There’s no sugar coating it, this was one stinky fish of a week for United States’ No. 1 Tim Howard.
The mid-week international was one to forget for every man in U.S. colors, including manager Jurgen Klinsmann. (Well, let’s not misplace those lessons learned, but … well, you know what we mean.)
There was ample blame for spreading around on the Honduran game-winner – including some lack of midfield pressure that we probably aren’t talking enough about – but Howard must share culpability. An backstopper of Howard’s experience knows he must hold his spot and be a shot-stopper there, or else be quicker to the spot and claim the doggone ball, no question about it.
Let’s move on.
Sunday during Everton’s biggie at Old Trafford, Howard looked something less than super as Manchester United striker supreme Robin van Persie rounded him twice before halftime. A rare moment of lesser from the Dutchman bailed out Howard the first time as van Persie’s shot into the near-empty Everton goal banged off the post.
But a clever ball later in the half put van Persie clean through. Facing one of the globe’s top strikers one-on-one is surely a 911 moment, a time when odds are mounting that something is about to go very wrong from a goalkeeping point of view.
It’s not just that Howard got beat, he didn’t look particularly nimble, stumbling to his left as van Persie left no doubt about his second time around Everton’s highly regarded ‘keeper.
Fox Soccer Channel and former U.S. international Eric Wynalda was especially critical of Howard here. He knows the man was in a tough spot, but wanted to see Howard put up a little more resistance on that goal:
Is that what we’re used to seeing from Tim Howard? No. That’s a guy who is getting up there in years and a little slow on the turn. It is what it is. He made some bad decisions in mid-week for the US national team and we talked a little [about Howard] before the game. I’m not happy with him right now.”