The life of a second-choice goalkeeper is never easy, but Brad Guzan takes things in stride, and if Tim Howard is a model for consistency, then Guzan isn’t far behind, if at all.
A Premier League success story as well, the 29-year-old has entrenched himself at Aston Villa after getting his start at the Chicago Fire and Chivas USA, and has done quite a good job in England.
With Howard’s physical style of play when stopping one-on-one situations, Guzan has been called upon in just about every possible situation that could arise. He filled in when Howard racked up yellow cards, Guzan was there to plug the dyke in a 2-2 draw with Guatemala in qualifying for the 2010 World Cup. Guzan took charge during a back injury to the starter, not allowing a goal to the dangerous pair of Costa Rica and Mexico just last year.
While on rare occasions Guzan can find himself a bit out of position, his goalkeeping skills are well-rounded, and he has a rare strength in the distribution category, miraculously earning himself an assist to Andreas Weimann in Premier League play last September.
Full name: Bradley Edwin Guzan
Hometown: Evergreen Park, Illinois
Club: Aston Villa
Best moment in a US shirt: Like Howard, Guzan’s consistency in goal mark his value to the USMNT much more than individual moments of brilliance. However, that said, Guzan’s performance in the historic 0-0 draw with Mexico at Estadio Azteca in March has to rank among his best achievements with the United States. Peppered with shots late after the American attack had long since died down, Guzan was undeterred and acrobatically helped the US earn its second-ever point in World Cup qualifying at the Azteca.
Starter or squad player at World Cup? Unless something happens to Tim Howard, the shirt is his, but Guzan will be more than ready to take over should the lead man get injured or sent off. With Howard’s age, it’s definitely a possibility that eventually he hands the first-choice position over to Guzan, but for now, Tim is the man and Guzan will back him up.