Oct. 7, 2012, marked the end of an era, not only for one of the United States' most decorated players of all-time, but for England's Premier League as a whole.
Brad Friedel's record streak of 310 consecutive starts in the Premier League came to an abrupt end Sunday, as Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas opted to start Hugo Lloris in goal for Spurs' match against Aston Villa, handing the France No. 1 his league debut. Lloris had handled cup competition, which has become the norm for Friedel's backups in recent years.
Friedel's streak dated back to 2004, when he played for Blackburn, and it spanned stints with Rovers, Liverpool, Aston Villa and Tottenham. Ironically, the streak came to an end with American Brad Guzan, who had praised Friedel in the build-up to the match for his mentorship when he backed up the veteran at Aston Villa, starting in the opposing goal.
The 41-year-old Friedel had been in fine form for Tottenham, failing to give Villas-Boas reasonable cause to bench him because of his play. The club was 3-1-2 with him in goal, including Spurs' first win against Manchester United at Old Trafford in 23 years. There had been no official word of an injury to Friedel or any indication that he would be benched prior to the match, either, making it appear as if Villas-Boas opted for Lloris as a personal decision.
Villas-Boas had come under heat from France coach Didier Deschamps for refusing to play Lloris, a summer transfer window acquisition from Lyon that cost Tottenham 8 million pounds. Villas-Boas and Friedel also drew criticism from former French goalkeeper Fabian Barthez, whom Friedel called "ignorant" and "disrespectful" via Twitter for his remarks about the Tottenham goalkeeping situation.