CHICAGO – Thanks for the offer, Brad Friedel. But your services won't be needed.
That was Jurgen Klinsmann's message after the 41-year-old Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper offered to come out of international retirement last week if the United States needed him in the wake of starter Tim Howard’s recent back injury.
Howard is expected to miss World Cup qualifiers in Denver against Costa Rica on March 22 and then in Mexico on March 26.
“We haven't looked into [Friedel's return]," Klinsmann told media members after Wednesday's Gold Cup press conference in Chicago. “It's a nice comment by Brad. Obviously he's a great guy, but we have total faith in Brad Guzan now as No. 1 for Costa Rica and the Mexico game, and also with Nick Rimando being his backup.
Guzan broke into the Aston Villa starting lineup this season after spending four years as a backup, three of them spent as Friedel's understudy. Rimando wasn't called up for February's Hexagonal opener against Honduras after missing the January camp with a shoulder injury, but Klinsmann made it clear that he has the backup spot for the March qualifiers locked up.
Guzan last appeared for the US in a friendly vs. Scotland last May in Jacksonville, Fla. He came off the bench after the US had built a 5-1 lead. His last start came during a World Cup tuneup match againt the Czech Republic in May 2010.
Johnson was called in for the February loss to Honduras, but it appears the Fire goalkeeper will have to duke it out with his D.C. United counterpart Hamid for the third and final spot.
While Howard's injury is certainly a blow, Klinsmann is confident in Guzan.
“Obviously we are sorry for Timmy Howard not being there because of his injury, but most important is that he gets healthy again and 100 percent fit again, which he will do in a few weeks,” Klinsmann said. “We have one thousand percent faith in Brad Guzan, that's why Brad was our backup all the time.
"He's No. 1 at Aston Villa, he's playing high level football week-in, week-out. We're not worried about that situation at all. We're confident we can give Costa Rica a really good game next week.”