It was a crisp night in Liverpool on January 4, 2012 as Everton faced off against Bolton Wanderers. While the temperature was around 8 degrees Celsius at kickoff (about 46 degrees Farenheit), the breeze was out of this world, with sustained winds at close to 30mph with stronger gusts. Still, there was a match to be played, and Everton had their usual field general protecting the goal. Tim Howard, the legendary United States international, was the longtime starter for The Toffees, was their #1 and was in the midst of a pretty decent season despite Everton hovering around the middle of the Premier League table.
The first half was scoreless, as both sides were unsuccessful at navigating the incredible winds on the field. Debris from around the stadium littered the field because of the swirling winds, but the strongest gusts were blowing from the Walton Street end to the Gwladys Street end. It would factor hugely in a key moment in the 2nd half.
In the 63rd minute, as the ball was played back from midfield, Howard just attempted to get the ball out of the defending half. So, with a Bolton attacker casually closing in on the ball, Howard booted the ball downfield. It was a good thing he did:
Magic. Howard already had a great leg, but coupled with the strong wind gusts pointed at the opposing goal, combined with a little luck, the ball took one high bounce over the outstretched arm of Bolton keeper Adam Bogdan. Before he knew it, the ball was in the back of the net for a 100-yard goal. With that clearance-turned-goal, Tim Howard became the 4th player in Premier League history to score a goal in a league match.
Tim Howard would later call the goal “cruel,” opting not to celebrate the goal out of respect for Bogdan. He said there was “no pleasure” in scoring a goal against a fellow goalkeeper because, as he recalls, he could be on the receiving end of such bad luck one day:
Tim Howard is arguably the best goalkeeper in American history, with stints with the New York/New Jersey Metrostars, Manchester United, Everton, and his current Colorado Rapids. He has the most caps of any goalkeeper in USMNT history, and has captained many a side throughout his career. He also still holds the record for most saves in a World Cup match when he had 15 stops against Belgium in a 2014 World Cup 2nd Round performance that is still talked about around the world. Still, when you look at his combined 746 career appearances for club and country, he will look back at January 4, 2012 as the date where he acquired his craziest stat: