HARRISON, N.J. (AP) — Colorado goalkeeper Tim Howard returned from leg surgery in November, allowing an own goal in the 45th minute Saturday in the Rapids' 1-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls.
Howard, the U.S. starter at the last two World Cups, was hurt Nov. 11 during the first half of the Americans' World Cup qualifier against Mexico, a 2-1 loss. He was diagnosed with an injured adductor muscle in his right thigh and had surgery Nov. 17.
Still in the final stages of his recovery, he missed the Rapids' opening 1-0 win over New England on March 4.
Playing five days after his 38th birthday, Howard was tested quickly and made a leg save on an open 10-yard shot by reigning Major League Soccer scoring champion Bradley Wright-Phillips in the second minute. Howard then made a sliding stop on Wright-Phillips in the 23rd.
New York scored when a cross deflected off Colorado defender Eric Miller. Howard had seven saves in all.
U.S. coach Bruce Arena, who replaced Jurgen Klinsmann after losses to Mexico and Costa Rica in November, said that if Howard returned in time he would consider the goalkeeper for his roster for World Cup qualifiers against Honduras on March 24 and at Panama four days later. Middlesbrough's Brad Guzan and Howard have split time as the No. 1 American goalkeeper since the last World Cup.
New York's Luis Robles made one save in his MLS record-setting 143rd consecutive start, one more than midfielder Chris Klein from 2005-09. Robles' streak started on Sept. 29, 2012.
The Red Bulls (2-0) are unbeaten in 18 straight regular-season MLS matches (11 wins, 7 draws), one shy of the league record set by Columbus from 2004-05. The Rapids (1-1) allowed 32 goals last season, the league's fewest.