The Matildas currently have three goalkeepers in camp. The new Tony Gustavsson era though has brought forward a new question: Who will be the Matildas number one?
Goalkeeping is a notoriously though position. Keepers are part of the squad yet separate at the same time. It also happens to be the position with the least amount of turnover in soccer teams.
Rare is it where you will see a game where the goalkeeper is substituted unless they are injured. Normally when a keeper on a club or national team has the number one jersey, only injury, departure, seriously bad form or retirement leads to a change between the posts.
For the Matildas the number one keeper has long been Lydia Williams. She is the oldest current Matilda both in age and in service, having first made her debut in 2005. Williams has 88 total caps for Australia.
Her number two had been Mackenzie Arnold with Teagan Micah being the second backup for several years. Arnold first got called up in 2012 and received her cap that year. However, in the next nine years she would only feature 25 more times, normally when Williams has been injured.
Micah was first called into camp in 2017 for the Tournament of Nations. She was number three goalkeeper for so long that she had to wait nearly four years after this first camp before getting her first cap.
However, after years of Matildas keeping predictability, the order of Matildas goalkeepers was shaken up earlier this year.
Tony Gustavsson's appointment as coach led to a number of changes, as would be expected with any new manager. However injury, bad form and opportunity are really what lead to what could be the new Matildas goalkeeping order.
Williams did start the first match under the new coach's tenure, one that ended in a 5-2 defeat to Germany. Williams did not necessarily play badly, in fact she made more than one impressive save to keep the scoreline from being worse. The Matildas as whole were outplayed by Germany.
Gustavsson put Arnold in goals for his second match in charge against the Netherlands. However, this was not a fruitful change. Five goals from the Dutch, two of which were from basic errors from Arnold, lead to the biggest Matildas defeat in 13-years.
Questions about William's fitness came up in the next two friendlies, with Arnold getting another start against Denmark in June. Again Arnold was at fault for two of the goals in what ultimately became a 3-2 loss to the Danish.
This opened the door for Micah getting her first cap against Sweden in the subsequent friendly.
The good performance in the game, one that followed a year with Melbourne City that saw Micah win the W-League Goalkeeper of the Year, saw her take one of the two Olympic roster spots alongside Williams, with Arnold being named as the alternate. (The four alternates were subsequently added to the full Olympic roster).
Micah then got the start in the Matildas' last pre-Olympic friendly against Japan. Williams replaced her in the Japanese game, coming on at halftime.
Williams then started the first Olympic game against New Zealand with Micah being the keeper selected for the bench. However, Micah then displaced Williams in goal, becoming the number one for the remainder of the Olympics with Williams being the backup goalkeeper. Arnold was not on the game sheet during Tokyo 2020.
Arnold has since returned to her club of West Ham United where she is currently the starting keeper. The Hammers and Arnold have disputed two games so far this year, one of which was a loss and the other a draw. However, Arnold has impressed in goals for the club. Her two saves in the second half of the last match against Aston Villa kept her side in the game.
Post Olympics Micah joined Swedish side FC Rosengård in late August. She quickly got the number one starting position for the club with the departure of prior keeper Steph Labbé to PSG. She has kept two clean sheets for her team, letting in just one goal in her third game.
Meanwhile Williams returned to Arsenal FC with whom she signed a new contract in the offseason. Like last year she is up against Austrian international Manuela Zinsberger for the starting position. So far this year Zinsberger has started five of the six games for the Gunners, including both WSL matches. Williams started in the Champions League qualifying match against Slavia Praha.
Big questions therefore remain as to whom will get the starting goalkeeping Matildas spot. At present two of the three keepers are currently starting and playing for their clubs. If form and past decisions by Gustavsson are to be taken into account, Micah is the most probable to keep the starting jersey.
If that is the case it is an incredible rise for young keeper. In just four months Teagan Micah could have gone from an uncapped Matilda to its new number one. Fans will have to wait for the Republic of Ireland game to see if Gustavsson believes this to be the case.