As 2014 winds to a close, looks back at the stories that made the year memorable. Producer Shane McNeil reflects on Tim Howard stopping everything in sight.

Originally published on – December 24, 2014.

Tim Howard just won’t stop

Tim Howard earned a name for himself as the Americans’ savior during the 2014 World Cup with an almost-unfathomable 16 saves in the team’s quarter-final loss to Belgium.

Howard broke a tournament record over his two hours on the pitch in the game that ultimately eliminated the Americans. The performance earned the 35-year-old Everton man the adulation of a nation and even a shout-out from President Barack Obama in a post-game phone call.

Missed the game? Here’s a handy recap.

But here’s the funny thing about that game … of all the saves Howard made, his best of the tournament was not among them. That status belongs to what should have been a back-of-the-net blunder against Portugal.

Howard gets a hand to Nani’s shot from distance, but in-doing so fails to put the ball out of play, or even out of harm. Instead, it goes off the woodwork and on to the boot of Eder. The follow-up shot is actually mishit, which forces Howard past the trajectory of the ball, but Howard reaches out a palm as he’s fading away and parries the ball over the bar.

Even Howard recognizes afterwards that that ball should’ve gone in.