Howard focused ahead of Brazil clash
By Chris Bergin (ussocceruk.com)
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The New Jersey/New York MetroStars keeper was in fine form against Turkey, as a slightly below-par showing from the US saw them lose only their second international of the year, 2-1, in their opening match in France.
With his high-profile offer of a four-year deal at Manchester United seeing the keeper enjoy large publicity and interest, Howard noted that he is taking it all in his stride, as he prepares for the crucial group match against the world champions.
"I can understand why people would think that, but if you allow it to affect you, it could hurt your performance on the field," said Howard.
"I'm very focused on trying to play well every game for this team."
US manager Bruce Arena, who was disappointed with the performance of the team against Turkey, is eagerly awaiting what is traditionally a tight match against Brazil.
One goal has separated the two nations in the majority of their recent matches, with the States famously beating Brazil 1-0 thanks to an amazing performance by keeper Kasey Keller in the 90s, while also being knocked out in the second round in USA '94 by just a single goal by the team that went on to win the World Cup.
"There are some new faces. However, I will tell you that they have some outstanding players in every position," noted Arena.
"You have Ronaldinho as an attacking player, you have Emerson in the midfield, Lucio as a defender and Dida in goal.
"Right there are four outstanding players in the middle of the field. It's a very good team and it will be interesting to see them play."
Should the US lose against Brazil on Saturday night it will be the first time they have failed to reach the final four in the Confederations Cup.
A draw or a win would see them battling it out with Cameroon for a semi-final berth.