USMNT Profiles: Goalkeepers

Tim Howard’s break out year came in 2007. Previously, Howard had been the backup on the USMNT to Kasey Keller and endured a rocky tenure with English Premier League (EPL) club Manchester United. Howard had been transferred to Manchester United from his MLS team the MetroStars in 2003 but had been unable to ever fully grab the starting goalkeeper position. In 2007, under new coach Bob Bradley, Howard was named as the starting goalkeeper for the USMNT. It was also that year that Howard was loaned out from Man U to Everton.

Howard became an instant success for Everton and his loan was made permanent the following year. Howard was able to transfer the success he had at his club level into an excellent run as the first choice goalkeeper for the USMNT. In the 2009 Confederations Cup, Howard held top ranked Spain scoreless with eight saves as the USMNT earned their biggest win to advance to the finals. In the 2010 World Cup, Howard helped lead the USMNT into the second round before losing to Ghana.

At 6 feet 3 inches, Howard stands tall in the goal and uses his tremendous athleticism to keep the ball out of the net. Howard is unafraid to challenge opposing strikers for balls in the air from crosses or corners and more often than not is successful. Howard is also a very vocal leader on the pitch. It is not uncommon for the on field microphones to catch him calling out instructions to his defenders at volumes that can drown out the broadcasters. At 35, Howard is on the backside of his career and this will most likely be his last World Cup.

Howard is backed up by 29 year old Aston Villa (EPL) goalkeeper, Brad Guzan and 34 year old Real Salt Lake (MLS) goalkeeper Nick Rimando. Guzan is a solid goalkeeper, who is rarely out of position. Not quite the athlete Howard is, Guzan relies on his knowledge of angles and his read of the play to make saves. Rimando is every bit the athlete of Howard but at 5 feet 10 inches lacks the size and presence of Howard.

Despite the talent of Guzan and Rimando, I do not think either will be the successor of Howard should this be his last World Cup. I would expect to see 23 year old DC United (MLS) goalkeeper Bill Hamid making more national team appearances in the tournaments following the World Cup.

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Brian Hradsky

The owner of MSB, I created this website while in college and it has never died.

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