Thursday, August 12, 2010
Tim Howard's homecoming to New Jersey was not the welcome he had hoped for as two first half Brazilian goals gave the five-time World Cup champions an easy victory over the United States national team.
Howard, who did not miss a single minute in goal for the US at the World Cup, could only watch helplessly as Neymar and Alexandre Pato scored to give the Brazilians all the cushion they needed in the first half.
The Everton netminder yielded his spot to backup Brad Guzan in the second half and lauded the play of the Aston Villa goalkeeper who was faced with his own barrage of shots from the South Americans.
"We're disappointed because of the goals we gave up," Howard told YA. "Our goalkeepers had to make too many saves. Brad played fantastic in the second half, but again, that's the problem with these teams is that they create so many opportunities, you really need to limit those opportunities particularly right in front of goal and we didn't do that very well."
However in the first ten minutes Bob Bradley's squad emerged from the tunnel playing with a purpose and were the aggressor catching the Brazilians a bit off-guard.
A ball into Landon Donovan almost resulted in a penalty kick but it was shortly after that moment when Mano Menezes' team started exerting their will which Howard knows is the downfall for any team trying to play at a high level against Brazil.
"I though we frustrated them for a little while which is good, but a little while isn't good enough so we showed some things that we need to work on, we know that," noted Howard. "In order to compete at this level to get the next level which this is, which the World Cup is, we've got to be able to frustrate teams a lot longer than that."
The tricky international match date made for some rather inconvenient travel plans for many of the American players, especially the ones who are ramping up with their European clubs for the upcoming campaign.
The Toffees goalkeeper acknowledged the inauspicious circumstances they as players had to deal with to prepare for the match especially in light of June's emotional World Cup run.
"It was very difficult," he admitted. "Don't forget we've got a lot of big players whose clubs didn't really want them to come in and that type of thing so it's difficult. Training yesterday for both teams wasn't going to be a long training. It's difficult to do that so you have to really rely on the last four years."
One of the positives Howard was able to extract from the shutout loss though was the energy and enthusiasm showed by the fans packed into the New Meadowlands Stadium.
The New Jersey native was able to boast with pride when talking about the support the US team receives from the metropolitan New York City crowd and views it as another example of the ever-increasing popularity of soccer in America.
"It was awesome," Howard concluded talking about the fans. "We expected that. It's always a good crowd when we play here and obviously Brazil brings out the best and it's a good mark for soccer."
Howard will begin the 2010/2011 Everton season this weekend when the Toffees play at Blackburn.