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Landon Love, Horrid Hairdos, and the ASN 100

Eight soccer pundits contributed to the creation of the September 2013 ASN 100. Here's a chat with one of our "experts," journalist and former Division I soccer player Ryan O'Hanlon.
BY John Godfrey Posted
August 31, 2013
8:58 AM
JOHN GODFREY: So you ranked Mr. Landon Donovan 2nd on your ASN 100 ballot. Is that because you spend so much time with Noah Davis, who's in love with the guy? (I think Noah is going to ask Landon to go zip-lining in San Jose next week....)

RYAN O'HANLON: I try to live my life in exact opposition to everything Noah does, so I don't think that's the answer. Although, who knows? it's more my—and, maybe Noah's, too, I guess—feeling of solidarity as I watch the sides of my hairline slowly recede like the Planet Earth's final tide.

It also might be that Landon Donovan is really good at soccer! The talent never went away, obviously, but you couldn't put him this high when he wasn't playing soccer or when he wasn't playing for the national team. Now, he's back, and he's playing as well as he ever has. If I'm picking an American for my imaginary soccer team playing in an imaginary soccer tournament next weekend in an imaginary world where Michael Bradley doesn't exist, I'm picking Landon Donovan first.

Also, it helps that Clint Dempsey isn't quite Clint Dempsey right now.

JG: You also gave Aron Johannsson the highest ranking of any of our panelists: No. 7. Does this mean you think he's the real deal? Would you start him against Costa Rica on September 6th? 4-4-2? What?


JG: No. I don't have time for that. I'm a grown-ass clown.

RO: Right now, I don't think there are that many American players I'd take over Johansson if I was starting a team. That doesn't mean he automatically fits into the starting 11 (hello, Jozy), but there isn't any other American scoring as easily as he is. And that's what the rankings are supposed to judge, right? What have you done for me lately, what are you doing now?

I generally boo the 4-4-2 because: 1) what does that even mean? And 2) when was the last time a good team played a 4-4-2? Seriously? And don't say any of Alex Ferguson's teams at Man U because that doesn't count. There's a reason for the dearth of 4-4-2 (hint: it's too simple)—and while I'm sure if Johansson and Altidore eventually start playing together it won't be a basic 4-4-2, I'm not quite ready to scrap the system the team's been playing for a guy who's only been an American for half-an-hour.

At this point, you wouldn't quite have to be a crazy person to predict him to be a starter come 2014, but you'd be close.

JG: Take a look at the current ASN 100. Who is ranked too high for your taste?

RO: Eddie Johnson.

JG: Oh, great. Dear EJ—please direct your social media vitriol toward Ryan, not me. And who should be removed from ASN 100 consideration, now and forever?

RO: So long as ASN is using that picture for Steven Lenhart, I will not vote for him. His hair brings back memories of a really dark time in my life.

JG: That picture is here to stay—sorry Lenny. Teal Bunbury was No. 100 on your list. Who was 101, and why?

RO: Sam Cronin is so reliable, unassuming, and effectively unspectacular that I overlooked him for my top 100.

JG: "Effectively unspectacular." You make him sound like a plumber...only plumbers make a lot more money than most MLS players.

OK, I think that's enough. Thanks for the chat Ryan! I enjoyed this so much I'm now going to ignore my instincts and follow you on Twitter.

Does anybody else think Donovan is currently the second-best American player? Should Lenhart be penalized for one bad hair day? Tell us below.

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