COLUMBUS, Ohio – Tim Howard's participation in Tuesday's World Cup qualifier between the US and Costa Rica (9 pm ET; beIN SPORTS, NBC Universo), as well as the Colorado Rapids' playoff run, is in deep doubt after he strained his groin in Friday's 2-1 loss to Mexico.
The veteran goalkeeper hit the turf in agony as he struck a goal kick in the first half at MAPFRE Stadium, and though he tried to work through the issue, eventually had to make way for Brad Guzan.
“He pulled his muscle, I think he's not able to come with us to Costa Rica,” coach Jurgen Klinsmann said postgame. “We'll get an MRI [Saturday] morning, but he's so experienced, he knows it's not looking that good.”
Howard himself left a slight window for better news about an injury that Klinsmann said was brand-new and had not shown itself before the game.
“At the moment I don't feel like I can,” said Howard of his prospects for traveling to San Jose with his teammates. “But we'll see. We'll see what happens. I don't know, I'm not a doctor, it's sore. I'll let the adrenaline wear off, see what the scan says in the morning and go from there.”
The USMNT have never won in nine qualifying visits to Costa Rica, a daunting history for a US side that just lost their first home qualifier since 2001. Howard offered up some optimism for his side, however.
“We haven't won [there]. But the same way Mexico felt today, we will get the first win in Costa Rica,” he said, alluding to Mexico having just ended their grisly winless history in Columbus. “I remember sitting in Honduras a couple years back – [US lost their] first game [in the Hexagonal], doom and gloom, World Cup's over, but it's the first game. We've got a whole bunch more to go.
“Losing hurts. Losing sucks. Losing to Mexico probably hurts a little bit more. And we'll allow ourselves to hurt tonight. But get on that plane, and it's hard to write doom and gloom stories [if] we get three points on Tuesday, we shift the balance, we even everything out and we go again – we've got eight games left [after Tuesday].”
Howard's Rapids will resume their MLS Cup hunt after the international break, with a visit to Seattle for the first leg of the Western Conference Championship on Tuesday, Nov. 22. Zac MacMath is Colorado’s backup ‘keeper.