ASN 100 Roundup
Omar Soars; Terrence Scores; and Benny Set to Jet
The December ASN 100 launched on the first of the month, and there was plenty of weekend action featuring the top American players. Josh Deaver's video-laden report will get you up to speed.
BY Josh Deaver PostedClint Dempsey—ASN rank #2
December 03, 2012
December 03, 2012
Once the Texan completed his summer transfer to Tottenham Hotspur, this past week of fixtures became must-watch affairs. On Wednesday, Dempsey started and played 64 minutes in a 2-1 win over Liverpool, the club which famously low-balled him after months of negotiation and courtship. On Saturday, Dempsey returned to Craven Cottage to face his former club, Fulham, for the first time since his contentious and acrimonious exit. Prior to the match, Dempsey told the Daily Mail that he “didn’t feel valued and appreciated” in his final months at Fulham, which prompted his decision to leave. Although Dempsey was booed mercilessly whenever he received the ball, he did assist on Jermain Defoe's 77th-minute strike in a decisive 3-0 win for Spurs. Geoff Cameron—ASN rank #7
While Cameron has quickly engrained himself into the central defense of the U.S lineup, he has yet to feature in that position at the club level for Stoke City. Since moving from the MLS, Cameron has been primarily deployed as a right back or defensive midfielder, however for both Stoke fixtures this week Cameron featured on the left side of defense. Cameron started and played 90 minutes in a 2-1 Wednesday victory over Newcastle and a 1-0 win on Saturday against West Brom. After a poor start to the season, Stoke is now unbeaten in 5 games and has climbed into the top half of the Premier League table. Terrence Boyd—ASN rank #15
Another week, another round of Terrence Boyd highlights. The German-American added to his already stellar season with another goal and two assists in a Saturday league fixture against Reid. In the 25th minute, Boyd snuck into the box unmarked and put home a corner kick for his 8th league goal of the campaign. Level at 1-1 in the first half; Boyd helped pull the home side ahead with a headed assist right on the stroke of half time. In the 80th minute, Boyd added his second assist of the game when he delivered a clever chip pass that was buried for the eventual game winner. Omar Gonzalez—ASN rank #20
In a MLS Cup dominated by headlines about David Beckham and Landon Donovan, it was the L.A. Galaxy defender who stole the spotlight on Saturday. Following the 3-1 win over Houston, Gonzalez was named 2012 MLS Cup MVP after putting in a dominant defensive shift and scoring the equalizing goal off a 60th minute header. Less than a year after a horrific ACL injury, and only five months since returning to the field, Gonzalez has regained his top form in time for what could be his first substantial run with the U.S National Team. Joe Corona—ASN rank #30
As improbable as it was historic, Club Tijuana captured the Liga MX Apertura title on Sunday with a 2-0 second leg victory over top seeded Toluca. After only 18 months in the Mexican top flight, the Xolos are the quickest team to ever win a Mexican league title after being promoted. In Wednesday’s first leg, recently capped midfielder Joe Corona played 72 minutes and assisted on the eventual game winner in a 2-1 victory. On Sunday, Corona once again started and played 67 minutes. Defender Edgar Castillo started and played 90 minutes in both matches. Eric Lichaj—ASN rank #34
Although his production has been inconsistent, with injuries hampering the backline for Aston Villa, the Chicago-born fullback continues to get opportunities to prove that he belongs on a full strength starting XI. After Enda Stevens went down early in the first half of Tuesday’s fixture against Reading, Lichaj was subbed on and played the remaining 76 minutes in a 1-0 win. On Saturday, Lichaj registered his first league start since late September, playing 90 minutes in a 1-1 draw with QPR. Seb Hines—ASN rank #57
His play might not always be eye-catching, but the 24-year old English-American defender is quietly putting together a successful year. Starting 7 of the last 8 league games, Hines has played a crucial role for Middlesbrough, who are currently sitting fourth in the Championship and pushing toward promotion. During a busy European week, Hines started and played 90 minutes in a 3-0 win versus Huddersfield on Tuesday and a 3-2 loss to Birmingham City on Saturday. In a recent ASN feature, Hines reiterated his desire to play for the U.S national team, stating he would have no problem filing a one-time international switch. While he has never featured for the U.S., concern over the lack of depth at centerback could pave the way for his inclusion during 2013. Benny Feilhaber—ASN rank #58
After only one goal and two assists in 2013 for a dreadful New England Revolution, the club has decided not to pick up Feilhaber’s 2013 contract option, leaving him without a team going into the offseason. To continue with MLS, interested clubs would have to trade for his rights, which are still held by New England and could be cost prohibitive for many teams based on his large contract. The 27-year old is now likely to pursue European options but, at this point, what will be available? Aron Johannsson—ASN rank #62
Since it was discovered that the Icelandic striker, currently the second leading scorer in the Danish SuperLiga, could be eligible to play for the U.S national team, there has been a tidal wave of hype and anticipation. While many hope that Johannsson could eventually find his way into the U.S fold, an interview given to ESPN Magazine this week may temper those expectations. Among many topics discussed, Johannsson revealed that he would have accepted a recent callup for Iceland, making him ineligible for the U.S duty, had it not been for injury. While he acknowledges that playing under Jurgen Klinsmann would be a prudent career move, it would appear the Aarhus striker is still leaning toward representing Iceland.
Zak Whitbread—ASN rank #66
The English-American defender is having an excellent, and most-importantly, injury-free season. Playing for Leicester City, Whitbread has been a regular starter for the club who is currently sitting third in the Championship table. In a 4-1 victory over Derby County on Sunday, Whitbread got the start and scored his first goal of the season when he headed home a corner kick in the 6th minute. Andrew Wooten—ASN rank #89
On Wednesday, the former U-23 striker was given a rare start for 2.Bundesliga side Sandhausen, scoring 2 goals in a 3-1 victory over Energie Cottbus. After converting a 59th minute penalty, Wooten had his second attempt from the spot blocked in the 66th minute, before following up on the rebound for his second of the day. Josh Deaver is a former academic turned soccer obsessive. Follow him @USFootballGuy for daily updates.