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ASN 100 Update

Silly Season Special: Many Americans on the Move

Liga MX is back—and Club Tijuana features more Americans than ever before. Plus: a cool Jozy GIF, news on Michael Parkhurst, a surprised Shane O'Neill, and much more.

BY Josh Deaver Posted
January 07, 2014
12:24 PM
Jozy Altidore—ASN rank #4
This week, American observers were offered a brief moment’s solace from the perpetual tragedy that is Jozy Altidore-in-Sunderland, as the beleagured striker delivered an assist in the club’s 3-1 FA Cup win over Carlisle. Receiving the ball at the penalty spot, Altidore made a deft turn and slid the ball to El-Hadji Ba who put the match out of reach and advanced the Black Cats. Despite the contribution—his sixth assist on the season—Altidore scuffed two early chances which lead to some less than favorable reviews among the always fair and even-keeled English press. Altidore and Sunderland will line up against Manchester United on Tuesday in the first leg of the Capital One Cup semi-finals.

Clint Dempsey—ASN rank #5
Deuce got the start in the first match of his two-month loan spell with Fulham, going 90 minutes in a 1-1 FA Cup draw with Norwich City on Saturday. It was Dempsey’s first match with the Whites since the Texan—who holds a club record with 60 goals—successfully engineered a move to Tottenham Hotspur in 2012. All (American) eyes will surely be on Dempsey this weekend, as he makes his much-anticipated return to Craven Cottage where Fulham will battle compatriot Jozy Altidore and Sunderland in a vital relegation battle.

Jermaine Jones—ASN rank #10
You can add Jermaine Jones to the list of Americans on the move this winter. The 32-year-old midfielder is reportedly seeking a move from Bundesliga club Schalke, where he has played for seven non-consecutive seasons. On permission from Schalke director Horst Heldt, the hard-tackling midfielder did not travel to the club’s recent training camp in Qatar, rather choosing to remain in Germany in order to find a new club and "assess eventual offers." While MLS is an obvious landing spot, there are a few valid arguments as to why a move may not work.

Mix Diskerud—ASN rank #16
So many grains of salt are needed during this time of year. What exactly am I supposed to do with a few sentences on an Italian website about AS Roma (and Bundesliga side Werder Bremen) possibly being interested in the mop-topped Rosenborg midfielder? I will give you the link, I suppose.

Herculez Gomez—ASN rank #23
There’s only one thing a new Liga MX season means: More Xolos! Club Tijuana kicked off its Clasura campaign on Sunday night, battling Atlas to a scoreless draw. Despite the result, the roster selections of new head coach Cesar Farias should buoy American supporters. Four of the five American Xolos saw the field Sunday night with Gomez, Joe Corona (#31) and Greg Garza (#83) getting starts. Edgar Castillo (#29) entered for Corona in the 71st minute, while Paul Arriola remained on the substitute’s bench. Tijuana meets Club America on Friday night.

Michael Parkhurst—ASN rank #35
The Augsburg nightmare is nearly over for Michael Parkhurst. On the books for the Bundelsiga bottom-dwellers since last January, the 29-year-old defender has only registered two appearances for the club since his arrival. After getting a sustained preseason run for the most recent campaign, Parkhurst has only suited up once this year—a situation which has the former New England Revolution man plotting his exit strategy. According to a German report published Monday morning, Parkhurst will not attend the club’s winter camp and is currently in negotiations to "return home." Whether that portends a move to MLS or the Danish Superliga—where he spent five seasons with FC Nordsjaelland—is currently unknown.

Brek Shea—ASN rank #43
Brek Shea to Barnsley isn’t exactly the type of high-profile move that many American observers would have been hoping for at the start of this transfer window. Regardless, the 22-year-old joined the last-place Championship side this week on an emergency 28-day loan from Stoke City. Getting his name on the team sheet some two hours before Barnsley’s mid-week fixture, Shea got the start and played 75 minutes in a 1-1 draw with Birmingham City. As is the case with most of Shea’s performances, national team or otherwise, opinions and reviews vary wildly. Manager Danny Wilson was complimentary, however, saying, “Brek Shea came into the team and had a fantastic 70 minutes or so." Adding, "He'll be a big threat for us going forward." The Tykes return to league action this weekend against Charlton Athletic.

Chris Klute—ASN rank #60
Congratulations are in order for the 24-year-old defender, who received his first senior national team invitation this week for the annual January training camp. It’s not exactly a surprise given his production last season in MLS—notching eight assists for Colorado Rapids—and the relative dearth at the left back position in the American player pool. His ascent becomes all the more remarkable, however, given that Klute was playing in the NPSL, effectively the fifth division of American soccer, as recently as 2012. Let that sink in for a second.

Oguchi Onyewu—ASN rank #75
Onyewu’s slow, steady fall from grace continues. On Sunday, English Championship side Queens Park Rangers announced it will cut ties with the former Malaga defender. Onyewu only joined the club in October. The move, according to head coach Harry Redknapp, was originally designed to get Onyewu steady minutes ahead of the World Cup, seemingly predicated on the idea that the 31-year-old had an inside track for an invitation to Brazil. Um, no. Now seeking his seventh team since 2009, future prospects are dimming for Onyewu, who has appeared in just 21 competitive matches in the last two years. A move to MLS could be the final chapter in the long career of the venerable center back.

Shane O’Neill—ASN rank #87
One of several surprise selections for Jugen Klinsmann’s January national team camp was 20-year-old Colorado Rapids defender Shane O’Neill. In an interview with MLSSoccer.com, O’Neill, who represented the U.S. under-20 national team at last summer’s World Cup and recently returned from a training stint with EPL side Fulham, expressed his surprise in receiving the invitation. “I was pretty shocked,” the versatile defender said. “Obviously, just to get the opportunity to play at this level is fantastic wherever they want to play me.” Despite the invite, O’Neill is still not closing the door on the possibility of representing Ireland, for which he holds dual-citizenship.

Duane Holmes—ASN rank #97
In his short time with Championship side Huddersfield Town, Atlanta-born teenager Duane Holmes has been a hit for the Terriers. Lauded by the manager and fans alike, Holmes has made his presence felt primarily as a late-match substitute. On Saturday, in a rare televised appearance, Holmes once again showed he can be a difference maker. He played 32 minutes and sparked the club to a 3-2 come-from-behind win over Grimsby Town. In the 86th minute, Holmes cracked a shot with pace from outside of the box, forcing the Grimsby keeper to parry the effort, only for it to fall in the path of teammate Martin Patterson, who finished coolly. Huddersfield, currently sitting 13th on the table, battle Millwall on Saturday.

ASN Contributing Editor Josh Deaver is a former academic turned soccer obsessive. Follow him on Twitter already.

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