In a tuneup for their World Cup qualifying matches against Trinidad & Tobago and Mexico, the U.S. Men’s National Team tied Venezuela 1-1 on Saturday night. After Venezuela scored the match’s opening goal in the 29th minute, Christian Pulisic knotted the game in the 61st minute to give the USMNT the draw.

But it was a pair of Tim Howard saves just minutes after Venezuela’s goal that kept the USMNT within striking distance for the remainder of the match. Colorado Rapids legend Marcelo Balboa joined Darren Copeland on From the Pitch on Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7 to discuss Howard’s heroics.

“Let’s be honest, if it wasn’t for Tim Howard making two – I don’t know what you want to say, you can’t say world class because it was better than that – saves that he makes in the first half, U.S. could have been down 2-0, 3-0.”

The first of the two saves came in the 33rd minute as Howard dove up and to his left to deflect a deep shot off the foot of a Venzuelan striker. Just one minute later, Howard’s reactions were once again tested off a set piece. A corner kick found its way into the box and was headed to the back of the net before Howard strongly dove to the bottom right post to prevent another goal.

“To be able to go that low and not get your hand pushed back into the goal [was incredible],” Balboa said. “His lateral movement and reactions are spectacular. So when you have a guy like that that takes care of his body, of course he’s going to stay at the top of his game. It was ridiculous to see him make those two saves.”

The 36-year-old Howard is still at the peak of his game. Rather than fade with age, Howard has been able to consistently perform at a top level, making him one of the most recognizable faces of U.S. soccer.

As the current goalkeeper of the Rapids, fans in Colorado may be more familiar with Howard’s game. Regardless of their professional ties, Balboa believes that soccer fans in general will always pull for Howard.

“U.S. fans in general are excited to see a goalkeeper make those kinds of saves. You have to make those saves in order to give yourself a chance in the World Cup. To be honest with you, I think if you’re a New York Red Bulls fan, you’re a fan of Tim Howard because he represents the United States.”

Listen to the full discussion with Balboa, including his full analysis of the USMNT’s performance in the friendly, in the podcast below.

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