41813_johngeorge_isi_mlsack20110910108 Andrew Katsampes/isiphotos.com
Rising and Falling

Hot or Not: George John Is Ready for the Big Time

The FC Dallas center back is the key to his team's impressive early success. Could a national team call up be next? Elsewhere, a European transfer can't find the bench and the winger of the future struggles.
BY Jon Arnold Posted
April 18, 2013
10:30 AM
Who’s Hot?
George John: FC Dallas is the surprise MLS leader after eight weeks, and center back John’s efforts alongside Matt Hedges have proved critical. It’s his tackles and back line leadership that are most influential, but this week he also knocked in a late goal—and was subsequently clocked with a Budweiser bottle in a shocking incident John was later able to make light of—giving los Toros the 1-0 win.

The 26-year-old John has been on the cusp of big things on multiple occasions with a failed transfer to Blackburn Rovers in 2011 and short loan stint at West Ham before last season. He was called up to the United States national team by Bob Bradley in 2010 but missed the January 2011 camp while recovering from an injury. He also has trained with the Greek national team for which he is eligible. There hasn’t been a ton of buzz surrounding John’s international prospects since that time and Greece’s center back situation seems to be settled at the moment, but you may have heard the American defense is in a time of transition...

Sacha Kljestan: Anderlecht hasn’t been its normal dominating self, breaking a four-match winless skid with a 3-0 win Wednesday. But Kljestan has stated his case for inclusion with the Stars and Stripes after underwhelming in the opening Hex match against Honduras. He had a lull as well upon his return from the Costa Rica and Mexico matches but picked up the pace before his teammates, looking very good in defensive midfield in draws with Standard Liege and Brugge. He capped a three-goal first half Wednesday and then assisted with keeping Lokeren off the board despite his side again being down to 10 men.

Jozy Altidore: Hey, it’s this guy again. Hat trick. Goals. AZ. Bigger club? National team success? Etc. Etc.

Who’s Not?
Brek Shea: What exactly went down during the January transfer window? We’re still not exactly sure, but it seems the talented Texan might’ve been better served with another half year in MLS. Shea has been dogged by injuries in the offseason, and fans will hope that explains the dearth of playing time he’s had at Stoke City. He was healthy enough to enter the U.S.’s scoreless draw in Mexico but hasn’t seen time for struggling Stoke in more than a month. Shea could have a long, illustrious career with the Potters, perhaps aided by a full preseason with a friendly against his former club rumored to be in the works, but there are also worries his situation will mirror Maurice Edu’s.

Josh Gatt: After winning its first league title in 2011 and following it up with another in 2012, Gatt and Molde have hit a snag. Molde is the only club without a win after four rounds of Tippeligaen play. It did pick up a midweek cup victory, but Gatt didn’t play against the third-division side. There have been flashes from the quick Michigander, specifically in his national team debut against Russia, and learning under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has done him well. If Molde don’t right the ship soon, a move might be more pressing than once thought.

Jon Arnold (@ArnoldcommaJon) is a writer based in Arizona and is ASN's CONCACAF correspondent.

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