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Brad Guzan named USMNT starter ahead of Tim Howard for Mexico match

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Brad Guzan will be the United States' starting goalkeeper when they play Mexico in the Confederations Cup playoff on October 10. There was some thought that Tim Howard, who only recently returned to the U.S., would get the nod, but Jurgen Klinsmann doesn't want to make any changes yet.

"Since we are so short away from that clash with Mexico, we are not there making changes right now," said Klinsmann. "Brad is the No. 1, Tim is the No. 2. Tim accepted that because he was gone for more than a year from the team."

Howard was the American starting from 2007 through the 2014 World Cup, where he shined in a record-setting performance against Belgium. But that match against Belgium was the last time he played for the U.S. Shortly after the World Cup, Howard announced that he would be taking a year off from international soccer to focus on his club career and family.

Now, a year has passed and Howard is back. He has been called into the team for upcoming friendlies against Peru and Brazil, but Guzan will start those matches and the crucial Confederations Cup playoff. But after that? Howard could get the chance to win the starting job back.

"Once we get the Mexico, hopefully successfully, out of the way then we can think about how we can split maybe some time," said Klinsmann. "Now it’s about getting consistency with the players, and getting the job done in October."

Howard hasn't played with any of the American players in more than a year so it makes sense not to hand him the starting job. Developing the understanding and mastering the communication between the goalkeeper and defense necessary to excel doesn't come overnight, or in one week, which is all he will have to prepare. If the U.S. didn't have another capable goalkeeper, it might be a different situation, but Guzan has proven himself good enough to get the team through tough matches.