Is there a Curse of Brad Friedel, and does Tim Howard have it?

Allow me to posit a theory that I’ll admit isn’t true. Well, probably isn’t true, because if I squint until my eyelids start flickering (because you’re not supposed to squint for too long), I can actually, physically see the convergence of karma and circumstance as a kind of Curse of Brad Friedel, something the now-injured Tim Howard may have inflicted upon himself.

The Everton No. 1 has had a slew of No. 2 moments this season, a harsh regression to the mean after a stellar 2013-14 campaign. Coming off a season in which his team allowed just over a goal per game (39 in 38 league contests), Howard won international fame for inducing Belgian shots in his direction at the World Cup, the high point in a year that’s culminated with Everton allowing 31 goals in its first 19 Premier League games this season. Now sidelined for up to six weeks with a calf injury, the U.S. 2018 World Cup aspirant will have some time to think about his recent struggles.

When that thought process starts, will Timmy jump back to Dec. 3, the day an excerpt from his book accused Friedel of trying to sabotage his move to Manchester United. Friedel denied it, England rebuked it and Howard’s backtracked, but he also didn’t apologize, meaning karma may still be in play. In theory, that cosmic force of passive aggressive bullshit may be why Howard hasn’t kept a clean sheet since Dec. 3. Why he has allowed nine goals in his last five Premier League games, while Everton’s only won once.

And Howard’s now injured. Coincidence? Almost definitely, but it’d be insulting to centuries of village shamans and new age hucksters to ignore the possibility of spiritual retribution. Surely the energy Howard put out into the world is coming back to bite him in the ass?

Probably not. Howard’s had a dip, then some bad luck, then the misfortune of having some smart-ass blogger link those both to his book. It’d have still been nice if he apologized to Friedel, though.

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