03 July 2014
Tim Howard is the Truth
The US is out of the World Cup. They're out in part because they have only one world-class player, which is not ideal when you're playing against the rest of the world. The only reason they didn't get embarrassed on the international stage is that the one player they had that is capable of delivering an all-world performance is the goalie: he was huge, and he was awesome, and he was everywhere.
How much everywhere? He had more saves than anyone has ever had in a single game since they started keeping track of these things in 1966. As I pointed out to Big Cheese, the game has changed a little since those days. He got inside the heads of the Belgian players; they knew it would take a perfect shot to beat him. The tweet from the Belgian captain Vincent Kompany (who IS world class) after the game said, "Two Words: TIM HOWARD".
A lot of the talk about how Landycakes was left off the World Cup squad* included statements like "best player in US history". This is annoying, because while Donovan is the best outfield player in US history the best player in US history is Timmy Fucking Howard. There is no player on the US team now or ever that could have turned in a performance like the one he delivered yesterday. They just aren't good enough. I'm not the only one that thinks so. (Link is to Klinnsman quote: “We cannot win this World Cup, because we are not at that level yet,” Klinsmann told the New York Times. "For us, we have to play the game of our lives seven times to win the tournament. Realistically, it is not possible.”)
On a personal level, I wept tears of joy when Landycakes kicked us into the knockout stages back in 2010, and yesterday my heart broke more than a little bit when Chris Wondolowski shanked a ball from six yards out that would likely have been the winning goal in the 88th minute against Belgium. Football giveth, football taketh away.
I don't know if it was Howard's last game as an American in the World Cup. He is 35 now but goalies can play into their 40s, so even if he isn't the starter he should get a ticket in 2018 and 2022, because when you cover yourself in glory like he did yesterday then you deserve to be in the conversation for as long as you can stand on two legs and hold your arms over your head. You have to take three keepers anyway, so fuck it: take Tim Howard. He's the best ever to pull on a USA jersey, and if you don't love that then you don't love America.
* Landon should have been on the team. Wondolowski isn't good enough, no matter how hard he tries. And that was before he shit himself on international television late in the Belgium game.