Tim Howard will start in goal for the United States’ key World Cup qualifiers against Trinidad and Tobago and Mexico in June, coach Bruce Arena has confirmed.
The Colorado Rapids shot-stopper will be Arena’s choice for now, over Brad Guzan, Ethan Horvath and Nick Rimando, who all were invited to camp. But the coach said it’s an ongoing evaluation.
“We have good goalkeepers here. That’s the least of my worries, to be honest,” Arena said.
Howard’s uniform was filled with grass stains after the first day of national team training camp on Monday. And this was considered a light workout.
“Just getting everybody back together, getting a sweat,” Howard said on Monday after the U.S. squad went through a roughly 60-minute workout. “Day by day, we’re just trying to add onto the pile, put some concepts in and get some understanding between players.”
There’s little margin for error, with the U.S. currently in fourth place in the six-team standings. They have three home and three away matches remaining. The top three teams qualify, with the fourth-place squad going to a playoff against Asia’s No. 5 nation.
“We need to keep climbing that table. We feel like this is a good opportunity to do it,” said Howard, who will feel right at home with the Trinidad game on the Rapids’ home turf at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
“One game, that’s as far as you can look. You can’t look to next week or the week after or two months from now.”
Given the short amount of time between games, Arena fully plans on using more players than usual. One particular competition to watch will be at right back between Timmy Chandler and DeAndre Yedlin.
“I have a close eye on everything,” Arena said. “We have a bunch of good players here. … We’re watching everybody and thinking about how we can best utilize everyone.”