Joel Robles

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Howard’s MLS move signals changing of guard at Everton; What’s next?

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Tim Howard is leaving Everton to go home to the United States and play in an MLS quite different from the one he left in 2003.

At that time, he was a 24-year-old goalkeeper just breaking into the USMNT. Now, he’s a 37-year-old World Cup hero who’s won an FA Cup, a League Cup and three CONCACAF Goalkeeper of the Year awards.

[ MORE: Howard moving to Colorado | Donovan back GK for Olympics ]

The long-rumored move is fine for Howard, who will wrap up his career on a three-year deal with the Colorado Rapids. He’ll join national teammate Jermaine Jones and exciting attacker Shkelzen Gashi in helping Pablo Mastroeni’s side try to reclaim its playoff mettle.

Howard had fallen behind 25-year-old Joel Robles in the Everton pecking order and –having won a job from French legend Fabian Barthez at Manchester United — will understand that anyone can lose a gig. And perhaps he really was ready to come back to the United States regardless of what Everton wanted to offer him.

Chairman Bill Kenwright called Howard the “perfect Blue“, while Everton boss Roberto Martinez lauded the American keeper. He also claims that Howard wanted to go, despite the backstop having said in the past that he wanted to retire at Everton. And he said it plenty of times.

“The modern game doesn’t allow you to have that loyalty or that continuity. When you are coming from another country it makes it even harder. The consistency in his character allows him to perform consistently and, as a performer, it will be difficult to find another as consistent as he is.

“Tim was very keen to be able to be close to his children and he feels it’s the right time to go back home and start a new chapter.”

To speak plainly Howard has been better than Robles. Check these per-90 numbers from advanced stats site Squawka:

Squawka.com
Squawka.com

So you have to think Everton isn’t simply handing the keys to Robles, and will be bringing in serious competition for the gig. Either that, or they are taking a massive gamble between the sticks.

It’s a serious changing of the guard at Goodison Park. Howard was never going to play forever, but it’s already looked odd to not see No. 24 in the Toffees’ box.

Howard will reportedly make more than $2.5 million a season at Colorado, but will certainly offset much of that as a box office draw. He’ll also be Stateside for this summer’s Copa America as he looks to work his way back into Jurgen Klinsmann’s No. 1 role.

Everton 3-0 Newcastle United: Magpie-killer Lennon does it again

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A rain-soaked match at Goodison Park saw Everton hold off a Newcastle United attack that was badly missing finish in a 3-0 decision on Wednesday.

Aaron Lennon scored early and won a second half penalty that Ross Barkley converted to give the Toffees their first home win since November. Barkley then won and converted a stoppage time penalty that saw Jamal Lascelles leave the game with a red card.

Barkley chipped his 93rd minute penalty with cheeky style to salt it away.

Everton are in 11th with 33 points, while Newcastle remains two points shy of safety ahead of their weekend game against fellow strugglers West Brom.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

USMNT goalkeeper Tim Howard missed out on the 18 altogether with what was being called a “calf injury”.

Andros Townsend made his debut for Newcastle, but Seydou Doumbia was left on the bench.

One thing Newcastle didn’t address was its back four, and Lennon scored a sour goal through four defenders that bobbled past Rob Elliot to make it 1-0 in the 24th minute.

The Toffees probably should’ve had two or three. Ross Barkley caught Elliot off his line but floated his shot over the goal.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Lennon made a great dribble toward the 18 to force Elliot into giving up a juicy rebound, but Arouna Kone lashed the chance well wide of the frame.

Ross Barkley unleashed a hard swirling ball that Elliot dove to push over the frame, and the Toffees kept pushing for goal No. 2. Ramiro Funes Mori headed the ensuing corner just wide.

Elliot was again the star when he extended to stop Tom Cleverley‘s free kick from sneaking in near post.

Yet another great chance for Aleksandar Mitrovic was left unfinished when he beat Funes Mori into the 18 but couldn’t first-touch a cross past Joel Robles.

The Magpies found some pressure late, and Joel made a terrific stop on an Ayoze Perez volley. Newcastle had a pair of corners, but couldn’t find a goal.

Lennon earned a penalty when Rolando Aarons scythed him down in the 87th minute, and Barkley stepped up to slot the chance home. Match over.

FA Cup third round replay roundup: West Ham, Fulham through; Everton out on penalties

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Following last week’s FA Cup third round fixtures, seven places in the competition’s fourth round were still up for grabs as this week’s third round replays got underway. Four of the seven replays were played on Tuesday, with all but one going to extra time, and two of the three ending in penalty shootouts.

[ MORE: Full FA Cup third round results ]

West Ham United 2-2 (9-8 on PKs) Everton

It took 10 rounds of penalties for West Ham to come out on top, and that wasn’t even the highlight Tuesday’s only third round replay involving two Premier League teams — goalkeepers taking penalty kicks. West Ham keeper Adrian was able to convert his effort from 12 yards out after Everton’s Joel Robles was unable to beat his counterpart moments earlier.

Enner Valencia gave West Ham the first lead of the game when he slotted a shot past Robles to the far post in the 51st minute. Despite having midfielder Aiden McGeady sent off just five minutes later, Everton continued to fight and pulled back level with just eight minutes to play in regular time. Kevin Mirallas scored on a free kick from a near-impossible angle on the left-side edge of the 18-yard-box.

[ MORE: Spurs, Burnley draw to set up third round replay ]

Everton, down a man for 40 minutes at this point, actually took the lead in extra time as Romelu Lukaku poked home a dangerous Mirallas cross in the 97th minute. Carlton Cole equalized for West Ham, though, with seven minutes of extra time still to play, sending the game to penalties. Steven Naismith and Stewart Downing were the only penalty takers to miss before Robles’s fateful smack against the crossbar.

Sam Allardyce’s side will now be away to Bristol City in the fourth round (Sunday, Jan. 25, 9 am ET).

Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-3 (3-5 on PKs) Fulham

In the only all-Championship matchup of the day, Wolves were up 3-2 in extra time and mere seconds away from eliminating Fulham, before giving away a penalty in the 122nd minute. Defender Richard Stearman handled the ball inside the penalty area and Ross McCormack stepped up and converted to go along with Cauley Woodrow’s regular-time brace and knot things up at threes.

Matt Doherty, going second for Wolves, missed the shootout’s only penalty try well before Hugo Rodellaga scored Fulham’s fifth and final attempt, putting Kit Symons’ men into the fourth round where they’ll be away to Premier League side Sunderland.

Elsewhere in FA third round replays

Bristol City 2-0 Doncaster
Chesterfield 2-0 (after extra time) Scunthorpe

Newcastle United 3-2 Everton: Thriller at St. James Park sees Magpies hold on

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Arouna Kone’s first goal since 2013 gave Everton hope early, but Newcastle battled back behind goals from Ayoze Perez, Jack Colback and Papiss Cisse at St. James Park on Sunday.

Kevin Mirallas added a goal in the 84th minute, but it wasn’t enough for the visitors to claim a point as Newcastle picked up a 3-2 win.

Newcastle stays above Everton and moves into 9th place on the table with 26 points. The Toffees are in 12th with 21.

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]

Kone 31, had only appeared 7 times for the Toffees since coming from Wigan Athletic in 2013, and was part of a shorthanded Everton side that was without Tim Howard and Phil Jagielka. The Toffees also started the match with Ross Barkley, Kevin Mirallas and Romelu Lukaku on the bench.

But Newcastle wasn’t at full strength either. The Magpies again started 21-year-old third-choice keeper Jak Alnwick, who wasn’t often tested by the Toffees.

The opener didn’t wait long, as Kone ran past Mike Williamson’s mark to knock home Seamus Coleman’s cross in the fifth minute.

[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

Papiss Cisse’s strong headed flick found Moussa Sissoko in on goal, but the Frenchman took a terrible touch and Joel was able to play the ball out for a corner.

Newcastle controlled possession for the next stanza, but Coleman cut to the middle on a counter attack and nearly made it 2-0 in the 24th.

Williamson made amends for his earlier error by playing a cross back for Cisse to wildly side volley home in the 34th minute for his 9th goal of the Premier League season.

The second half saw both teams trading chances, and Joel made a finger tip save to deprive Yoan Gouffran of a 50th minute finish. Everton nearly cleared the ensuing corner, but Cheick Tiote found Perez, who danced around Coleman to fire home.

source: Getty ImagesSamuel Eto’o should’ve evened things up in the 63rd minute, but his first-touch left-footer from inside the 18 sailed over the goal.

And Colback gave Newcastle room to breathe in the 68th minute when he was Johnny on the spot for Ross Barkley’s awful touch outside the Toffees’ 18. It was a deserved goal for the engine of Newcastle’s team on Sunday.

But Mirallas made a thrilling run to latch onto a through ball and touch past Alnwick to make it 3-2, and both he and Leighton Baines presided over an 87th minute free kick. Mirallas shot sailed wide of the goal.

Everton continued the press, and it wouldn’t have been a shock if they converted one of several late rushes into an equalizer.

Lineups

Newcastle United: Alnwick; Janmaat, Coloccini (c), Williamson, Dummett; Perez, Sissoko, Tiote, Colback, Gouffran (Cabella, 90′); Cisse (Riviere, 73′)

Goal: Cisse (34′), Perez (51′), Colback (68′)

Everton:  Joel, Coleman, Distin, Alcaraz, Garbutt, Baines, Barry, McCarthy (Barkley, 45′), McGeady (Mirallas, 61′), Eto’o, Kone (Lukaku, 72′)

Goal: Kone (5′), Mirallas (84′)

Is Tim Howard’s future at Everton under threat?

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Yesterday we joked about how Everton are fast becoming Wigan Atheltic II.

But for US national team stalwart Tim Howard, it might not be a laughing matter.

Roberto Martinez is looking to stamp his authority in charge at Everton, and the new manager has recruited plenty of his former players already as the Toffees transformation continues.

And after signing Spanish Under-21 goalkeeper Joel Robles from Atletico Madrid, Howard could have a fight on his hands for the No.1 jersey.

The Spanish youngster, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Wigan, joins former teammates Arouna Kone and Antolin Alcaraz at Goodison Park.

Robles is only 23, but he is already relishing the challenge to compete with Howard for the starting spot.

Obviously we will be competing together and it’s the manager’s decision at the end of the day (who he chooses).

Robles doesn’t seem too content to be a long-term second-choice ‘keeper behind Howard. So what does that mean for the USMNT’s long-term star between the sticks? It is hard to say.

But it has definitely been a summer of change for Howard. His long-term goalkeeping coach Chris Woods has switched Everton for Manchester United, so Howard will no longer work with a coach he’s familiar with on a day-to-day basis. But Woods will still keep his position as the USA’s goalkeeper coach.

(MORE: Are Everton quickly becoming Wigan Athletic II? As Robles joins Kone and Alcaraz)

And Howard was under some intense pressure last season. After a few mistakes in goal for Everton coupled with Brad Guzan’s fine form at Aston Villa, it wasn’t the easiest season for the former Manchester United ‘keeper.

source: Reuters
Will Martinez opt for Joel Robles over Tim Howard?

Robles is a different type of ‘keeper to Howard, he is all action, comes off his line, is extremely good with his feet and at 6 foot 5 towers above attackers at set pieces to often collect the ball with ease. Howard is a pure shot-stopper whose talent is undoubted.

At the age of 34 he already has 11 years of playing experience in the EPL with United and Everton. But this coming season could see him faced with his biggest challenge yet. Both for his club side and the national team.

On the flip side, Howard could get even better. Most goalkeepers don’t hit their prime until they get past 35, so the best is yet to come. And having a keen, young and ambitious ‘keeper pushing you all the way may help Howard to improve further.

We shall wait and see. Howard has a fight on his hands for club and country. Over the years he’s been up to for the challenge, but this may be his toughest yet.