Tim Howard is out with two broken bones in his back. He'll miss time with the U.S. Men's National Team. Perhaps it's inevitable, but calls for Nick Rimando as the next in line are coming in loud and clear from Real Salt Lake fans.
Supporters of other teams are calling for their own — Dan Kennedy, Tally Hall, Sean Johnson, Bill Hamid all have been mentioned in recent hours — and plenty are calling for Brad Guzan as well. Some of those are clearly more or less likely.
Guzan seems the most probable to be the next in line, but the only evidence we really have to go on depends on what goalkeeper happens to be on the bench. Excepting the first two matches of 2013, that's been split pretty evenly between Nick Rimando and Brad Guzan. But given that neither has played for the U.S. for some time makes it difficult to say definitively who is ahead of the other in the rankings.
Guzan last played for the USMNT as a substitute on May 26, coming in for Tim Howard. He last started on Nov. 17, 2010, before Jurgen Klinsmann took power. Rimando, on the other hand, hasn't played since Jan. 25, 2012, during one of the January camp matches.
By the weight of matches played on the bench, though, the victor is Nick Rimando, who has been on the bench for nine matches. Bill Hamid has been on the bench for seven, while Guzan has been on the bench for six.
This isn't a definitive statement, and it doesn't tell us who the "next choice" is — but anyone discounting Nick Rimando needs a clear look at some lineups.
What's more a shame, though, is that US manager Jurgen Klinsmann hasn't played a non-Tim Howard goalkeeper except in January camps since he arrived — you know, matches when Howard isn't available. While it's clearly an honor for Nick Rimando and others to be called up, leaving them out of friendlies cannot help now that Howard is unavailable. Is it negligent? Perhaps not quite, but I wouldn't say it's totally far off, either.
Goalkeeper, United States matches since Klinsmann arrival
Feb. 6: Tim Howard
Jan. 29: Sean Johnson (January camp)
Nov. 14, Oct. 16, Oct. 12, Sept. 11, Sept. 7, Aug. 15, June 12, June 8, June 3, May 30, May 26 (Guzan 71'), Feb. 29: Tim Howard
Jan. 25: Nick Rimando
Jan. 21: Bill Hamid
Nov. 15, Nov. 11, Oct. 11, Oct. 8, Sept. 6, Sept. 2, Aug. 10, June 25, June 22, June 19, June 14, June 11, June 7, June 4: Tim Howard
Goalkeeper on bench since Klinsmann
Rimando: Nov. 14, 2012; Oct. 16, 2012; Oct. 12, 2012; Aug. 15, 2012; June 3, 2012; May 30, 2012; Feb. 29, 2012; Jan. 21, 2012; Oct. 11, 2011
Guzan: Feb. 6, 2013; Sept. 11, 2012; Sept. 7, 2012; June 12, 2012; June 8, 2012; May 26, 2012
Hamid: Jan. 29, 2013; Nov. 15, 2011; Nov. 11, 2011; Oct. 8, 2011; Sept. 6, 2011; Sept. 2, 2011; Aug. 10, 2011;
Johnson: Jan. 25, 2012