But he couldn't save the day for Team USA.
Kevin DeBruyne and Romelu Lukaku scored goals in the first 15 minutes of extra time and the Belgians advance to the quarters against Argentina with a 2-1 win.
""It's heartbreaking," Howard said, choking back tears. "What a great game of football. We left it all out there."
The gritty Americans fought to the last, making it interesting with a nifty goal by 19-year old Julian Green in the second extra 15-minute period.
The US (www.ussoccer.com) cobbled together a few chances to tie it up late in those last precious minutes.
In point of fact, despite being totally outplayed in the two halves, the Americans could have walked away victorious.
Chris Wondolowski had a great chance at the apron skip off to the right in the final minute.
There were huge viewing parties in stadiums all over the country as World Cup fever went into overdrive like never before in recent memory.
What this all means as far as growing the popularity of the planet's favorite sport here in this country remains to be seen.
Every cycle, it seems, the decibel level raises up a notch.
And the millennials have taken to soccer like no other generation in recent memory.
Team USA head coach Jurgen Klinsmann had his team in position to advance.
If not for a couple of defensive lapses and late-game fatigue, it could have been a different story.
It's a good bet that he will be kept on at the helm as the Americans try to break into a more formidable position in the global game.