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U.S. Men's National Team

Howard set to miss March qualifiers with broken bones in his back

TimHowardEverton1 (getty)

By IVES GALARCEP

When Tim Howard landed hard on the ground during Everton’s FA Cup win vs. Oldham, he got right back up and continued on looking unscathed. We are only now beginning to learn the ramifications of that painful-looking tumble.

Howard suffered two fractured bones in his back and is set to be sidelined for an undisclosed amount of time, Everton manager David Moyes revealed on Friday.

“We don’t think he will be out for the season,” Moyes said. “I read that (Newcastle’s Fabricio) Coloccini could be out for seven weeks (with a similar injury) but we are not sure how long Tim will be out for because, obviously with a goalkeeper, he has to dive around and hit the ground.

“I have let him go away for a few days,” Moyes said. “It might be that, if everything goes well, he misses next week’s game as well [against Manchester City] and then because of the international break he might be close after the rest because that would be four weeks.

That timetable would rule Howard out of the March U.S. Men’s National Team qualifiers against Costa Rica and Mexico, which would then mean Brad Guzan would get the nod.

Howard suffered the injury during Everton’s FA Cup win vs. Oldham, and as of now it remains unclear just what the timetable is for his return.

“He has two fractures, but they are not bones that are supporting anything,” Everton manager David Moyes said. “It is off the spine. They are not weight-bearing. It just needs a bit of healing time. It is not like a pure fracture where you need to wait to look at it. It is a question of whether he can cope with the pain. The bones will heal themselves but it’s not good.”

There are exactly two weeks between now and the qualifier against Costa Rica, which isn’t much time to heal an injury that could prove troublesome if not handled properly. In theory, Howard could play through some pain and still take part in the qualifiers, but it appears unlikely that Everton would allow Howard to rush his recovery in order to play in the upcoming World Cup qualifiers. Moyes was also non-commital about exactly how long Howard would be sidelined.

The good news for the U.S. team is that back-up goalkeeper Brad Guzan has become Aston Villa’s regular starter and has enjoyed arguably the best season of his career. Guzan has 20 career national team appearances, with his last start coming in a 1-0 win vs. South Africa on Nov. 17, 2010.

What do you think of this development? Have confidence in Brad Guzan? Worried about how he’ll chaperone an inexperienced U.S. defense in qualifying? Holding out hope that Howard makes a miraculous recovery?

Share your thoughts below.

108 comments
  • baropbop

    Guzan should be starting over him anyway. Yah I said it.

    Get healthy Timmy.

    Like

    • James

      Guzan is a beast for sure, but there’s NO WAY he should start over Howard. Do you know the kind of leadership and experience Howard brings to the field? He bails us out at least twice per game.

      Like

      • A

        Actually, Howard hasn’t bailed us out in awhile and Guzan is known as a better field general.

        Howard was at fault for Honduras game winning goal. Dude’s just getting old.

        Like

      • Travis

        Isn’t Howard like 35? That isn’t that old for a goalie at all

        Like

      • baropbop

        It’s not about now. It’s about 2014. He served admirably. However, I don’t see Guzan relinquishing the spot.

        Like

      • Travis

        That is all of 1 year away, not exactly an eternity. I am all for competition but I am sorry I have watched both and Howard is still better than Guzan.

        Like

      • A

        When did you last watch them because Brad Guzan is considered top 5 in the EPL at the moment.

        Like

      • A

        He’s got a lot of miles on him and his style of play lends itself to a lot of wear and tear.

        He’s never had great mental acuity. He’s relied on his freakish athleticism and as we’ve seen that’s going away. Obviously he’s still class or he wouldn’t be playing Everton–but we’ve got address that he’s old.

        Like

      • baropbop

        Although I am critical of Howard’s recent form, it’s more that im impressed by guzan. Guzan has clearly been jn better form of late.

        It’s amazing how much people pick and choose when it comes to being in form as a prerequisite for a USMNT spot

        Like

      • C(note)

        Disagree. As a keeper, the communication between your center backs is key. A lot happened in that play but Howard flying hard off his line is not a mistake. The lack if awareness by both Cameron and gonzo was the problem. Not Howard. And pretty sure he was the only reason we did not lose in Azteca last August

        Like

      • Paul Miller

        If a keeper comes out for a ball and doesn’t touch it, he’s responsible for whatever happens on the play. It’s a tough position, but that’s the way it is. Every keeper learns that from the start – let’s see, the teaching points in order are:

        – keep your fingers up

        – magic line

        – if you come out, get there

        – cheat the magic line (don’t get beat near post)

        – if you come out, get there

        – talk to your defenders… loud

        – if you come out, get there

        – keep elbows in when you dive

        – if you come out, get there

        – get on any sleeping defenders in the box

        – if you come out, get there…

        Like

  • Bob

    JK may want to see if Friedel wants to sit as no. 2 in March. He looked great against Inter this past week…

    Like

    • Arkie

      Love to have Friedel there but he’s retired from international duty. Only way I see him coming back is if Guzan and Howard are somehow both out, in which case he is the best one left playing by a bit, though to be honest I wouldn’t be terrified if Rimando started in that nightmare scenario. We’re blessed with keepers for the time being.

      Like

  • OPMG

    Tough luck for Timmy but as a USMNT fan you have to be pleased that Guzan is available. Is there another country with such a strong backup GK? Both are incredible shot stoppers, it will be interesting to see if organization (or lack thereof) in the backline changes (for better or worse) this next game having a new voice back there.

    Like

    • A

      Spain?

      Iker Casillas – Madrid

      Da Gea – United

      Reina – Liverpool

      Valdes – Barcelona

      :)

      Like

      • OPMG

        Wait what? I only asked about backup keepers. De Gea plays for United, that doesn’t mean he’s better than Guzan. If we’re talking potential, yeah, I’ll take De Gea over Guzan…maybe. But not based on current form. Don’t even talk to me about Reina and Valdes

        Like

    • Paul R

      Germany has five or six GKs better than Guzan. Spain, Italy, Netherlands, France… I like Guzan a lot, but let’s not be silly.

      Like

      • OPMG

        Germany has five or six goalkeepers better than Guzan?? I’m not being a troll but I can’t take you seriously with a comment like that.

        Like

      • Paul R

        Neuer, Adler, Zieler, ter Stegen, Weidenfeller, Trapp, Ulreich. That’s off the top of my head. There’s a great big world out there beyond the EPL and USMNT.

        I like Guzan, I’m not trolling. He’s nowhere near the best backup in the world.

        Like

      • GW

        They just might but after first three it is sort of irrelevant.

        Most top teams play only one or two keepers in a given cycle.

        It is a good bet that the #4 guy on down will never be capped or only get a cap or two.

        Like

    • WG

      Michel Vorm is listed as the #2 GK for the Dutch national team. Based on current form, I’d take him over either Howard or Guzan.

      I think Brad Guzan will be fine. Heck, he could be the best in the world, but AV’s defense has been so bad, there’s no way of telling. At least he’s used to massive defensive breakdowns.

      Like

    • solles

      Spain, Italy, England, Germany, Brazil…. the US has 2 good keepers sure but there’s no need for silly hyperbole.

      Like

  • bottlcaps

    I have no doubt that Guzan is a fine goalkeeper and can probably do the job. But after Guzan, who is left on the depth chart that has international experience?

    Calling Brad Friedel!

    Like

    • MiamiAl

      NIck Rimando is a very good goalkeeper, and has been in many big games. I feel good about Rimando having to step in if need be.

      Like

      • solles

        Rimando is one of the more underrated keepers in the US pool, I’d also like to see the youngsters more, Johnson, Hamid, Tally Hall even, 27 is young for a keeper.

        Like

  • bizzy

    Howard is an outstanding goalie with emense athletic ability but Everton is a good mid table team with a good back 4, Guzan is in top form playing behind a terrible backline, making save after save after save for Villa, so provide him with even a slight upgrade in defense and we have a solid shot stopper use to taking heat from the top teams in the EPL (hence Mexico, Honduras etc shouldn’t be a problem)……..

    Like

    • whoop-whoop

      Was thinking the same thing. Guzan has been well acclimated to being hung out to dry under heavy fire and I don’t imagine would lose his composure if our defense is as sketchy as it’s been. A keeper playing for a tidy defensive side can sometimes get rattled seeing the ball go into the net. No danger of that here.

      Bummed to see Howard go out, but dude could probably use a break and it’s a nice opportunity to get our backup some time with the team and the D time with him.

      Like

      • GW

        That’s not exactly how it works.

        Villa’s defense has been up and down but those guys know Guzan and he knows them.

        Guzan has never been in a game with whoever the back 4 is going to be.

        That is a big deal and the difficulty involved should not be dismissed. Nevertheless, I’m sure Guzan, who knows all about coming in cold and performing well, will do just fine.

        Like

      • whoop-whoop

        Well… that was kind of my point. Since Howard has had the position on lock down for years….. it’s a given that NO keeper they bring in will have possibly had the opportunity to have played with the backline. Fact is, Howard has hardly played with the combo we’ll likely see. So……. it’s a plus we’ve got a guy in form used to fighting through lapses and some chaos on the backline… from the 3-4 matches I’ve seen, that sure seems to be what Guzan is getting week in and week out at AV.

        Like

      • bizzy

        The goal keeping position is an island, a one man band and the only time you are call upon is when, starting the ball in the back, set pieces or the defense breaks down….you don’t need to “know your defense” being a goalkeeper like the chemistry between a midfielder and a striker or defender and midfielder….the only thing you have to worry about is whether you have a good D line that forces the opposition to shoot from afar or whether you are going to be scrappling in the box, with a lot of one on one situations. Its a big deal but USMNT should have a better defense/players than Villa so even though its hard it’s a kind of “easier” day for Guzan

        Like

      • GW

        “you don’t need to “know your defense” being a goalkeeper”

        It’s more like the defense needs to know you.

        You don’t really believe that nonsense you just wrote do you?

        There is a reason teams in general try to stick with one guy as much as possible.

        e

        Like

      • bizzy

        I can’t believe the nonsense you wrote and can’t believe the Ievel of your soccer intellect…lol, wow. You are the only person I know who thinks goal keepers have, and to have chemistry with the team when comparing about 2 seasoned EPL goal keepers…hahahaha, wow…this is not prep school soccer, If you are a good/skillful goalkeeper you will be fine on any team, provided you have a good back line

        Like

      • GW

        Bizzy,

        I guess you just don’t know that many people.

        Who said the US had a good back line?

        As I wrote, I expect Guzan will be fine. In fact, I expect him to be better than Howard but it is not as simple as you make it out to be. There is a reason why top class teams tend to stick with one keeper.

        Like

  • atd

    Let’s all just hope that Klinsmann doesn’t treat this as an opportunity to get another central midfielder on the pitch.

    Like

    • A

      You’re thinking of Pep Guardiola.

      He’d play 11 midfielders if he realistically could.

      Like

      • Hogatroge

        It wasn’t Pep that guided Spain to the Euro 2012 title with the 4-6-0… it was Vicente Del Bosque.

        Like

      • A

        Del Bosque has at least tried to run out some forwards lately with Torres and Llorente.

        But yeah, he’s in on it too.

        Like

      • Brett

        You can run that formation when you have four midfielders who could all be forwards if they wanted to be. You guys get too caught up in positions and forget that players don’t have to be locked into one spot and play with one focus.

        Like

      • atd

        Nah dude, Jurgen Klinsmann — USMNT coach. That guy has played Sacha Kljestan, Jose Torres, Graham Zusi, Danny Williams, and Joe Corona as wingers. He played Mo Edu and Geoff Cameron at center half. He even played Jose Torres at left back!

        Like

      • solles

        Spain could play an 1-10-0 or a 1-0-10 or anything in between and be competitive.

        Like

  • EA

    I guess the good thing is that we still have Nick Rimando as a backup, who isn’t *that* huge of a drop off from Guzan talent-wise.

    Like

  • RB

    I like Guzan.

    Unfortunately he doesn’t strike fear into the heart of opponents like Clsta Rica and Mexico the way Tom Howard does…

    Like

    • RB

      I’m not sure Guzan has a nickname in Mexico. I’m not sure they know him well enough to have given him one…

      Like

    • GW

      “strike fear into the heart “?

      In the last competititve match between the US and Mexico,the 2011 Gold Cup Final, they put four past Howard.

      Respect yes, Fear, not so much.

      Like

      • RB

        Cherry-pick results all you want, but the truth is that Tim Howard is a daunting figure for the Mexican side or other CONCACAF opponents to face. They will happily take Guzan, instead, in this instance.

        Like

      • GW

        “cherry- pick”? What a load of BS.

        The Gold Cup final was a HUGE game. Winning it meant Mexico got to go to the Confederations Cup this year . That is the ultimate dress rehearsal World Cup tournament. You get to play in the same stadiums and get used to the country and the crowds.

        You better believe the US was dying to win that game.

        And Howard gave up a 2 goal lead to lose it.

        He’s not so daunting anymore.

        Like I said they respect Timmy but they know that when the chips are down they can score on him, because they have.

        Like

      • RB

        Sorry — wasn’t worth reading past the first line. Try again if you like, once you look up “cherry pick” and if you can maintain civil discussion.

        Like

      • bizzy

        Did he seriously miss what “cherry-pick” results meant (because he did it again), or did he just want to share with you what he just read online???? Beats me RB…..

        Like

      • Roman Lewandowski

        This is not even a question. MB already should wear the armband.

        Like

      • Paul Miller

        Every ref in the world knows MB is the guy who waited outside the locker room for the official after the 2009 confederations cup semis. He’s not the guy you want talking to officials. Besides, he doesn’t have the temperament for it. He’s a leader, but via focus and intensity. He’s not a captain-type leader.

        Like

      • Alex

        You’re talking about a young Bradley. The guy has matured significantly.

        Like

      • MFP

        What’s the story behind this? It’s before I was following the team closely.

        Like

      • whoop-whoop

        MFP, Paul says…. clearly you’re not a member of the every ref in the history of the world club.

        Like

      • baropbop

        Bradley has more turnovers resulting in goals than goals scored by far. I think he could be on the verge of being benched AGAIN. The midfield has looked so horribly disorganised lately and besides JK, he is the most to blame.

        I can’t see how anyone could possibly think he should be captain. OVer the course of his entire career he has been out of form nearly as often as he has been in form.

        Like

      • Alex

        Are you kidding me? This is by far one of the more ridiculous comments on this thread. Holy Jesus, USMNT fans need to learn how to take a good player when they’ve got one.

        Like

      • GW

        Monty,

        Really? When Boca was captain you all wanted his American citizenship revoked.

        Like

    • Lake

      I think you have to give it to Bradley, and I agree with another poster that he should have it already. Don’t agree with a GK wearing the armband.

      Like

  • Gary Page

    In just goalkeeping ability, I think Guzan is playing as well or better than Howard. The difference is that Howard has so much more experience working with the USMNT players, especially on defense plus the international experience in big games. With that being said, I don’t think goalkeeping will be a problem with Guzan in there.

    Like

  • el paso tx

    This is just a sign, that USA won’t qualify. Donovan is out, howard out, we got no fowards, our defense plays like rookies and klinsman still needs like 2 years more to really adapt toMLS players, american fans, american players.

    Like

    • ronniet

      most ignorant and unimformed comment i may have ever read in this site……over reactions such as this are unproductive and hold no weight so pleas think before commenting next time smh.

      Like

      • el paso tx

        trust me, I know soccer. You will remember me and why do you act like a lady. Act like a pro and reply with something more realistic, because the american team is in deep waters right now.

        Like

    • QuakerOtis

      I think you were looking for this comment section: soccernet.espn.go.com

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Like

  • SumDude

    Guzan has been huge for Villa this season. The U.S. goal will be well tended in Timmy’s absence.

    Like

  • QuakerOtis

    Howard is still our #1, no question in my opinoin. But I’m happy for and confident in the Guuuuz.

    Like

  • The Imperative Voice

    Guzan rises and falls with the quality of the team around him. Allowing nearly 2 G/game this year, same story his rookie year at Chivas, had one good year in MLS for a 2-seed.

    The argument I’m hearing is that he’s some incredible keeper let down by a good team where Howard is better than he should be because of Everton. I think that’s nuts. Friedel and Howard are at top 6 teams because they are top notch keepers. Guzan is at Villa because he’s slightly better than Given.

    Guzan does make some nice saves but he also makes some gaffes. I see this as in the same manner as Boca and Dolo, Klinsi has erred on the side of the A team, the backups at GK have been afterthoughts, and we’re about to see what they have in reserve. The history of Meola, Friedel, Keller, and then Howard have spoiled American soccer fans for decades. CR and Mexico are not exactly when you want to be figuring this out on the fly.

    Like

    • GW

      “Guzan rises and falls with the quality of the team around him. “

      That is basically true of any keeper.

      It is unlikely Buffon or Van De Sar , for example, would have made Chivas USA or the current AV side a lot better. Van De Sar played for Fulham just before he went to Man U and he did not exactly turn them into world beaters. Indeed they spent much of his time there tryng to avoid being relegated. And I think we can all agree Van De Sar was an excellent keeper.

      All you can ask of any keeper is that they make ALL the saves and ALL the plays they are supposed to make and that they distribute the ball in a manner consistent with the team’s offense.

      Anything beyond that, such as a spectacular save, is gravy.

      A keeper’s contribution to the offense comes primarily from his distribution and his contribution to the defense comes in whatever role he has in organizing the defenders. In physical terms he can only do his part and maybe a little extra, in terms of the spectacular save every once in a while.

      But those saves are only a very small part of the many routine things a keeper must do well every game otherwise things get very shaky

      .

      The USMNT has been all about Howard and his routine for a very long time. Even though Guzan’s keeper skills are equal to if not better than Timmy’s, any variation, at this time, is not ideal.

      Still, Guzan has spent his whole career preparing for exactly this sort of thing so he and the US should be fine.

      Like

  • squirt-lover

    I am only half kidding when I say this…Call Brad, just to see what he says…

    Like

    • GW

      When Friedel retired from the USMNT he always said he would come back if they needed him to start. Not as a backup.

      He might have changed his mind on that.

      He’s still the best American keeper playing

      Like

  • Jacknut

    At least Guzan is used to playing without a defense, offense or midfield in front of him.

    Like

  • MLS_Soccer_Talker

    Not good…Timmy Hurt, Dempsey recovering from injury and Donovan on Vacation in Cambodia.

    Like

  • MA1 Rodriguez

    This is what I always been saying; “see don’t need to use Howards against top class friendlies”. Guzan doesn’t have national expierence at that level, but now Guzan needs step-up.

    Like

    • Zztoppppp

      If like to see

      Fabian—besler—Cameron—chandler

      With brooks brought on late for a cap tie

      Like

  • PD

    We can talk about the bigger Richard all day, but what this now means is that the USMNT back 4 and keeper have NO cohesion, no history, and no de facto leader.

    Guzan could be the next Buffon and it would is still be a handful.

    I wish him well and Howard a speedy recovery.

    I’m saying it now for everyone who grabs a pitchfork after this round of matces. We’ll be lucky to come out of these first three matches with 1 point. Anything after that is a gift.

    Like

    • baropbop

      I don’t disagree.

      I also think that if they come out of the fir first 3 matches with❤ points our chances of qualifying are 50/50

      Like

  • Gerald

    I have faith in Guzan against Costa Rica, we would be underdogs at Azteca regardless of the keeper

    Like

  • Brain Guy

    Tim Howard misses USMNT games when he has broken bones. Landon Donovan misses games when he needs to clear his head.

    Like

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