Tim Howard to start in goal for US in Copa 3rd-place game
ABS-CBN Sports on Jun 25, 2016 05:09 PM
United States' Kyle Beckerman, center, kicks the ball as goalie Tim Howard, left, and Matt Besler, right, look on during practice at the Copa America Centenario soccer tournament Thursday, June 23, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
BOB BAUM, AP Sports Writer
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Tim Howard — remember him? — will be in goal for just the fourth time in five months when the United States plays Colombia on Saturday night for third place in the Copa America.
Howard started in his second straight World Cup two years ago and had 16 saves in the 2-1, extra-time loss to Belgium in the round of 16. He took a one-year sabbatical from the national team, then returned last fall and alternated with Brad Guzan. But Guzan, who started in last year's CONCACAF Gold Cup, also earned the job for this year's Copa America.
Guzan has started in nine straight games, but U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said Friday that Howard will be in goal against Colombia "because he has been outstanding to help the team go all the way through in this tournament, helping Brad Guzan wherever he could, keeping the spirit very positive and pushing from behind."
"He's totally on board the fact to give Tim this game," the coach said.
Speaking to the media for the first time since Klinsmann picked Guzan over him in May, Howard was asked if it had been a long wait to get this chance.
"Uh, yeah," he said.
And he said it didn't matter to him that it was a third-place game against a Colombia team coming off a 2-0 semifinal loss to Chile. The U.S. was eliminated with a 4-0 defeat to Argentina.
"It's not had to get up for," Howard said. "It's the third-place game in Copa America. No one thought we'd be here, so it's exciting."
Since Joel Robles supplanted him as Everton's starter in late January, Howard has appeared in just three games — a 2-0 loss at Guatemala in a World Cup qualifier on March 25, and in the Toffees' last two home games, raising his Everton appearances to 414. He joins Major League Soccer's Colorado Rapids next month.
The 31st-ranked United States lost to No. 3 Colombia 2-0 in the Copa opener.
"I think we played a very good game," Klinsmann said, "but we conceded our first goal on a corner kick, where we lost a marker, and then a penalty kick that was 'discussable,' but the end result, bottom line is 2-nil."
Klinsmann believes the U.S. squad gave "too much respect" to Argentina, which went ahead in the third minute and doubled the lead when Lionel Messi scored on a free kick.
"Then you don't go kind of into their faces and you don't step on their toes," he said, "and all these things that you need to do in order to have some sort of success against very physical South American teams."
U.S. captain Michael Bradley said his team never gave itself a chance. Argentina outshot the U.S. 10-0.
"Certainly there's disappointment that you get to a semifinal and you never really give your chance to settle in and really let the game play out," Bradley said. "That part is disappointing, but I think when you look back in large part it's been a very positive few weeks. I think every guy to a man should feel proud of what went into it. We'll see if we can finish that off on a positive note."
Klinsmann said the third-place match is a chance to show the team's improvement since that 2-0 loss.
"This is a big opportunity for our team to correct that result and show also the growth in the tournament of our team," he said. "It's an opportunity also to finish up on a very high note. Sometimes it's better to win the third-place game than lose the final."
Notes: U.S. midfielders Jermaine Jones and Alejandro Bedoya and forward Bobby Wood will be back after serving one-game suspensions. ... Klinsmann said he will make late decisions on whether to start defender John Brooks and midfielder Fabian Johnson, who both entered the tournament following leg injuries. ... Klinsmann said the success of the tournament shows the United States should get to host another World Cup. "It's been a very smooth whole tournament," he said. "Very, very good games, very good quality of football and I think the statement is very, very strong toward FIFA that the U.S. is ready to host another World Cup."