Tim Howard in doubt for upcoming World Cup qualifiers

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I am no doctor, but I know that “two broken bones in his back” cannot be a good place to start any conversation about such an important man to Everton and to the United States national team — especially when it concerns the team’s longtime, trusty guardian in goal.

Tim Howard appears to have a fairly significant back issue and will miss at least a month. That’s terrible news for Everton, which is having such a great season and remains positioned to claim one of the European tournament spots for 2013-14.

Over here, it’s also distressing news, because that puts Howard out for the United States’ national team’s pair of World Cup qualifiers. The first is two weeks from today in Denver against Costa Rica; four days later the United States meets bitter border rival Mexico at Azteca.

So it looks like this will be Brad Guzan’s time to shine.

Guzan, as we keep saying, is having a great season despite the goals flying in around Aston Villa.

Real Salt Lake’s Nick Rimando is the third-choice ‘keeper for U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann, now presumably promoted into the No. 2 goalkeeping chair.