Timmy 070214

Tim Howard did all he could to save the United States in a 2-1 loss to Belgium. Credit Jamie Mcdonald/Getty Images (NYT)

“Serious stuff. Howard did all he could to save his team in a 2-1 loss to Belgium, but he may ultimately have a much larger role: as a game-changer for soccer in the United States.

“Why? The answer is simple. Timothy Matthew Howard, a 35-year-old keeper from central New Jersey and a son of a truck driver, elicited more cheers than perhaps any other player in this World Cup for single-handedly holding off Belgium for most of the game. At a basic level, he was out there on his own, sacrificing his body to protect his country’s team when the other lines of defense had caved in.

“Howard could have stopped Diego Maradona’s Hand of God goal during the 1986 World Cup. He could have kept Luis Suárez from taking a bite out of Giorgio Chiellini’s shoulder. He could have saved Bambi’s mother from dying, or Simba’s father in “The Lion King,” or the Titanic from sinking, or the movie rental company Blockbuster from falling into bankruptcy. He could have spared dinosaurs from extinction by batting away a giant meteor.

“He could have saved your parents’ marriage.