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World Cup by the Numbers: Tim Howard’s World Cup Performance in Modern Era

As long as he maintains a clean bill of health and is available as a starting selection for head coach Jurgen Klinsmann for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, goalkeeper Tim Howard could set some new U.S. Men’s National Team standards at next year’s tournament.

Howard is looking forward to a third World Cup opportunity following his four-game performance at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. He served as Kasey Keller’s backup in the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany and did not see game action.

In the previous six World Cups starting with the 1990 tournament, four USA goalkeepers have played in 22 World Cup matches during the modern era: Tony Meola (1990 and 1994), Keller (1998 and 2006), Brad Friedel (1998 and 2002) and Howard (2010).

Among this group, Howard currently holds the best winning percentage (.500) after going 1-1-2 in South Africa. He held a 1.15 goals against average, which is also tops among the modern era goalkeepers.

Here is where Howard stands among the other three goalkeepers in the following World Cup categories:

Games played/started:

  • 1. Tony Meola 7/7
  • 2. Brad Friedel 6/6
  • 3. Kasey Keller 5/5
  • 4. Tim Howard 4/4


Wins:

  • 1. Brad Friedel 2
  • 2. (tie) Tim Howard and Tony Meola 1
  • 4. Kasey Keller 0

Shutouts:

  • 1. (tie) Brad Friedel and Tim Howard 1
  • 3. (tie) Kasey Keller and Tony Meola 0

Goals against average:

  • 1. Tim Howard (1.15, 5 GA in 390 min.)
  • 2. Brad Friedel (1.33, 8 GA in 540 min.)
  • 3. Tony Meola (1.71, 12 GA in 630 min.)
  • 4. Kasey Keller (2.00, 10 GA in 450 min.)

Winning percentage:

  • 1. Tim Howard (.500, 1-1-2)
  • 2. Brad Friedel (.417, 2-3-1)
  • 3. Tony Meola (.214, 1-5-1)
  • 4. Kasey Keller (.100, 0-4-1)

Looking Back at the 1994 FIFA World Cup Draw

How appropriate that the 1994 FIFA World Cup Draw was held in Las Vegas – the gambling, glitz, glamour and betting capital of the world.

One of the more promising side stories was the press conference two days before the draw that introduced the formation of a new, 12-team professional league – Major League Soccer, the first national professional first division in the United States since the original North American Soccer League went out of business after the 1984 season.

“We believe the time has never been more right for a professional league to succeed,” former U.S. Soccer president Alan Rothenberg said. “The level of participation in soccer in this country has been growing by leaps and bounds. We have proved in organizing the World Cup that we can convert participants into spectators. I have no doubt a league like this will be successful.”

The new league also got the approval of FIFA, which had been urging U.S. Soccer to form a league since it awarded the World Cup to the USA in 1988.

“FIFA was very pleased to receive the excellent report from Major League Soccer,” current FIFA president Sepp Blatter said. “We are optimistic about the future of soccer in the United States.”

After singer James Brown provided the musical entertainment, the proceedings began.

Comedian Robin Williams did his best singlehandedly – literally – to liven up the event. He put a white surgical glove on his right hand before he picked a ball out of a bowl.

Williams commented on the huge, colorful electronic board that listed the six groups and the 24 teams. “Look! The world’s largest Keno board,” he said.

Through a taped message, President Clinton welcomed the world and an international TV audience estimated at 500 million. Then an array of celebrities and athletes – actor Jeff Bridges, women’s soccer legend Michelle Akers, actress/model Carol Alt, pop artist Peter Max, race car driver Mario Andretti and Olympic gold medalist Mary Lou Retton helped put the World Cup schedule together.

By the time the dust settled, the U.S was scheduled to play Switzerland on June 18 at the Pontiac Silverdome in the first World Cup match to be held indoors; Colombia, considered to be one of the best teams on the planet at the time, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., on June 22; and Romania in the same venue on June 26.

“Colombia has beaten the United States twice, 1-0 and 2-1,” said then-U.S. head coach Bora Milutinovic. “It’s time for the United States to beat Colombia.”

Added team captain and goalkeeper Tony Meola at the time: “I’ll be very disappointed if we don’t move on. We’ll have to fight, but we would have to fight in any group.”

But the U.S. Soccer officials were more than a little concerned. Colombia at the time was considered one of the best teams in the world. Up to then, no host team had failed to reach the second round.

“A draw’s a draw,” said longtime U.S. Soccer Secretary General Hank Steinbrecher. “At any rate, Blatter says that the draw really doesn’t matter and you’ve got to play the best teams anyway. We predicted we would lose to Colombia, tie Switzerland and beat Romania. That was the thinking at the time. What happens? We beat Colombia, lose to Romania and tie Switzerland. So the lesson I learned from that? Blatter may be right. The draw really doesn’t matter. What matters is what’s going to happen on the field.”

- Michael Lewis

Tony Meola Hall of Fame Player Inductee

Tony Meola was inducted into the 2012 National Soccer Hall of Fame as a Player.

2012 National Soccer Hall of Fame Induction

The 2012 National Soccer Hall of Fame induction ceremony was held at FedExField Wednesday night, and USA vs. Brazil provided the perfect setting. It doesn't get much better than a huge game against a legendary team to set the stage for the induction of several U.S. Soccer legends into the Hall of Fame.

blog post photo
Desmond Armstrong, Tony Meola, Tony DiCicco and Claudio Reyna (not pictured) were inducted into the Hall of Fame on May 30, 2012 at FedExField

As if going down in U.S. Soccer history wasn't enough to look forward to in one day, former Men's National Team defender Desmond Armstrong had some extra reasons to be excited on Wednesday.

"For me personally it's huge because I was the first American ever to play in Brazil professionally and I'm from Washington D.C., so we're playing on my home turf, so to speak. USA vs. Brazil is also exciting because of the young stars of Brazil and the next World Cup coming in two years. Plus, we're in a fantastic stadium - it's like icing on the cake for me."

Armstrong signed for famed club Santos in 1991, the club of Pelé and last night's goal scorer and current Brazil star Neymar. Since then, U.S. Men's National Team players in Brazil have been few and far between. Fellow Hall of Famer Cobi Jones had a stint with Vasco de Gama in 1995 but left when he signed for the LA Galaxy of the newly formed MLS.

Congratulations to Armstrong and the rest of the inductees who joined the National Soccer Hall of Fame!

Studio 90 2012 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

Prior to Wednesday’s USA vs. Brazil match at FedEx Field several U.S. Soccer greats were inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame. Studio 90 caught up with former MNT players Tony Meola and Desmond Armstrong and former Women’s National Team head coach Tony DiCicco before the ceremony.

One of the most successful and recognizable figures to don red, white and blue, U.S. goalkeeper Tony Meola had a storied career that spanned three decades, three FIFA World Cups and immense achievement for both the U.S. National Team and Major League Soccer.

Meola’s 32 shutouts and 100 international caps both rank second all-time among U.S. goalkeepers through his 12 years representing the USA from 1988-2006. The Kearny, N.J., native broke onto the scene in 1989 and had immediate success on the U.S. National Team, posting a 4-0-2 record in his first six starts.

The USA’s starting goalkeeper in the 1990 and 1994 FIFA World Cups, Meola served as the captain of the team in 1994. A member of the 2002 World Cup roster, he’s one of only a handful of U.S. players to be part of three World Cups.

One of the top MLS goalkeepers, Meola’s league career was highlighted by a 2000 campaign with the Kansas City Wizards where he posted a league-record 16 shutouts, was named MLS MVP, MLS Goalkeeper of the Year and MLS Cup MVP as Kansas City defeated the Chicago Fire for the championship.

Meola was a two-time, first-team All-American at the University of Virginia, winning the Hermann Trophy following his freshman season and the MAC Award after his sophomore season.

Outside of the soccer realm, Major League Baseball’s New York Yankees drafted Meola out of high school and he lettered in baseball at Virginia. He also briefly played in the NFL, spending 11 weeks on the New York Jets roster as a placekicker.

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