With Howard out for U.S., Guzan ready for start
MIAMI SHORES, Fla. (AP) -- Goalkeeper Tim Howard will be a spectator Saturday night when the U.S. plays El Salvador in its second game of the regional World Cup qualifying finals.
Howard was suspended for one match after getting his second yellow card of qualifying during the 2-0 win against Mexico on Feb. 11 in Columbus, Ohio. Backup goalkeeper Brad Guzan will start in his place.
"The rules are the rules," Howard said after Thursday's final practice in Miami. "I always want to be playing. I think that goes without saying. I think everybody does.
"Will it be difficult? Well, I'll just be rooting for the guys and I'll be into the game, it will be intense and I'll be hoping for a good result."
While Howard starts for Everton, Guzan is the backup to Aston Villa's Brad Friedel, the U.S. starter during the 2002 World Cup.
Guzan has three shutouts in 11 international appearances. This will be the first time he has played in Central America during his career, and he knows how important it is to take advantage of this chance.
"Anytime that your name and number is called you want to be able to help the team," Guzan said. "I've always prepared myself in practice as if I was going to be playing, and I had to approach it that way if anything ever were to happen to Tim. So my mind-set hasn't changed at all."
Coach Bob Bradley is confident Guzan will be ready to handle what comes with playing in a hostile environment such as El Salvador. Guzan also has the confidence of his teammates, especially the defenders.
"Every time he comes in, his sense of what we expect is very good," Bradley said. "I think he's learned from Timmy. Brad has his own qualities. For a young player he's mature, very good in the group and he'll be ready."
Defender Oguchi Oneyw, kept out of Thursday's practice as a precaution with a mild knee sprain, is expected to play Saturday.
The U.S., seeking its sixth straight World Cup berth, hosts Trinidad and Tobago in a qualifier on Wednesday night at Nashville, Tenn., before qualifying in the North and Central American and Caribbean region takes a break until June.
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