In the first half of Saturday night's 1-1 tie against England, U.S. goalie Tim Howard absorbed a collision with England's Emile Heskey. The collision, Howard said afterwards, was "agony." He was down for 3 minutes, but stayed in the match. At halftime, he received a cortisone shot, which allowed him to play (mostly) without pain in the second half. He made a number of crucial saves to preserve the result.
But, today, the question for the U.S. team is what that collision will cost them: Howard is being evaluated today and U.S. coach Bob Bradley told reporters at the team's headquarters that "a decision will be made about whether he needs further tests," on his ribs. Tests such as an MRI or x-ray.
Will he play on Friday against Slovenia?
"At this time I think there's no answer," Bradley said. "But when you see the way Timmy handled himself after the collision last night, you'd certainly expect he'll be on the field again." Howard's fitness is crucial for the U.S.'s success; it was his play on Saturday that earned the U.S. a point it probably shouldn't have snagged. A serious injury to Howard, one that would keep him out of Friday's match, could severely hinder the team's chances of advancing.
The U.S. split up its practice session today, sending the starters to regeneration and the 10 substitutes plus two backup goalies to the field for a training session.
Group C glance:
Slovenia 3 points, USA 1 point, England 1 point, Algeria 0 points.
A few minutes ago, Slovenia defeated Algeria 1-0 to finish the first round of games for Group C. Slovenia/Algeria looked about to end in a tie, but Slovenia scored a late goal (with some help from Algeria's goalie and a late-game send off) to take all 3 points. First reaction to that game's result is that it could work against the U.S.
Because Slovenia picked up all three points, you can expect them to pack it inside on Friday and gladly take a tie. If that's the result, it will leave Slovenia with 4 points, the U.S. with only 2. Just some early-game speculation.
*After Saturday's game, U.S. defender Carlos Bocanegra, surrounded by reporters, was asked about Robert Green's mistake. Bocanegra said he hoped the British press would spare Green. A number of the British press were in the throng and they chuckled and said, "That's not going to happen."
They were right. Here were some of the headlines from England:
News of the World and Sunday Mirror: "Hand of Clod" accompanied by huge pictures of Green and frame-by-frame display of his blunder. News of the World added this line, "Cock-up keeper Green wrecks dream start" and "Stars and tripe." A few more: "Tainted Glove" and "Worst Howler Ever."