Former United States men’s national team midfielder and current Colorado Rapids manager Pablo Mastroeni has come to the defense of Tim Howard after the goalkeeper was suspended for three matches by MLS. After a couple of altercations with fans at Sporting Kansas City, Howard was reprimanded by the league. Mastroeni tells the Denver Post that not all of the blame should be placed on the USMNT legend’s shoulders.
In the interview he goes on to say that security at Children's Mercy Park wasn’t up to snuff on the night and that fans should be held accountable for their actions just like players. Mastroeni continued on by saying that Howard is a different type of athlete, one who borders on the line of being crazy and that’s what makes him so good at his job.
“The reason why Tim Howard is great in goal, and he’s the best goalkeeper in the history of United States soccer, is because he’s operating at a level that is borderline crazy. He’s operating in a place where most people don’t even dare go, because it’s scary to go there.” — Pablo Mastroeni; Source: Denver Post
Whether that’s justification for the incidents is beside the point. MLS has had their say and the suspension is being served. Hopefully Howard can keep that “craziness” under control from now on.
However, it’s hard to believe that someone who’s played all over England for Everton and Manchester United and all over the world for the USMNT would run into trouble in a random place like Kansas City of all places. At 38 years old and so many matches played, for this to be the first recorded incident is peculiar. It could’ve just been Howard having a spectacularly bad night. It also could’ve been fans being extraordinarily bad without repercussion. There are two sides to every story and we’ll have to hope this is the last such incident we see Howard involved in.