Howard had faith he’d be healthy for U.S.

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By The As­so­ci­ated Press

san jose, calif.» As his U.S. team­mates trained un­der cloudy skies on a brisk Bay Area morn­ing, Tim Howard sat on the side­line and stretched his shoul­ders. He bal­anced on his left leg and warmed up his hips.

This is the new nor­mal for the Rapids goalie, fresh off his 38th birth­day and a Novem­ber surgery on his right thigh to re­pair the ad­duc­tor mus­cle.

“I’m old,” chuck­led Howard, the Amer­i­cans’ top goal­keeper the past two World Cups. “That’s ev­ery day for me now, be­tween now and the next three years that’s what ev­ery day looks like. It’s a process, but hope­fully it’ll pay off.”

Howard is ex­pected to start for coach Bruce Arena in Fri­day’s World Cup qual­i­fier against Hon­duras at Avaya Sta­dium, home of the MLS San Jose Earth­quakes, be­fore the Amer­i­cans play at Panama four days later.

“It’s good to have him back,” said de­fender DaMar­cus Beasley. “He’s been a big part of this team for a long time now. Big games, World Cups, qual­i­fiers. To have him back with the team and the group is a big plus for us and for ev­ery­body to see him back, es­pe­cially af­ter the in­jury he had at the end of last sea­son.”

Howard is con­fi­dent kick­ing with his right foot again but he noted, “Thank­fully I have half a de­cent left foot” when he needs to use it.

The U.S. is 0-2 in the fi­nal round of World Cup qual­i­fy­ing for the first time, and Arena re­turned to coach the team 10 years af­ter his fir­ing when he was hired in Novem­ber to re­place Jur­gen Klins­mann. That month, the Amer­i­cans lost to Mex­ico 2-1 at home and 4-0 at Costa Rica.

• United States for­ward Bobby Wood with­drew from World Cup qual­i­fiers against Hon­duras and Panama due to back prob­lems.


FIFA banned for life the ref­eree who awarded a dis­puted penalty for South Africa against Sene­gal in a World Cup qual­i­fy­ing match. Ref­eree Joseph Lamptey of Ghana gave a penalty for a non-ex­is­tent hand­ball against Sene­gal de­fender Kali­dou Koulibaly. Re­plays clearly showed the ball struck Koulibaly’s knee and then dropped to the ground.

Ral­phie IV led the CU foot­ball team to a 62-36 crush­ing of Ne­braska at Fol­som Field in Novem­ber 2001. Getty Im­ages file

Tim Howard is ex­pected to start in Fri­day’s World Cup qual­i­fier against Hon­duras.

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