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The Goalkeeper Talks

Tim Howard Says the U.S. Is Ready for Tough Test

The United States No. 1 is ready for Tuesday's difficult match against Bosnia and Herzegovina. He tells Graham Ruthven that the American "A" team is feeling a little pressure after the Gold Cup success.
BY Graham Ruthven Posted
August 12, 2013
1:35 PM
SARAJEVO, Bosnia—Tim Howard says he and his USA teammates are feeling a little bit more pressure to perform after Jurgen Klinsmann’s de facto B-side's triumphant display at the 2013 Gold Cup.

The U.S. come into Wednesday’s friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina with momentum on its side, putting together an 11-game winning streak that saw the squad lift CONCACAF’s regional trophy last month.

But with World Cup qualification ties against Costa Rica and Mexico looming, focus has turned to preparation, rather than celebration, with an on-form Bosnia providing a tough test.

Speaking to ASN at Monday training in Sarajevo, the Everton keeper spoke candidly about the challenge ahead.

“There's always pressure when you play international level but yeah, the players who weren’t involved in the Gold Cup might be feeling it a bit. The guys who played in the Gold Cup did really well and staked their claim and now it’s up to people like me who weren’t there to prove that we deserve our place in the team."

While some have questioned the timing of this friendly as it disrupts the start of the European season, Howard sees it as crucial preparation for next month’s World Cup qualifiers.

“Sometimes it’s hard to pick things back up again after a big tournament (Gold Cup), but we know qualification isn’t far away so that will be on everyone’s’ minds. It might be a friendly but this is a big game for us," he said. “Of course we might try out some new things, there are some new faces on the roster this time but our winning streak is important to us and we want to stretch that to 12.”

Howard expects a tough game against a side that are also on a winning streak of their own (five straight victories), pinpointing the threat posed by Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko.

“We’re expecting a hard game, it’s going to be very difficult. They have a lot of good players and I’ve played against some of them in England so I know how good they are. There are too many (threats to count). I’ve played a few times against Dzeko and he’s really difficult to play against. He’s good with his left foot, good with his right, and strong in the air," the American No. 1 said.

“We won’t focus on just one guy because they would hurt us in other areas if we did that. But we’ll be keeping an eye on him, for sure.”

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