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ASN 100 Update

Shane O’Neill Heading to Fulham; Joe Gyau Ballin'

Josh Deaver’s weekly column tracks the performances of players in the ASN 100, with a heavy emphasis on videos, match news, and analysis. Take a look.
BY Josh Deaver Posted
December 10, 2013
10:59 AM
Jozy Altidore—ASN rank #2
It took some 657 minutes, but Jozy Altidore finally reopened his Premier League account. Nearly four years since he last tallied for Hull City in 2010, the 24-year-old found the score sheet in spectacular fashion for the Black Cats, netting the opening goal in a surprisingly competitive 4-3 loss to Chelsea in midweek. Receiving the ball in the box after a broken free kick, Altidore calmly collected and deftly turned around John Terry, rifling his effort past Peter Cech for a 14th-minute strike. Outside the goal, it was another strong outing for Altidore, whose typically solid performances have been obscured by Sunderland’s woeful shortcomings. On Saturday, Altidore put in another 90-minute shift for Sunderland, who once again dropped points, this time in a 2-1 loss to Tottenham. The club has earned just eight points from 15 matches and now sit in the EPL cellar—a full five points from safety.

Tim Howard—ASN rank #4
In a busy week against tough opponents, Howard faced off against his former club, Manchester United, and Premier League front-runners Arsenal, escaping relatively unscathed with four precious points for the surging Toffees. On Wednesday, Howard’s dynamic performance gave Everton its first win in 21 years at Old Trafford. The Red Devils put forth a valiant effort, but Howard’s six saves, combined with a few fortunate bounces off the woodwork, held the defending title holders scoreless for only the third time in 74 matches. Against Arsenal, a beardless Howard once again stood strong. He was hard done by a deflection on the Ozil goal, but had several important saves in the 1-1 draw.

Matt Besler—ASN rank #7
Graham Zusi—ASN rank #8
C.J Sapong—ASN rank #68
Congratulations are in order for the trio of USMNT-ers from Sporting KC who captured the franchise’s first MLS Cup in 13 years Saturday night. SKC topped Real Salt Lake in a heart-stopping penalty shootout. In a hard-fought match played under Arctic conditions in Kansas City, Zusi helped send Sporting Park into hysterics when his 76th-minute corner kick found the head of Aurelien Collin, who buried his header to equalize. The 10-round penalty shootout provided even more drama, with Besler having his two-step attempt saved by Nick Rimando. Zusi likewise had a golden chance to clinch the match, but sailed his attempt over the crossbar. That said, both still got to drink champagne out of the Cup.

Kyle Beckerman—ASN rank #18
Despite Real Salt Lake failing again to capture silverware, Beckerman delivered the play of the night during his 120-minute performance in the MLS Cup final. Shortly after intermission, Beckerman found the ball 40 yards from goal and delivered a ridiculous, one-time, sin ojos feed to Alvaro Saborio, who turned Matt Besler and finished past Jimmy Nielsen to put RSL ahead. The highlights simply don’t do justice to the degree of difficulty involved.

John Brooks—ASN rank #23
Making his first Bundesliga start since September, John Brooks played 90 minutes in Hertha Berlin’s 2-0 win over Eintracht Braunschweig. Brooks’ reintroduction to the first team will hopefully return some stability to the newly promoted club, whose results have been erratic after a good start to the campaign. Sitting seventh on the table, it will be important for Hertha to pick up points in the final two weeks before the Bundesliga winter break. Two tough foes await, however: Werder Bremen and Borussia Dortmund.

Alejandro Bedoya—ASN rank #25
I have no idea what this fan-made comic says, but one thing is clear: Alejandro Bedoya had a pretty good week. On Tuesday, the 26-year-old tallied a second-half equalizer for Nantes, which came from behind to secure three points in a 2-1 victory over Valenciennes. Only minutes after conceding the opening goal early in the second half, Bedoya found the ball on the right wing before cutting inside and unleashing a left-footed rocket from the top of the box for his third goal of the season. The heroics continued over the weekend where Bedoya netted the lone tally in a 1-0 win over Marseilles, making him the second leading scorer for the club this season. It was no golazo—a bit fortunate actually—but it nonetheless delivered a vital three points and catapulted the Canaries into fourth place in Ligue 1.

Danny Williams—ASN rank #37
The Reading midfielder continued his strong run of form since returning from injury, playing 90 minutes on Tuesday and assisting on the lone goal in a 1-0 win over Charlton Athletic. In the 13th minute, Williams easily stripped a defender at midfielder before sliding a pass to Billy Sharp for the tally. It was Williams’ second assist in 11 appearances for the club, the second-highest mark for the Royals in that category. On Saturday, Williams again got the start, putting in a full shift during a 2-1 loss to Bournemouth. Reading currently sit sixth in a scrum atop the Championship table.

Heath Pearce—ASN rank #67
On Monday, Pearce—along with Kenny Cooper (#70), Chris Rolfe (#75) and Sean Franklin (#90)—were all placed in the pool of players eligible for the MLS re-entry draft. The draft will take place in two phases; the first on Dec. 12 and the second on Dec. 18.

Joe Gyau—ASN rank #82
The 21-year-old is fast becoming a fixture on these weekly updates, and for good reason. Simply put: Gyau is ballin’. In a 3-0 win over Mainz on Saturday, Gyau was involved in two goals, delivering a well-placed assist on the second and drawing a penalty (after a nice pass from compatriot Fabian Hurzeler) that was converted late in the match. Highlights can be seen here at the 9:00 mark. In an interview last week, Gyau discussed his frustration in returning to the Hoffenheim reserves after a 2.Bundesliga loan. With his current from, however, he might not be there much longer.

Shane O’Neill—ASN rank #96
The annual MLS offseason tradition of “Is it a trial or a training stint?” got underway this week with the Rapids defender tweeting that he would be joining EPL side Fulham for a spell later this month. The former U.S. U-20 defender holds an EU passport and would not need to apply for a work permit if he impresses Cottagers management. It’s also a good chance to impress Jurgen Klinsmann, who could take O’Neill’s potential defection to Ireland into consideration when selecting his roster for the upcoming January training camp in Los Angeles.

ASN Contributing Editor Josh Deaver is a former academic turned soccer obsessive. Follow him on Twitter already.

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