IRENE, South Africa - Relax, U.S. fans. Tim Howard should be in goal Friday against Slovenia.

Howard is expected to play after U.S. team medical staff examined him yesterday and decided no further tests were needed on his bruised ribs. Howard is making "substantial improvement" following a collision with Emile Heskey in Saturday night's 1-1 draw against England, U.S. Soccer said in a statement.

It seemed unlikely Howard would miss the key game against Group C leader Slovenia, considering he earned man of the match honors after Heskey slammed into him feetfirst at full speed in the 29th minute. But there was some concern Sunday that Howard's ribs might be broken, not just bruised, and U.S. coach Bob Bradley said he would re-evaluate his goalkeeper's status.

News that Howard will play is sure to give a boost to the Americans, who are tied with England for second place in Group C.