Well, World Cup Qualifying just got harder for the US, at home and certainly on the road.
Reports today say USMNT staple keeper Tim Howard is now out at least a month with broken bones in his back. Howard’s EPL club Everton certainly now has lost any slim hope they had at Champion’s League football as little-tested Jan Mucha will relieve the New Jersey-bred keeper.
For the US though, the challenge becomes threefold. First, they must replace Howard in net and select from a stable of players where Klinsmann has not necessarily crowned a number two. In all likelihood, Aston Villa man and understudy under Bob Bradley Brad Guzan will now deputize. Second, they must replace Howard’s role of marshaling the defense–a problem that becomes exacerbated when one considers that Klinsmann looked to be pushing beyond the aging Carlos Bocanegra as a pairing at center back. The weight of leadership now falls squarely–perhaps on Omar Gonzalez and Geoff Cameron–neither of who have been the defacto leaders for their clubs over the past years.
Finally, it has appeared that Tim Howard–at least temporarily–had been bestowed the captain’s armband for the States. Where, or rather who, does that arm wear go to now. Back to Bocanegra? Forward to Michael Bradley? Jermaine Jones?
Beyond Guzan, the role for the #3 and #4 keepers just got more interesting. In all likelihood, Nick Rimando is now this regime’s Marcus Hahnemann while Sean Johnson still edges Bill Hamid for the role of promising youngster.