US goalkeeper Tim Howard made an incredible 16 saves during the USA-Belgium Round of 16 World Cup game, which broke the record for the most number of saves in one World Cup match.
Despite the USA’s eventual 2-1 loss to Belgium in extra time, Tim Howard put in a world-class performance that frustrated Belgium who were unable to find a way to score in regulation time.
For USA fans, the two lasting memories from this game will be Tim Howard’s heroics as goalkeeper and the goal by Julian Green. On a night that is a bitter pill to swallow for US fans, at least they can hold their head up high especially with the fight that Howard exhibited in what may end up being his last World Cup for the USA.
Tim Howard has been a mainstay in goal for the Yanks, a rock behind a whirlwind of uncertainty. With Bob Bradley and Jurgen Klinsmann shifting centerbacks and fullbacks in and out of the lineup, it’s been the Everton man who has been a constant.
Howard is a great shot stopper but more importantly a leader behind an inexperienced line. Every game it seems like Howard will pull out a gem of a stop, a play that makes you go “wow”.
It’s his organization however that makes him particularly value to this squad. He is known for his decisiveness and when he issues commands to Besler and Cameron/Gonzalez, all three of whom are playing in their first World Cup, he is helping them to find the right positions on the field and in set pieces. Less forceful keepers can be ignored or can make poor positioning choices, but it seems like Howard is always helping his teammates either by correcting them loudly or giving an encouraging pat.
After tonight’s performance against Belgium, maybe now Tim Howard can be considered in the top five goalkeepers in the world.
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