After a subpar performance against Costa Rica by Tim Howard, cries for Guzan started to murmur from the USMNT fan section. However, Howard gave a demanding shush after blanking Mexico on Tuesday night.
In the first ten minutes Howard sees
- a second minute corner he catches
- a seventh minute shot from his own defender
- a tenth minute Harlem Globetrotter move (hilarious please watch this)
- a nineteenth minute save that Howard has to make this save that goes around Goodson towards the back post.
Needless to save, not only was Howard busy but he was looking very sharp and inspiring a little more faith in the crowd. Two minutes later Howard faces a twenty-first minute free kick that goes high. However he covered the goal enough so he would not get scored on by distance (ahem, paging haters). More importantly we get this great gif that also doubles a lip reading test:
After a couple of long balls and awkward headers back to goal, Howard makes a spectacular save that I break down in this week segment's "Howard's Weekly Spectacular Save That Bill Vegas Breaks Down".
You can notice Gonzalez's position as he is jockeying Dos Santos to Howard's right then Gonzalez switches his stance to push the other way. This is very not good. Or at least how late Gonzalez does it in the counter. If you want to do that do it outside the eighteen, please. Some expert art to help you see the triangles.
Gonzalez has no angle, then cuts off Howard's right, then sways too much and opens up Howard's left. An above average save that he holds on to (*applause*) but check out this footing. Look familiar?
In both occasions, Howard takes his outside foot and pulls it in. The first picture (the second goal vs. Costa Rica on Friday) results in Howard not having enough time to get to the ball while the other picture Howard is about to make the save because Dos Santos doesn't hit his shot hard enough to get past a mis-stepping Howard. Instead, Howard needs to shuffle his other foot toward the ball that mimics the same distance in feet (a little less than shoulder width apart) but about six inches closer to the ball. That may sound confusing so think of it this way: you need your feet about shoulder-width apart to get a good dive right? If they're too far apart (sumo stance) or too close together ("I have to go to the bathroom") it's hard to dive. What Howard is doing is moving the closer foot away from the ball instead of bringing the back foot toward the ball. In the end his feet are the same distance apart but one technique puts Howard closer to the ball.
Now the old adage is "a save is a save" and while that is true there is a new adage I'm trying to make popular that is "bad technique really stinks". (Hopefully the rhyme will become really catchy). Ultimately this is a minor complaint. Howard not only gets his hands to the ball but he holds it too, stopping a potentially easy rebound goal (nice marking, Beasley). It's close to an upper ninety save but footing has always been a question mark for Howard in my book and this isn't helping. Forty-seventh minute Howard is still looking sharp as he makes a fantastic save for a ball that's going out of bounds. But this is what you want your goalie doing. So kudos to him although it does not actually help his GSAR as the ball wasn't going in the goal. Fifty-eighth minute he basket catches a softly bonked header and then Howard takes a thirty minutes snooze as Mexico tries to remember how to play soccer. After it's all said and done, Timmy says...
How to not punch a ball away on a corner. He doesn't need to leave his line but if he does he needs to attack the ball.