It's not too early to think about the USA's two June World Cup qualifiers against Trinidad & Tobago in Colorado and Mexico in Mexico City that follow the friendly against Venezuela on June 3 in
Sandy, Utah. Of concern, again, is the situation in goal, where the three keepers who suited up for the March qualifiers have endured a trying few weeks.
Tim Howard (MLS 2017: 3
GP, 2.00 GAA), who returned from a groin injury that required surgery and sidelined him for four months, started both games against Honduras and Panama but has played only game since then, a 3-1 loss
at Sporting KC. Later the next week, MLS suspended him for three games after being involved in two separate incidents with Kansas City fans, during and after the game.
Howard has already
served two of his three-game suspension and should have five games under his belt before the USA assembles for the Venezuela friendly. He isn't the problem at the moment, though.
Rimando (MLS 2017: 7 GP, 1.66 GAA), who emerged as Bruce Arena's No. 1 from the keepers in the USA's January camp, left Real Salt Lake's 3-1 loss at home to Atlanta United in the second
half with an injury, marking the first time since 2010 he had to be substituted from a match.
But the substitution followed two goals that came after errant clearances. On Hector
Villalba's goal, Rimando's clearance went straight to Miguel Almiron at the midfield line. Rimando saved shots by Yamil Asad and Villalba's first attempt but couldn't stop the third
shot. On the second goal, Chris Wingert's coughed up Rimando's pass and Rimando couldn't stop Almiron, leaving the Paraguayan free to lay the ball off to Asad.
The goals came three
weeks after one of the biggest blunders of Rimando's MLS career. He failed to handle a ball outside his area, allowing Minnesota United's Christian Ramirez to walk in alone and score into an
empty net for the third goal in the Loons' 4-2 win.
It's bad enough
that one national team keeper has been struggling, but Rimando's problems are nothing compared to those of San Jose goalkeeper David Bingham (MLS 2007: 8 GP, 1.25 GAA). The most recent mistake:
his failure to get to Eric Alexander's corner kick left Honduran Alberth Elis with an open net to put away his header for the insurance goal in Houston's 2-0 win.
after being called up by Arena for the March qualifiers, Bingham scored one of the worst own goals in MLS history, turning a tame deflected shot by Soony Saad into a Kansas City goal
during the Earthquakes 2-1 loss. Saad’s strike was headed wide before it bounced between both Bingham’s hands and feet.
GUZAN UPDATE. Brad Guzan was expected to start if Howard was unable
to go for the March qualifiers but missed the matches after his wife gave birth to their second child. He made his second straight start for Middlesbrough but just the fifth of the EPL season in a 4-0
loss to Bournemouth on Saturday. Guzan made several good saves early in the second half but couldn't prevent the rout that moved 'Boro closer to the drop.