ASN’s Hot or Not is back with a vengeance. From Geoff Cameron to Julian Green to Maurice Edu, Josh Deaver's weekly dispatch will help you track U.S.-eligible players as they rise and fall.
January 10, 2014
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—Well, look who all of a sudden might be the best American field player in Europe today. With Dempsey and Bradley returning stateside and Jozy Altidore struggling, Cameron is now a de facto flag bearer for Americans abroad. Acceptant of his fate as the incumbent right back for Stoke City, Cameron has upped his game recently, looking as if he has all but locked up his ticket for Brazil. Even during the jam-packed Christmas calendar, he was an every-match starter for the Potters. Though the league results weren’t optimal, the squad have steadily lived up to its mid-table expectations. And the Potters advanced to the next round of the FA Cup by virtue of a 2-1 win over Leicester City on Saturday. A big test awaits Cameron this weekend with Luis Suarez and the dynamic attack of Liverpool visiting the Britannia Stadium. Stay tuned.
—Having never competed for the U.S., Georgia-born Duane Holmes didn’t exactly set the American soccer world alight when he signed a professional contract with Huddersfield Town in April. Now with a visible presence in the English Championship—joining national team veterans like Danny Williams and Tim Ream—his stock has increased exponentially in no time flat. With the Terriers since the U-9 level, the 19-year-old has just begun to crack the first-team lineup, showcasing his skills in an ongoing series of effective cameo performances. In FA Cup action over the weekend, Holmes provided a definite spark, helping set up the game’s winning goal in a 3-2 come-from-behind win over scrappy Grimsby Town. Despite considerable excitement, Manager Mark Robins has warned fans
not to attach lofty expectations to the young Holmes, but the horse may already be out of the barn on that one.
—Still undecided on his national team career, the Bayern Munich wunderkind continues to display why he is so highly coveted. Currently with the Bavarians’ first team during the Bundesliga break, Green got the start Thursday in a friendly against Sudanese club Al-Merreikh, playing 45 minutes and scoring the eventual game winner in a 2-0 win (He nearly had another
, but it was cleared off the line). Though it wasn’t Green’s first minutes—or goal—with the senior team, this occasion feels different from the success he enjoyed in preseason. To go along with reports this week
that Green may be in line for increased time under Pep Guardiola when the German season resumes, his stock is clearly pointing skyward. With Green’s Bundesliga debut imminent, will Klinsmann make one last run at securing the services of the young attacker? A ticket to Brazil, or at least the opportunity to earn one, may prove enticing.
This is as good a time as any to give a little love to the American youth players who have shined over the past few weeks. While Jozy Altidore is struggling for the Sunderland senior team, California-born forward Lynden Gooch
is lighting up the stat sheet for the Black Cats’ U-18 squad. Picking up nine goals
and nine assists in 18 league matches, Gooch is at least partly responsible for more than half of the Sunderland youth team’s goals this season.
Down in Merseyside, U.S. U-17 midfielder and Real Salt Lake academy product Brooks Lennon
got off on the right foot during his second training stint with the Liverpool youth academy this week. In a friendly against Malaysian side Frenz United, Lennon bagged a brace
for the Reds in a 3-1 win.
Moving over to Germany, U-20 midfielder Junior Flores
cannot officially sign with Borussia Dortmund until March, but will join up with the Dortmund reserves
this week for training.
There are several Americans who currently find themselves in dead-end club situations, desperately seeking refuge during the ongoing transfer window. Augsburg’s Michael Parkhurst
and QPR’s Oguchi Onyewu
top this list. While neither exactly had an inside track for a ticket to Brazil, their lack of playing time nearly eliminates them from even the most peripheral look at the American player pool.
Out at Kaiserslautern after a disappointing season
, former U-23 forward Andrew Wooten
is also looking for a new home.
And don’t forget Maurice Edu
, who, for all I can tell, may no longer be playing soccer.
—Having nothing to do with form, Brooks is riding a string of nagging injuries which have effectively kept him from the Hertha Berlin first team for the better part of three months. While the knocks are nothing major, a recent knee sprain sustained during Hertha’s winter camp will keep Brooks out of action for another two weeks. The news is bad timing for Brooks. After rehabbing, the 20-year-old defender will be under the gun to not only regain his position at Hertha, but also to try to earn a World Cup spot under Jurgen Klinsmann as well. It won’t be easy.
Thoughts? Complaints? Amplifications? The comments section is open for business.
ASN Contributing Editor Josh Deaver is a former academic turned soccer obsessive. Follow him on Twitter already.