The save came moments after Marlon Hairston’s goal.
Less than a minute after Colorado’s 22-year-old outside midfielder gave the Rapids a one-goal advantage, FC Dallas earned a corner kick.
With only stoppage time remaining in the first half, an FC Dallas cross found defenseman Walker Zimmerman’s noggin. Zimmerman headed it clean and from close range. The shot looked destined to wind up in the back of the net. It probably would have against most goalkeepers.
But Tim Howard is not most goalkeepers. The Colorado Rapids’ (relatively) new man in net jutted out his left hand and punched away the shot. Crisis averted. The stonewalling was one of several spectacular saves Howard made in a 1-1 draw against FC Dallas Saturday night.
“Huge,” defensive midfielder Sam Cronin said of the save made by Howard, who could not be reached for comment after the game. “That’s obviously why he was brought here. To make big saves and keep us in the game.”
Howard’s now logged four games for Colorado since he made his July 4 debut against Portland. The Rapids gave the 37-year-old $8 million over 3 ½ years to return to the United States from Everton in the EPL. If Saturday was any indication, he’s worth the money.
In many ways, Colorado (10-2-8, 38 points) was lucky to earn a tie against FC Dallas (12-6-5, 41 points), the only team ahead of the Rapids in the Western Conference.
Howard bailed Colorado out several times the MLS’s highest-scoring team. There was the one-hander to close the first half, a laser of a volley that Howard rejected in the 61st minute and others.
Even FC Dallas’ lone goal of the night wasn’t really a blemish on Howard’s record. There was nothing he could’ve done about Victor Ulloa’s 82nd-minute strike that looked like a missile as it ripped into the top right corner of the net.
“I think he was world-class,” Rapids coach Pablo Mastroeni said. “He came up trumps three or four times in situations that we really needed. And again, if he has to come up like that, we’re not doing a very good job in front him.”
It’s true that Howard is now in the twilight of his career.
He’s racked up 109 international appearances with the U.S. Men’s National Team. He’s had a wildly successful international career in the EPL that stretched four years with Manchester United and nine with Everton.
But now he’s back on his home country’s soil. And if you needed proof that there’s still plenty of gas left in the tank, look no further than what Howard did Saturday night.