Farfangrab Cruz Azul
Americans Abroad

Michael Farfan Scores for Cruz Azul; Howard Shines

The 25-year-old San Diego native scores a big goal in his debut for a big club. Elsewhere, Tim Ream and Juan Agudelo try to stay on Jurgen Klinsmann's radar and Tim Howard gets a shutout.
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
April 14, 2014
2:03 PM
WE'VE COME TO EXPECT strong performances from the likes of Tim Howard and Geoff Cameron, and both Premier League players delivered over the weekend.

Tim Ream and Juan Agudelo, players hoping to earn their way onto the United States national team's World Cup roster, also bolstered their positions with good showings. And in Mexico, three Yanks took advantage of their opportunities south of the border. Here's our weekly look at the best U.S. performances abroad.

Nos. 6-7: Dennis Flores and Miguel Palafox

Two Americans took big steps forward in their careers on Saturday, as Dennis Flores and Miguel Palafox were named to the Starting XI for Leon as it faced Liga MX club Toluca. For Palafox, a Los Angeles native, the start marked his professional debut; Flores came on as a substitute for Leon last month.

ASN has confirmed that Flores has been called up to the United States U-21 camp later this month, positioning him to make his international debut.

No. 5: Tim Ream

Another week, another top showing for Tim Ream. The St. Louis native continues to put forth good outings every single week—usually at different positions—making him one of the more intriguing American players in Europe. Last week he played left back, before that it was in central midfield, and a few weeks ago it was at right back.

Many American fans wrote off Ream when he struggled to earn minutes last season, but the the 26-year-old is proof that players can rebound and come back better than before. When Ream was a rookie with the New York Red Bulls in 2010, he fell victim to the hype machine that sets unrealistic goals for players.

After a rocky road, Ream is just now beginning to realize his potential while many Americans fans are still catching up to the news Ream has a bright future in Europe. In fact, with his versatility, he could be a sleeper pick to make the roster for the May World Cup camp.

On Saturday, Ream returned to his central defense position and helped Bolton to a 1-0 win over Barnsely. He was steady again on both sides of the ball, with his terrific passing out of the back allowing the midfield to push forward.

No. 4: Tim Howard

On Saturday Everton defeated Sunderland, 1-0, and Tim Howard posted his 13th Premier League shutout of the season, helping the club to its sixth straight league win. With so much attention being paid to cross-town archrivals Liverpool, Everton are closing in on a Champions League spot—something that would have surprised everyone before the season given the departure of coach David Moyes.

Howard is playing brilliantly these days, and Jurgen Klinsmann no doubt expects this pattern to continue in Brazil.

No. 3: Geoff Cameron

On Saturday Stoke City cruised past Newcastle 1-0 and is now closing in on a Top 10 finish in the Premier League. After a so-so showing the previous week against Chelsea, Geoff Cameron rebounded for another fine outing against Newcastle.

In the win, Cameron once again played right back and was solid both defensively and moving forward into the attack. The Massachusetts native was active during his 90-minute effort, collecting 86 touches and completing 78% of his passes. He was dominant in the air and Newcastle had little success attacking down his side.

No. 2: Juan Agudelo

Juan Agudelo began the game on the bench but scored his second Eredivisie goal off a terrific header just four minutes after coming on in the 36th minute, giving Utrecht a two-goal lead over Heracles that proved to be sufficient.

Throughout the rest of the game, Agudelo was effective in his hold up play, using his strong body to win the aerial game. His 75% passing accuracy helped Utrecht maintain possession and is a good indicator of the type of performance he had.

Stoke City coach Mark Hughes will no doubt smile when he sees the game footage of his striker in waiting. Of more immediate concern: Will Klinsmann include Agudelo on his roster next month? Agudelo is one player who us squarely on the bubble, and every solid game he has matters.

No: 1: Michael Farfan

Were you expecting Aron Johannsson or maybe Will Packwood in the top spot? Us too. Instead it's Michael Farfan, the 25-year-old San Diego native who now plays with Cruz Azul in Liga MX. Farfan scored a dramatic stoppage-time equalizer against Pachuca in his debut for the Liga Mx leaders, coming on in the 80th minute and scoring just 10 minutes later. His goal evened the score at two, which is how the match ended.

Cruz Azul is a fantastic team this year and could very well be the best club right now outside of Europe. Farfan joined the club in January from the Philadelphia Union, and itwas always going to be tough for him to break into the first team. But he did. And then he scored, which should help his prospects of seeing more action with the Mexican powerhouse.

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