-old Coatesville native came away with a 2-1 home win over Bournemouth in the first round of the Carabao Cup.
Steffen faced only one shot on goal but was plenty involved in the game. He completed 22-of-23 passes, including 10-of-11 long balls. That pleased manager Pep Guardiola, who likes having goalkeepers be good with their feet, and it will have pleased U.S. national team head coach Gregg Berhalter, too.
“He made one good action from a counter-attack, and he was calm and safe,” Guardiola told reporters after the final whistle at the Etihad Stadium. “He made a good performance.”
Bournemouth’s one shot on goal came from Sam Surridge in the 22nd minute, and Steffen was beaten by a low drive to his right post. The Cherries, who were relegated from the Premier League last season, took only three shots in total to City’s 19 (four on target).
Surridge’s tally tied the score four minutes after 17-year-old Liam Delap hit a well-placed shot in stride to put City ahead. That drew plenty of attention in England, because he’s the son of former Southampton, Sunderland and Stoke City mainstay Rory Delap.
Phil Foden scored the winner in the 75th off a rebound after Riyad Mahrez hit the post.
Before the game, all the players, coaches and officials took a knee in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter campaign. Steffen, who regularly uses his social media platforms to campaign against racism, was one of several players who also raised a fist.
This is Steffen’s second season on City’s books, after the English juggernaut acquired him from the Columbus Crew in December of 2018. He was initially loaned back to Columbus until early July of 2019, then loaned to Germany’s Fortuna Düsseldorf for the whole of the 2019-20 Bundesliga season.
Guardiola decided to keep Steffen in Manchester this season as the backup to No. 1 goalkeeper Ederson. That was intended as a promotion, but it’s unclear how much playing time Steffen will actually get.