USA goalkeeper Zack Steffen impressed on his Fortuna Düsseldorf debut. - © imago images / RHR-Foto
USA goalkeeper Zack Steffen impressed on his Fortuna Düsseldorf debut. - © imago images / RHR-Foto

Manchester City-owned USA goalkeeper Zack Steffen keeps clean sheet on Fortuna Düsseldorf debut

USA international goalkeeper Zack Steffen made his Fortuna Düsseldorf debut in Wednesday's pre-season friendly win over Spain's Rayo Vallecano.

Steffen officially joined Fortuna on a season-long loan deal from English Premier League club Manchester City on 9 July, but only linked up with his new teammates last week, after helping the US reach the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup final.

He sat out the 1-1 friendly draw with Basaksehir last weekend, but played the full 90 of the 1-0 win against Vallecano on Wednesday, making nine saves.

"It’s very fast, very technical," Steffen said of the playing standard at Fortuna. "You always have to be switched on, stay tuned in and stay focussed.

"It’s great, it’s making me better day by day."

Steffen moved to Fortuna just two days after the conclusion of the Gold Cup, where he kept four clean sheets prior to the USA's 1-0 defeat to Mexico in the final.

The 6'3" stopper also claimed the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year and the US Soccer Male Player of the Year awards in 2018 for his performances between the posts for former employers Columbus Crew.

He has picked up where he left off at Fortuna's pre-season training camp in Austria, impressing with a string of fine saves to keep Spanish second-tier outfit Rayo at bay in midweek.

"There was one where I saw it late, but I got down well and got a paw to it," he recalled after reacting brilliantly to keep out a fierce long-range strike with the scores at 0-0.

With Steffen in no mood to be beaten and clearly at home between the Fortuna goal posts, Düsseldorf ran out 1-0 winners through Rouwen Hennings' 57th-minute effort.

Fortuna might have been on the receiving end of a defeat, but for 15-time USMNT international Steffen's heroics. - imago images / Schiffmann

Steffen says his new teammates have eased his transition from US to German soccer.

The Pennsylvania-born stopper previously spent 18 months in Germany with Freiburg between January 2015 and June 2016, making 14 appearances for the reserve team, before returning to the States.

This time, however, he feels ready to deliver on European soil.

"I was young, inexperienced and I missed by family back then," Steffen said. "The move back to the US with Columbus was ideal for my development. Now's the right time to give Germany a go.

"The guys have been amazing. They work hard and they’ve welcomed me in with open arms.

"I want to prove myself and be Fortuna's No.1"