121912_howardtim_isi_bpi_fulhvever.flv0 Ben Queenborough/isiphotos.com
Time to Paniccccc?

Tim Howard: Quick Dip in Form or Something More?

The United States national team backstop frequently saves the American bacon. But he seems to be having trouble at Everton this season. Is it time to start worrying about the Stars and Stripes cage?
BY Noah Davis Posted
December 19, 2012
5:17 AM
Over the course of his stellar career with club and country, Tim Howard has kept many balls out of the net that a lesser backstop would concede. This year, however, he has not been at his best, especially when he dons the Everton colors.

The guys at English Premier League Index take a look at the season's first 17 games and offer some concerning statistics. Most notable is this line: "In just 17 matches, Howard has made five defensive errors. Having made just eight in the past four seasons."

That is a pretty dramatic increase and certainly something to keep an eye on, but the bigger issue is one of perception. If people around the league start thinking that Howard is making mistakes, these things have a way of developing a myth of their own. They lead to sentences like this one about a goal over the weekend, also from the EPLIndex story: "Having viewed the replays, Howard appeared all too aware of his proximity to the post and more concerned about colliding with it."

That's the type of speculation that is dangerous. Sure, Howard probably should have saved Kenwyne Jones' header—David Moyes said as much—but the concerning part is that Howard is developing a reputation for conceding soft goals. Now, instead of getting the benefit of the doubt, he'll be under increasing scrutiny. Those "defensive error" stats will grow, fairly or not.

Howard is off his game, but he will get better. He has an "animal" in Everton central defender Phil Jagielka to help him. He's experiencing a poor run of form, but it won't continue as long as he can fix it quickly.

Howard is now 33 years old, hardly old for a goalkeeper. As long as he keeps putting in performances like he did against Russia, Howard and the United States will be just fine.

Post a comment