NEW YORK – Tim Howard or Brad Guzan will play for the United States in next month's World Cup qualifiers against Guatemala despite losing their starting jobs in England's Premier League.
Howard started for the U.S. at the last two World Cups and had been Everton's No. 1 since the 2006-07 season. But the form of the 36-year-old was shaky early this season, leading to fans heckling him at Goodison Park. Howard injured a knee in training early this month and even though he recovered, Everton manager Roberto Martinez said last week that Joel Robles was his new No. 1.
Guzan, 31, was been supplanted by Mark Bunn at last-place Aston Villa, which is headed toward relegation.
Howard has not played since Jan. 24; Guzan last played in the Premier League on Jan. 2 and has been limited since to a pair of appearances in the FA Cup.
"Obviously you want to see them all play," U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said after Sunday night's Copa America draw. "But with both of them, they have tremendous experience. They know how to deal with these kind situations. They're going to come in for the Guatemala game sharp and highly motived. They want to do well, so I'm not that concerned."
In the semifinal round of the North and Central American and Caribbean region, the U.S. is at Guatemala on March 25, then hosts Los Chapines four days later at Columbus, Ohio. Guzan and Howard alternated in the first two qualifiers in November, and Klinsmann said one of the two will start in each game against Guatemala.
Klinsmann said forward Aron Johannsson will miss the Guatemala matches. Johannsson injured a hip last fall and while he has resumed training, he has not played for Werder Bremen since Sept. 22.
"He's still behind," Klinsmann said.
While praising Christian Pulisic, the 17-year-old who made his first start for Borussia Dortmund on Sunday, Klinsmann said the midfielder will be brought along slowly in the national team program. Pulisic played in the Under-17 World Cup last year and perhaps could put himself in consideration for the under-23 team if it beats Colombia next month in a home-and-home playoff for an Olympic berth.
"We'll keep things grounded, but we're excited we have a talent like him coming through the ranks," Klinsmann said. "What consequence that has maybe towards the summer, we'll see."