Yesterday Ives Galarcep let loose the nugget that legendary USMNT goalkeeper Tim Howard was considering joining Atlanta United in 2017. The story goes that the United States international was eager to join up with his good buddy and former teammate Carlos Bocanegra, AUFC's technical director, at the expansion club when they begin in MLS.
Thankfully it appears that the Colorado Rapids have beaten Atlanta United to the punch and will bring Howard to MLS in May of this year instead.
There's no doubt that Tim Howard is a big name and a recognizable one to nearly every American soccer fan. It's a natural response to think: "Hey, I know that player and like him. He'd be a great signing for my team!"
Unfortunately soccer, and especially MLS, just doesn't work that way. Roster and salary restrictions require clubs to be very careful and particular about how they build their teams. Would Tim Howard be a good signing if all things were equal and those restrictions weren't in place? Sure. That's just not the case.
Clubs are limited to three Designated Players, with a certain amount of Targeted Allocation Money to buy down other contracts so they don't qualify as DP's. Howard will reportedly be making between $2-3 Million with Colorado. There's not enough TAM to go around to possibly buy his contract down, so he's guaranteed to take up a DP slot.
It's just not a smart idea for an MLS team to waste a valuable DP slot on a goalkeeper. Frankly, the position just isn't important enough to waste money on. A competent goalkeeper is all you need to survive in MLS. There are plenty of those around the league that can be had for peanuts. Spending millions of dollars a year on a goalkeeper is a terrible strategy when attacking players and midfielders are exponentially more impactful to a team's success in the league.
Without even mentioning the fact that he's regressing in form as he gets older or that he'd block the club's first ever signing Alex Tambakis, this signing just wouldn't have made sense financially.
It's okay to love Tim Howard. It's even okay to want him on your team. But logic tells us that it's not worth the money or the hassle, no matter how much of an attractive name he may be. That money would be more wisely spent elsewhere.