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Well, that settles that on any U.S. goalkeeper debate

May 16, 2013, 5:16 PM EDT

Tim Howard-August

Brad Guzan just had the season of a lifetime with Aston Villa, displacing incumbent veteran Shay Given early in the process and then proceeding to save the Villa bacon time and again, providing Paul Lambert’s young men some time to grow into their feet.

Thanks in tremendous part to the club’s Player of the Year, the men of Villa Park live to fight another day in the vaunted Premiership.

And then Guzan stacked more check marks beside the 2013 report card with a pair of inspiring performances in U.S. goal, both in potentially nervy World Cup qualifiers. How sure handed did the guy look against the white (and probably treacherous) backdrop of snow-covered DSG Park against Costa Rica? And a few days later down in Cauldron Azteca, didn’t Guzan strike you as a man who has been doing this for years and years?

Yawn. … Stretch. … Collect another shutout at Azteca. … “Hey, boys, where ya’ll want to eat tonight?”   

So it set the wonder wheel to whirring, didn’t it? Would Jurgen Klinsmann think about a shift in the goalkeeping order? A “shift” that would fall under the “seismic” category, by the way, considering that Howard has been the program’s No. 1 since 2007.

As shifts go, that would be like moving the national team’s training base from sunny Southern California to Wichita, Kan. And yet we began to wonder. Hmmmm …

Nah. Everton’s No. 1 remains the U.S. program’s No. 1. It’s trusty Timmy all the way, says Klinsmann. From a U.S. Soccer Q&A with Klinsmann that tumbled out today, alongside the 28-man roster announcement.

We are in a great position with our goalies. We are thrilled with Tim Howard and Brad Guzan and how they are doing with their clubs in the Premier League. I’ve said it many times: Tim Howard deserves to be in the top five in the world and Brad Guzan is catching up.”

(MORE: Wondering about the manager’s Steve Cherundolo choice) 

(MORE: Early talking points on the U.S. roster)

  1. schmutzdeck - May 17, 2013 at 12:22 PM

    Landon Donovan actually has something to do with this.

    I look at the USMNT keeper position as a team thing i.e what matters is what you get out of the “position” not the individual.

    Guzan is playing better than Timmy and is more consistent. If it came down to one keeper to take to the World Cup I would take Guzan.

    But that is not the real world.

    For the USMNT to make the kind of noise we all want them to make they need a 2002 Friedel level performance from the keeper spot not the 2010 Howard level performance.

    Timmy Howard’s 2010 WC performance overall was mediocre, if not outright crap.

    Timmy has always been susceptible to complacency.

    What made Keller and Friedel great was:

    They had to fight like dogs to keep their club spots.
    They had to fight each other to keep their US spots.

    At Everton Timmy has never had a real challenger and when Keller left the US scene Howard had zero competition. I contend this has always affected the consistency of his US form.

    In the 2009 Confederations Cup Howard gave up 6 goals in the first two games against Brazil and Italy. BB gave him a break, which Howard was NOT happy about, in the must win Egypt game and Guzan pitched a 3-0 shutout.

    Howard then came back and played much better in the US’ historic mini run. This was not noted that much because the poor performance was a team wide thing as was the improvement.

    Then came the 2010 World Cup where Howard was, to be charitable because Timmy may have been slightly hurt, uneven.

    JK is playing this correctly.

    Howard is now getting pushed. He had an uneven year for Everton early on and then he got hurt. His US competitor, Guzan, is having a great season and did very well in the WC qualifiers.

    Guzan is a more consistent keeper than Timmy and I would start him for the US. However, Howard would probably not handle being a backup well while Guzan has and will do so. And if both are at the absolute top of their form Timmy might be a millimeter better.

    More to the point, Timmy came back from his injury and his uneven first half playing really well now that the pressure is on. Moyes leaving will keep that pressure on him since who knows what the new Everton manager will want. And as long as Guzan is legitimately pushing Timmy the US keeper “ position” should be at the necessary standard.

    This is one reason for the slightly overdramatic Donovan exclusion.

    JK is showing Timmy and everyone else, i.e . Boca, Jozy, MB90, Shea, etc. that he really means business.

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