The United States lost Tim Howard just 40 minutes into their World Cup qualifier against Mexico on Friday. The goalkeeper was injured in the first half and, after trying to play on, he finally came off just before the break.
It's not exactly clear what Howard hurt. He went to kick a ball, but did so awkwardly and slid to the ground, where he stayed until trainers came out to tend to him. After debating whether to stay in, he decided to keep playing, but it didn't last much longer.
Brad Guzan replaced Howard, which normally wouldn't be much of a step down, but it very well could be right now. Howard has been playing well and regularly for the Colorado Rapids, while Guzan hasn't played a match for his club, Middlesbrough, since August. It's that lack of playing time and sharpness that led to coach Jurgen Klinsmann starting Howard over Guzan in the first place.
Article continues below ...
Making matters worse for the U.S., they already trailed the match 1-0 when Howard went down. Having to use a first half sub on a goalkeeper in a match you trail is a big blow for Klinsmann.