Tim Howard and Brad Guzan continue to vie for USA's No. 1 spot

Tim Howard USA 2

The Everton goalkeeper and his Aston Villa counterpart are set to rotate as Jurgen Klinsmann's starter once again over the next two World Cup qualifiers against Guatemala.

Speaking to ESPN FC, US national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has confirmed that goalkeepers Tim Howard and Brad Guzan will be platooned over the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Guatemala.

Howard spent eight years as the USA’s no. 1 before taking a year-long sabbatical from international football following the 2014 World Cup, giving long-time backup Guzan the chance to stake his claim for the job.

With Howard coming back into the fold last September, Klinsmann opted to rotate the pair over the team’s opening qualifiers against Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago, but recent events have raised questions about whether he could change his approach for the back-to-back matches against Guatemala.

Howard, who turned 37 earlier this month, has not featured for Everton for the past two months after losing his place to Joel Robles following a poor run of form, while Guzan has suffered from similar struggles at Aston Villa over the last two seasons.

The 31-year-old recently reclaimed his starting spot after being benched in early January, but after a couple of strong performances, he incurred stern criticism once again last weekend for committing a goal-gifting error in Villa’s 1-0 loss at Swansea.

With Klinsmann also calling up David Bingham and William Yarbrough into his latest squad, the German has another two emerging options to choose from, but for now the veteran duo will continue to share time before a permanent starter is decided upon ahead of the summer’s Copa America Centenario.

Speaking ahead of Friday’s night’s clash with Guatemala in Guatemala City, Klinsmann told ESPN FC: "We have to deal with [the goalkeeping situation] the way it is. If a goalkeeper makes one mistake, that doesn't change my view of that one goalkeeper.

“We watch them over the years. We watch them in every club game."

Klinsmann would not confirm who would be starting in the first matchup against Guatemala, but the inclination is that Howard will get the nod over Guzan before the Villa man starts next week’s clash in Columbus.

Having not played a game for Everton since 24 January, there is certainly some risk attached to picking Howard, but Klinsmann himself does not seem too concerned about the soon-to-be Colorado Rapids keeper’s recent lack of action.

“Having a player like Tim Howard back in our group is huge because his experience now,” he told SBI Soccer this week. “Is it more ideal if he plays? Absolutely, but if he doesn’t play, he’s [37] years old, he’s played I don’t know how many hundred games in the Premier League and before that in MLS, so he knows how to deal with that situation.

He’s calm. He’s professional, he’s a top, top professional.”

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