Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard hoping for a visit from Roster Claus
Dempsey and Franchino, teammates on the Revolution, scuffled during an intrasquad scrimmage March 13.
"I just got a blatant elbow to the face and I confronted him about it and he turned around and he popped me," said Franchino, captain of the Major League Soccer team and another intense player.
After the punch, they went to the ground and kept grappling before teammates separated them.
This little punch to the face cost Dempsey a pre-trip to Germany when the US lost to the Germans back in March. That was a costly match for him to miss as he probably would have started. Bruce did welcome him back to camp for Jamaica, but not as a starter (actually, he only went in due to Steve Ralston injuring his groin).
Thankfully it appears Dempsey has worked to patch things up with Franchino as he had kind words for him after their opening victory over LA and ate with him after their last game against KC. Bruce doesn't like players that make trouble. If Dempsey gets one of those German tickets on Tuesday, it's because he proved that he is not a bad kid on the playground.
Someone who doesn't really need to worry about getting one of those tickets is Tim Howard as he is all but a lock as a backup goaltender. However, in an odd twist, his main concern is just getting playing time at the club level.
When Manchester United signed Dutch goalkeeper Edwin Van Der Sar last summer, Howard figured he'd have a tough time beating out the veteran star for the starting spot. However, he thought he at least would have the opportunity to get a good number of games, considering the large number of competitions the club would be involved in.
It didn't quite work out that way, though. An early Champions League exit was followed by a relatively quick departure from the FA Cup, leaving Manchester United with fewer matches and Howard fewer chances to get on the field. Heading into this weekend, Howard has played just 45 minutes of English Premier League action and had a paltry seven appearances in all competitions.
It is strange that the man that is considered the future goalie for the US national team cannot get club minutes. It's not that he isn't good, it's just that Man United has the luxury of having a top quality keeper as their backup, and since his contract with the Red Devils lasts through next year, his options are either to play on loan to another club or beat out Van Der Sar for the top spot.
Howard still has the inside track on 2010, but only if his minutes increase drastically over the next year or so.