The Everton goalkeeper made his first competitive start for the US since the 2014 World Cup in Tuesday night's 0-0 World Cup qualifying draw in Port of Spain.
While Tim Howard's Everton form has come in for a fair amount of criticism from both fans and the media in England of late, US national team supporters still seem to hold him in high regard.
The 36-year-old goalkeeper returned to the US setup in September after taking a year-long break from international football – with Jurgen Klinsmann’s blessing – following the 2014 World Cup, but he now finds himself forced to share starting duties with Brad Guzan after his long-time backup impressed during his absence.
Last month’s 1-0 friendly defeat to Costa Rica saw the New Jersey native make his first appearance for the team in over 15 months, but head coach Klinsmann revealed after the loss that he plans to rotate the pair until deciding on a No. 1 ahead of next summer’s Centennial Copa America.
That meant that the 106-times capped keeper was on the bench last week for the USA’s opening 2018 World Cup qualifier against Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in St. Louis, Missouri, as Guzan faced just two shots in a convincing 6-1 win over the CONCACAF minnows.
However, Howard was subsequently back between the posts on Tuesday night for a more challenging match in Trinidad and Tobago, and the Toffees veteran produced a handful of smart saves to ensure his side left Port of Spain with a 0-0 draw.
It was his first competitive start for the States since his record-breaking 15-save performance in the 2-1 round of 16 defeat to Belgium at the 2014 World Cup, and while he did not have to replicate those heroics on this occasion, the reaction on Twitter to his return gave a good indication of who fans would prefer to see as Klinsmann's first-choice.
Is it just me or is Tim Howard better than Guzan? #USMNT— PlayoffMarsch (@Fabreliquid) November 18, 2015
Tim Howard's presence is just so much better than Guzan's. Such a leader.— Flynn (@FlynnCommentary) November 18, 2015
I see the #USMNT is still relying on the I hope Tim Howard will save the ball defense...— Anthony (@WrigleyDreaming) November 18, 2015