Klinsmann has handed the armband to the Everton veteran after omitting Dempsey due to fitness issues.
Jurgen Klinsmann has confirmed that goalkeeper Tim Howard will captain the USMNT when they face Bosnia on Wednesday, in the absence of Clint Dempsey.
Dempsey’s omission from the squad was one of the main talking points surrounding an interesting selection from Klinsmann, but the head coach was quick to explain that it was strictly for fitness reasons.
Since returning to MLS in a mammoth transfer from Tottenham Hotspur to Seattle Sounders, Dempsey has struggled with fitness due to a virus. Combine that with the fact that he had barely begun pre-season training at Tottenham and Klinsmann’s decision to leave his usual skipper in Seattle is a sensible one.
90-cap veteran Howard spoke to MLSSoccer.com ahead of the friendly in Sarajevo: “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 flew into Sarajevo from Manchester with fellow Premier League goalkeeper and Bosnia regular 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.”
Tim Howard was not involved with the USA’s triumphant Gold Cup run because of Klinsmann’s decision to pick an almost entirely North American-based squad, but now that World Cup qualifiers are the main centre of attention Howard is very much the main man between the sticks once more.
Two ‘keepers who were at the Gold Cup, Sean Johnson and Nick Rimando, may feel a little hard done by at their omission from this latest squad, but with MLS fixtures hotting up towards the end of the season and the undeniable quality of Howard and his backup Brad Guzan, they may not be all that surprised.
To see the full 23-man squad selected by Klinsmann, click here.