SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina — The US national team captain's armband will be in safe hands in Clint Dempsey's absence.
Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann confirmed to MLSsoccer.com at the Sarajevo airport on Sunday that goalkeeper Tim Howard, a veteran of 90 USMNT caps, will replace Dempsey and don the armband against Bosnia-Herzegovina in Wednesday's international friendly at Asim Ferhatovic Hasse Stadium (2:30 pm ET, ESPN2, UniMas, live chat on MLSsoccer.com).
U.S. Soccer also confirmed Howard's captaincy via Twitter on Monday afternoon.
Howard met with media on Monday as the US gathered for their first training and although it's a friendly, the Everton netminder called the match against FIFA No. 13-ranked Bosnia as "vitally important" and that the US were going to use it "to try some things."
"We’re focused because not only did we just finish the Gold Cup, but as I mentioned [we’ve got] World Cup qualification in two weeks," said Howard, who revealed he flew into Sarajevo from Manchester with fellow EPL goalkeeper, Bosnian starter Asmir Begovic of Stoke City. "This game is vitally important. It’s not a game where we can just come here and not show up and take it easy. We have to play really hard.
"We’re expecting a hard game, it’s going to be difficult."
Making life tough on Howard will be Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko, who Howard singled out among all the attacking weapons he'll be paying particular attention.
"There’s too many to count, obviously," Howard said of Bosnia's offensive threats. "But I’ve played a few times against Dzeko and he’s always difficult, because he’s good left foot, right foot, strong in the air and he can head the ball.
"We won’t focus too much on one player, because they’ve got some really talented players, but we’ll keep an eye out for him — he’s hard to miss."