Don't Tread on Us *UPDATE: Bradley Not Positive Howard Able to Play

Don't hate Andy Mead because he's there, down on the pitch, taking pictures.

Oh, OK, go ahead. Hate away. He doesn't care anyway.

Brutal. Just brutal:

(London News of the World)

Not that it's any consolation, but Greens' misplay was just the latest in the long line of ugly goalkeeper errors that have plagued England for a decade or more. David Seaman, Paul Robinson, David James, the list is long and - well, one wants to say illustrious but if they had an illustrious keeper over there this stuff wouldn't keep happening.

Where have you gone, Scott Carson?

Of course this morning it just doesn't matter. One point apiece, moving on.

Which is, as they say, easier said than done, but particularly for the US, who have been focusing on this one game since December, you have to think the challenge now is to put it aside and focus on "those other two teams we have to play". Whoever they are.

Panayotis mentioned the other day that while the World Cup is of course a showcase for established superstars it's also, and perhaps more importantly, the coming out party for the next generation of same.

Towards which point I'd just like to say that while most of us BigSoccer types were sold on Timmy Howard a long time ago, this tournament could very well be his official coming out party as one of the elite goalkeepers in the game.

Yes, he's been terrific in the Premiership for a couple of years now, but as we all know the WC is where you separate the plow pullers from the thoroughbreds. Particularly for a goalkeeper, performing under this kind of pressure, where just one mistake, one brief lapse in concentration, can spell disaster for your country and - as Robert Green can attest this morning - get your ass roasted from one end of the planet to the other.

One of the classic BigSoccer arguments, right up there with "Betty or Veronica?" and "Ginger or Mary Ann" has always been "Friedel or Keller?".

(Well, OK, not exactly the same, since as far as I know not many of us actually want to do either of the goalkeepers. But give me a shot at Betty....)

Tim Howard may very well be on his way to, if not eclipsing them both, then certainly turning it into a three way debate.

Either way, I hope Brad Guzan enjoys the view from the bench since barring disaster Howard is already on the lineup card for Brazil and probably Russia 2018 as well. Timing is everything.

Green wasn't the only Brit who screwed up royally yesterday.

In an utterly embarrassing broadcasting disaster, England fans watching the US match yesterday on ITV HD were watching a commercal when Gerrard scored Englands' only goal.

Of course, being typically reserved and calm England fans, everyone was in a mood to laugh it off. Forgive and forget. Move on.

Right.

As for the match itself, England fans can bitch and moan about Green's "howler" all they want. Certainly we'd be doing the exact same thing if the situation was reversed, although maybe not quite so vehemently since, unlike them, we really didn't expect to win.

We thought we could, we figured we had a better chance than they were giving us credit for but no one would have been shocked if we'd gone down 1-0.

Be all that as it may, the truth is that England didn't come away with a draw because of Green.

Rather, they came away with a draw because over the last 90+ straight minutes of the match they failed to score against a team they have been assuring us wasn't anywhere near as talented as they are.

They can - and will - blame poor Robert Green all they want, but the fact is that after a 4th minute botch by Ricardo Clark (how can Steven Freakin Gerrard be anywhere near the top of the area without your shirt and his blending together in a symphony of polyester?) the US defenders - individually and collectively - simply shut down their vaunted attack.

Which brings me to USA Today, a publication which used to have superb soccer coverage when Beau Dure was manning the keyboard for them.

Today, some idiot named Mike Foss did a "Report Card" on the US team yesterday which is shockingly clueless:

Steve Cherundolo was "by far the best defender of the game" (pardon me?) but "needs to step up into the attack more" (how he could possibly have done that more than he did without collapsing by about the 70th minute is a mystery).

Demerit "struggled". In fact, he "struggled" so much that Wayne Rooney, maybe the greatest striker in the world right now, did not touch the ball ONCE in the box until after 70 minutes had gone by.

Onyewu? He "looked much better" but still has "some issues with communication in the back". His evidence of this, which I apparently missed because I was busy watching the guy killing the England attack time after time after time? Beats hell out of me. "Communication" my ass. The man was a horse all day.

There's more, but here's the one that just slayed me:

Landon Donovan: "was perhaps the biggest disappointment for the U.S. in the match. The captain was a non-factor"

Hello? Excuse me? What freakin match were you watching, pal? In contrast, here's how Robert Draper of The Mail saw it:

Dear USA Today: I can give you the names of a couple hundred guys on BigSoccer who have one hell of a better idea of what they're talking about than this clown you're paying, and most of them would do it for free.

Donovan was the engine yesterday, the backbone, the key element, and if "Mike Foss" didn't see that then "Mike Foss" is an idiot.

*UPDATE: Various reports, the latest one from Steven Goff, HAVE HOWARD RECEIVING TREATMENT for his injured ribs.

USSF says no X-Rays have been taken and he will be re-evaluated tomorrow.

ESPN just moved a report that has Bradley "unsure" whether Howard can go on Friday but saying "you'd certainly expect that he'll be out there"

I simply cannot fathom a situation where, if there was any doubt whatsoever, the team physician would not want a picture.

Either they're not telling the truth (not out of the question under the circumstance) or they just aren't terribly concerned.

On the other hand, I'm sure Bob would not be unhappy to have everyone wondering whether the guy will play.