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- DOB January 19, 1985
- Age 29
- Place of birth Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- POSITION Midfielder
- HEIGHT 5'9"
- WEIGHT 150
- U.S. CAPS 41
- CLUB Sporting KC
- TWITTER @b_feilhaber22 (138K followers)
- Current ASN 100 Rank 37
- Previous ASN 100 Rank 42
If you want to catch a glimpse of Benny Feilhaber’s considerable talent, take another look at the U.S.’s 2-0 victory over Spain in the 2009 Confederations Cup.
In a sequence that showcased both his technical ability and vision, Feilhaber danced past four Spanish defenders, found Landon Donovan on the right flank, and delivered a perfectly weighted pass. Donovan crossed the ball in and Clint Dempsey scored the subsequent goal, but it was Feilhaber who created the opportunity out of nothing. The Brazilian-born midfielder made that goal.
Unfortunately for Feilhaber, magical moments like that one have been few and far between in recent years. Despite his technical gifts, his offensive mindset, and his considerable international experience (39 caps), Feilhaber remains on the outskirts of the U.S. national team. The player who logged 681 minutes with the U.S. senior side in 2009 and played in three World Cup matches in 2010 has seen just 61 minutes of action since the start of 2011—and those were B team matches.
One key reason: Feilhaber is too easily dispossessed. He knows what to do with the ball, but he's not always strong on the ball. Key turnovers in the center of midfield have haunted the U.S. national team for years, and Feilhaber is part of this unhappy tradition. Given Jurgen Klinsmann’s emphasis on possession play, Feilhaber has plenty of work to do before he finds himself back in the starting XI.
Might he work his way back into the U.S. mix? Absolutely. The UCLA graduate’s international pedigree includes stints in the German Bundesliga (Hamburger), English Premier League (Derby County), and Danish Superliga (AGF Aarhus), where he learned to fight every day to win playing time. Now with the New England Revolution, Feilhaber is establishing himself as a first-team regular who has shown flashes of brilliance (and yes, a fair share of uneven performances too).
The next item on Feilhaber’s to-do list? He needs to develop the sort of consistency that will compel Klinsmann to keep him in the mix as the 2014 World Cup approaches.—JOHN GODFREY
Noteworthy ReadsNew England Signs Benny Feilhaber (MLSSoccer.com)
Feilhaber Going with the Flow (Boston.com)