As expected, Eloy Room will have more games in goal coming up, but they won’t be for the Columbus Crew. The Black & Gold’s starting goalkeeper will re-up with the Curaçao National Team for the upcoming June World Cup qualifiers across the CONCACAF region. If things go as planned for Curaçao over the new few weeks, Room could play up to four games this break and could miss even more time with his club in 2021.
Room has had an exceptional start to the 2021 season, conceding just five goals in Major League Soccer play and keeping two clean sheets against the Philadelphia Union and CF Montreal to begin the Crew’s campaign. In six starts, Room has also made 14 saves including multiple highlight-worthy stops to keep Columbus in games. The goalkeeper is fresh off a 2020 championship season where he finished third in MLS Goalkeeper of the Year voting and won the MLS Save of the Year.
The goalkeeper is a staple for a Curaçao side that currently sits 76th in the FIFA world rankings. The upcoming matches will be run by Dutch soccer legend and interim manager Patrick Kluivert, who was named as the stand-in coach by full-time manager Guus Hiddink, while he continues to recover from the COVID-19 virus.
Room, Kluivert and company have some of the biggest matches in Curaçao’s history coming up. Curaçao will play its final two matches in the first round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, beginning with a trip to Guatemala City to face the British Virgin Islands on June 5. The final group match will be at home in Willemstad against group contenders Guatemala on June 8. Curaçao controls its own destiny as the first-place team in the group, so two wins or a win and a draw will more than likely be enough to advance to the second round.
Should Curaçao advance, Room will likely play two more matches on June 12 and 15 against the winners of Group D, which will be the Dominican Republic, Panama or Barbados. If Curaçao can get the job done in the second round, the nation will advance to the final stage of World Cup qualifying and join the octagonal third-round group that features the United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras, Jamaica and the other two second-round winners.
This month’s results for Curaçao will have a major impact on future roster plans for the Crew for the remainder of the 2021 season. Room will likely be selected for this July’s Gold Cup tournament, but if Curaçao gets to the third round of qualifying, expect the goalkeeper to called upon for those matches in September, October and November.
Those three months will be the end of the regular season for the Crew and July could be a preview of finding the goalkeeper that could start for Room for a chunk of the fall. The likeliest back-up is veteran Evan Bush with Matt Lampson and Eric Dick waiting in the wings. If Curaçao loses though and has its World Cup journey end, Room will likely be with the Black & Gold for the entire fall and just miss July for the Gold Cup.