JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Brad Guzan has been in this position before.
A few times, too.
So sitting behind U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard and waiting patiently for a chance to play is nothing new for the 29-year-old Illinois native. But that doesn’t mean Guzan is content with his second-string spot on the U.S. national team.
“It’s not ideal, obviously, when you’re not playing,” Guzan said Thursday as the Americans continued preparations for their World Cup send-off series finale against Nigeria. “Everyone wants to play. It’s probably a little bit more of a difficult situation for a goalkeeper just because we know only one of us can play.
“It becomes a bit tricky, but at the same time, you always have to be prepared because you get judged on your performance. And if you get called into a game in the fifth minute or the 95th minute, you have to be ready to step in and do a job.”
Guzan has spent more than his fair share in someone’s shadow.
He was a backup for most of four seasons (2008-12) for Aston Villa in the English Premier League, a sometimes frustrating experience that often tested his perseverance. Still, he stayed positive while learning behind fellow American Brad Friedel.
He made one appearance in his first three years with Villa. He experienced some success by leading Villa to the League Cup final against Manchester United in 2010 only to be replaced by Friedel in the final.
Guzan was loaned to Hull City the following year and played in the second-tier League Championship for three months before returning to Hull’s bench for the final month of the season. When Friedel left for Tottenham after the 2011 season, Guzan figured he would get a promotion.
It didn’t happen. Villa signed veteran keeper Shay Given.