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Copa America Postmortem: Tim Howard

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In this Postmortem series we'll be examining each player on the USA's 23-man roster and how they performed during the Copa America and what's next for them heading into the conclusion of World Cup qualifying.

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

It's safe to say that Jurgen Klinsmann doesn't subscribe to the famous saying "Absence makes the heart grow fonder."

Ever since Tim Howard took his self-imposed year-long sabbatical from the United States men's national team in late 2014, Brad Guzan has found his way into the U.S. manager's heart. You can't blame Klinsmann at all for not accepting Howard back with open arms considering Guzan did fine in his absence and neither one has done much to outperform the other in the last year. Despite being more experienced in big matches, Howard has consistently been the No. 2 goalkeeper in the most important matches since his return.

He did start one match in the Copa America. Here's how he did:

Games Played: 1

Goals Conceded: 1

Saves: 2

Positives

Howard did nothing to hurt his chances at earning back the No. 1 spot in the third-place match against Colombia. He was confident and reliable behind a somewhat makeshift defense missing two of its normal back four. There were some breakdowns along the back line, but Howard stood strong and made a couple of fine saves. There was absolutely nothing he could've done on the one goal he allowed.

His distribution was a vast improvement from what Guzan showed throughout the tournament. He started several counter-attack opportunities with his great vision and decision making. It was a perfectly fine performance in a match against one of the best teams in the world.

Negatives

The obvious negative is that he only played one match and still appears to have very little chance of starting in important matches. It's possible that Klinsmann reverts back to the platoon system for World Cup qualifying, but that doesn't make much sense considering the consistency and improvement the team's defensive shape showed through the tournament.

Unfortunately for Howard it looks like he's going to have to decide if he's willing to accept being a backup for the next two years. If he's willing to do that, his experience will be invaluable, but you could certainly understand a scenario in which he's not ready to do that. Hopefully he sticks it out and takes his chances of being called on if Guzan struggles or gets hurt.

Copa America Grade - Incomplete

This is probably a cop out, but one match just isn't enough to give him a solid grade. He was more than acceptable in his one match, but we need to see more to justify a true grade.

What's Next

Timmy just recently made his Colorado Rapids debut, keeping a clean sheet in a scoreless draw. As long as he stays healthy he shouldn't have a problem getting called up by Klinsmann. As we alluded to earlier, it's going to be up to him if he's willing to accept his role as a permanent backup. This is not a knock on his mentality or commitment. It cannot be easy for a veteran to spend their whole career as 'The Guy' and then be asked to be a mentor and a backup. If he's able to accept that then he'd be an incredible asset to the national team.