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Brad Guzan leaving Aston Villa; helps U.S. cause

Bolton Wanderers v Aston Villa - Premier League

BOLTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 10: Brad Guzan of Aston Villa gestures during the Barclays Premier League match between Bolton Wanderers and Aston Villa at Reebok Stadium on December 10, 2011 in Bolton, England. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)

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An inconvenient truth regarding the gold-standard stable U.S. goalkeeping situation: trusty Tim Howard won’t be around forever.

Howard is only 33, so the 2014 World Cup is safe, and quite possibly beyond.

But eventually an understudy will be promoted into the top spot. Yes, there is a whole classroom full of young up-and-comers, Bill Hamid, Sean Johnson and Ryan Meara just to name three. Dan Kennedy and Tally Hall, slightly older but plausibly able to make the international jump, are options as well.

Still, the need exists for someone handy of glove to be at the ready in event of injury, or for the day Howard commits 100 percent focus to his remaining club days.

All of that is why today’s news involving Brad Guzan is good for the U.S. cause.

Guzan says he is leaving Aston Villa in pursuit of a first-team spot. It doesn’t look like Shay Given is going anywhere, so Guzan has opted out of Villa Park, set to change addresses in the summer transfer window.

Guzan, in the running with Real Salt Lake’s Nick Rimando for current U.S. backup, proved his worth as a potential starter during a successful seven-game winter run while Given was injured.

To be the best he can be in U.S. goal, Guzan needs to be a starter. Somewhere. And it looks like he just took a step in that direction.