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ASN 100 Update

Altidore, Zusi, and Magee Shine; Bocanegra Struggles

While U.S. attacking players enjoyed some fine performances over the last week, defense continues to be a concern. Carlos Bocanegra and Geoff Cameron both watched from the bench this weekend.
BY Josh Deaver Posted
March 04, 2013
9:27 AM
The March 2013 ASN 100 is now live, and well worth a look. Jozy Altidore moved up—as might be expected—and is within striking distance of the No. 1 spot. Graham Zusi cracked the Top 10 for the first time. And U-20 spark plug Benji Joya made the list, albeit barely.

Special thanks to the folks who work hard to craft a fresh ranking every month, including: Jon Arnold, Jimmy Conrad, Jason Davis, Noah Davis, Jared DuBois, Alexi Lalas, Ryan O'Hanlon, Brian Sciaretta, and Grant Wahl.

Jozy Altidore—ASN rank #3
What’s left to say about Altidore? He is on absolute fire. Altidore continued his unprecedented form this week, scoring twice for AZ Alkmaar in a 3-0 Cup win over Ajax before adding another on Sunday in a 2-1 loss to RKC Waalwijk. With the third goal, Altidore pushes his season total to 24 in all competitions, surpassing Clint Dempsey’s 2011 mark of 23 for most goals scored by an American in Europe. Altidore will undoubtedly move in the summer transfer window, but until then AZ continues to slip in the table and is only three points clear of the relegation playoff battle in the Eredivisie.
Tim Howard—ASN rank #4
Only two matches shy of breaking an Everton club record for consecutive appearances, Tim Howard was forced to sit on Saturday in the Toffees’ 3-1 win over Reading. After a picking up a knock in a midweek FA Cup win over Oldham, the U.S. No. 1 keeper missed his first start for the club since the 2007 season. The streak, ending at 210 games, was the second longest in the Premier League era, behind the record of 310 set by fellow American goalkeeper Brad Friedel.

Graham Zusi—ASN rank #9
In Sporting Kansas City’s season opener Zusi demonstrated exactly why he has enjoyed so much time with the U.S. national team in the last year. Although SKC struggled, Zusi’s quality showed through, playing 90 minutes while scoring a goal and picking up an assist in the 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Union. Zusi also had his hand in the team’s third goal, facilitated by an excellent cross into the box which was Claudio Bieler converted. With the next round of World Cup qualifiers fast approaching, the 26-year old should be an automatic selection for U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. Herculez Gomez—ASN rank #12
Starting up front for Santos Laguna on Friday, Gomez played 74 minutes, scored two goals, and picked up an assist in a 3-1 victory over Jaguares. All three goals came in a seven-minute burst early in the first half. After scoring the opening goal and assisting on the game winner, Gomez netted his second in the 21st minute, coolly going between the legs of a defender at the top of the box before slotting it past the diving goalkeeper. Sacha Kljestan—ASN rank #13
In a vital clash at the top of the Belgian Super League table, Kljestan started and played 90 minutes for Anderlecht in a 1-0 to loss to Zulte-Waregem on Wednesday. While the Purple and White once held a comfortable advantage, their lead has been cut to only three points following the defeat—its first loss since November. Kljestan was an unused substitute for Anderlecht in its disappointing 1-0 Belgian Cup loss to Genk on Saturday.

Carlos Bocanegra—ASN rank #19
U.S. national team captain Carlos Bocanegra was once again an unused substitute for Racing Santander on Sunday, which lost 2-0 to Numancia in Spanish Second Division action. In what has become a disconcerting trend, Bocanegra has not featured for the squad in more than a month. With two World Cup qualifiers scheduled later this month, Bocanegra is in danger of losing his starting spot once again to Omar Gonzalez.

Stuart Holden—ASN rank #26
In his first league appearance in more than 700 days, on Tuesday Stuart Holden came on as an early substitute for Bolton Wanderers, playing 66 minutes in a 1-0 win over Peterborough United. Holden entered for an injured Mark Davies to put in an efficient, albeit rusty, shift in his return to Championship play. Holden will need more time if he is to work his way back into the starting lineup, but seems well on his way to a full recovery. On Saturday, Holden made the game day roster but was an unused substitute in Bolton’s 3-2 victory over Barnsley.

Edgar Castillo—ASN rank #29
He may be in the top form of his career, but it appears Edgar Castillo will be forced to miss some time for Club Tijuana. In Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Atlas, Castillo reportedly suffered multiple fractures in his right cheek bone and will be forced to undergo surgery, missing an undisclosed amount of time. Castillo apparently suffered the injury early in the first half but continued on, playing 90 minutes in the loss. Clarence Goodson—ASN rank #31
On Sunday, Goodson started the second half of the Danish season on the bench for Brondby, but was subbed in following an early red card and injury. He played 80 minutes in the 2-0 loss to Randers. The veteran centerback has been struggling for playing time and, much like Bocanegra, if he cannot find frequent minutes for his club, he could find himself falling even further down the U.S depth chart.

Jay DeMerit—ASN rank #40
Just minutes into the Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0 home victory over Toronto FC, defender Jay DeMerit was carried off with what looked to be an injury to his left foot. While the official prognosis is currently unknown, the World Cup veteran battled problems with Achilles tendinitis during the preseason. Regardless, it appears it could be serious blow to the Whitecaps captain. “Things aren’t looking good, unfortunately,” DeMerit tweeted following the match.

John Anthony Brooks—ASN rank #70
With a busy year ahead for the U.S men’s national team, Hertha Berlin defender John Anthony Brooks is getting a closer look from U.S soccer. Scouts were on hand Monday night to watch the six-foot-seven German-American start and play 90 minutes in a 1-0 victory over Kaiserslautern. The win put Hertha at the top of the 2.Bundesliga table, where it remains 12 points clear of third place and likely to be promoted. On Sunday, Brooks again played 90 minutes in a disappointing 1-0 loss to Dynamo Dresden while Alfredo Morales played 12 minutes as a late-game substitute.

Mike Magee—ASN rank #77
No Landon Donovan? No problem. In the Los Angeles Galaxy’s season opener on Sunday, Mike Magee scored a hat trick in a 4-0 rout of the Chicago Fire. Picking up where he left off in the MLS playoffs, Magee netted in the 38th and 68th minutes before adding a spectacular left-footed strike in the 74th minute. Playing up top, Magee worked beautifully with Robbie Keane and provided constant danger for Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson, who couldn’t do much against the potent Galaxy attack. Conor O’Brien—ASN rank #78
After receiving rave reviews in the preseason, Conor O’Brien started in his first match for new club FC Nordsjaelland on Sunday, playing 84 minutes in a 1-0 win over Horsens. Since going undrafted in the 2010 MLS draft out of Bucknell University, O’Brien’s rapid professional ascent has been remarkable. Now starting for a top Danish squad, the 24- years old is hoping to make an impression on Jurgen Klinsmann to earn some time with the U.S. national team during a busy 2013.


After scoring in Helsingborg’s final preseason match, Alejandro Bedoya (#46) scored again for the club on Sunday in a 1-1 draw against Assyriska in Swedish Cup action.

The scrappy Benji Joya (#100) scored the lone goal on a penalty kick for the U.S U-20 national team in its 3-1 extra time loss to Mexico in the CONCACAF Championship finals on Sunday night.

Brek Shea (#21) saw more time for new club Stoke City this week, playing 24 minutes in a 1-0 loss to West Ham. Geoff Cameron (#5) was an unused substitute, and tweeted one word, “Confused,” shortly after the match.

Making his 300th career MLS appearance, Kyle Beckerman (#30) registered an assist in a 2-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday night. In another milestone, the win was goalkeeper Nick Rimando’s (#33) 100th clean sheet in MLS.

Ricardo Clark (#72) notched his first goal of the year, scoring in the 89th minute of Houston’s 2-0 victory over D.C United on Saturday. It was a very good shot from a very tough angle.

Josh Deaver is a former academic turned soccer obsessive. Follow him on Twitter, @USFootballGuy, for daily updates.

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