ASN 100 Update
U.S. Soccer News: Golazos, Gashes, Gingers, Gonads
March 27, 2014
The new-look Toronto FC franchise kept rolling in Week 3 of the new MLS season, downing DC United 1-0 in the club’s home debut at BMO Field. Only two weeks in and the DP trio of Michael Bradley, Jemaine Defoe, and Gilberto appears to be clicking on all cylinders. They sliced the D.C. United backline so frequently that the score line could’ve easily been 3-0 at the break. It wasn’t until the 60th minute, however, that the Reds got on the board after Bradley played a beautiful ball to Gilberto, whose deflected shot fell into the path of Defoe, who slotted it home for the game’s only goal. In addition to the three points, Bradley also came away from the match with 12 staples in his head after cracking skulls with Davy Arnaud during a second-half challenge.
Arnaud fell in a heap, while Bradley walked away despite bleeding profusely from the head. Landon Donovan—ASN rank #2
Someone asked Bradley, 'How many staples?' 'Dunno,' he shrugged. pic.twitter.com/RHzpOwC29R— cathalkelly (@cathalkelly) March 22, 2014
Not apt to dwell on a humbling Champions League exit in the midweek, Donovan and the Galaxy were back to MLS business this past weekend, grinding out a 1-1 draw with Real Salt Lake. Still knotted with Jeff Cunningham at the top of the all-time MLS goal-scoring list, Donovan will have to wait until the California SuperClasico on April 6th for his next shot at history. A goal will put him atop the MLS scoring list, making him the ninth highest-scoring player in American club soccer history. (He has a long way to go to catch Archie Stark, though.) Geoff Cameron—ASN rank #4
Geoff Cameron continues to be the top-performing American in the Premier League—and possibly the entire European footballing landscape. Getting the start for Stoke City on Saturday, Cameron put in his customary 90-minute shift and scored his second goal of the season for the Potters in a 4-1 win over Aston Villa. Moving up the middle channel on a 90th-minute counterattack, Cameron latched on to an excellent ball from the lively Marko Arnautovich and easily slotted it home past fellow American Brad Guzan. With four consecutive results, Stoke now sit in the top half of the English table. Fabian Johnson—ASN rank #5
If only to further confound Jurgen Klinsmann’s backline ball of yarn, Fabian Johnson got the start for Hoffenheim at right back on Sunday, playing 90 minutes and providing the game-winning assist in a 3-2 win over Bayern Leverkusen. The usually left-sided defender showed his weak-side chops in the 89th minute, bending in a perfectly placed cross to Anthony Modestewho finished for the game-winner. During post-goal celebration, the goal scorer jokingly tested the integrity of the side netting, a reference to the “ghost goal” Leverkusen scored against Hoffenheim at the beginning of the season. Oh, you cad! Jozy Altidore—ASN rank #6
Jozy Altidore’s season of unending horror continued unabated on Saturday. Sure he started (his first since early February) and played (90 whole minutes!), but Sunderland lost once again, this time 2-0 to a not-so-great Norwich City side. The only silver lining: somehow there are actually two teams worse than the Black Cats, who could still potentially stave off relegation. Aron Johannsson—ASN rank #7
The Icelandic-American, still looking to break Altidore’s European goal scoring record by an American international, had two excellent chances this past weekend to find the score sheet in a 2-1 win over PEC Zwolle. Somehow, he barely missed on both. In the eighth minute, it appeared that Johannsson got his head on a Steven Berghuis cross for the goal, but the replay showed the ball skimmed just over his head on its way past the goalkeeper. Johannsson is also reported to have missed a 52nd minute penalty kick that would’ve put the match out of reach. Because I can find no video of such an occurrence, I will pretend it didn’t happen.
AZ 2-1 PEC Zwolle by antonis_tsir Clint Dempsey—ASN rank #8
The MLS disciplinary Committee handed Clint Dempsey at two-match ban for—how should I put this delicately?—slapping Toronto’s Mark Bloom in the balls. In response, Jurgen Klinsmann went all soccer mom, defending his captain from what he perceives is persistent infringement on the Sounders attacker, who has been fouled a league-leading 3.6 times per match. Klinsmann added, "It seems very harsh and comes at a very bad time for us as it throws him out of rhythm before Mexico.” C’mon Major League Soccer, you don’t hate America, do you?!?! Omar Gonzalez—ASN rank #13
You would think a borderline embarrassing defensive effort against Tijuana would’ve put some spring in the step of the Galaxy defense. However, less than two minutes into this weekend’s 1-1 draw with Real Salt Lake—we can't utter the words. Just watch the video below. I think it’s safe to say that most field players for Portugal, Ghana, and Germany would’ve finished that one. Alejandro Bedoya—ASN rank #14
Bedoya started on the bench for Nantes this weekend, but entered the match as an early second-half substitute, playing 39 minutes in the 2-1 win over Montpellier. Active in his short stint, Bedoya drew a penalty (and Montpellier’s second red card) late in the match. During the post-match celebration, it appears Bedoya is infusing the Ligue 1 side with some good ol' American flavor, leading his teammates in a rousing edition of "I Believe That We Will Win."
La joie du vestiaire après FC Nantes... by FCNantesTV DaMarcus Beasley—ASN rank #18
Edgar Castillo—ASN rank #29
The presumed left back contingent for the U.S. World Cup squad each put their mark on the Liga MX “USMNT Derby” between Tijuana and Puebla on Friday, a match ending in a 3-1 win for the Xolos. Getting the starts and both playing 90 minutes, both Beasley and Castillo delivered assists for their respective clubs. Edgar Castillo gave Tijuana a 2-0 lead after a speedy touchline jaunt led to a 65th-minute strike from Fidel Martinez. Beasley answered back in the 83rd minute. Drawing three defenders with some tricky moves in the box, the 31-year-old found Maicon Santos with the layoff for a late consolation goal. Puebla’s Michael Orozco and Tijuana’s Herculez Gomez also featured in the match. Steve Cherundolo—ASN rank #24
Prepare for another exit from the ASN 100 as Steve Cherundolo officially announced his retirement from competitive football last week. Cherundolo, who has been dealing with interminable knee injuries over the last season, will remain with long-time club Hannover as an assistant for the reserve squad. Not much can be said that hasn’t been said already, but Cherundolo was a true legend in modern American soccer. He made his own way in Europe and succeeded beyond wildest expectations. Cherundolo ended his remarkable career with a club-record 302 Bundesliga appearances for Hannover. And he will no doubt be missed in the U.S. kit. Brad Evans—ASN rank #26
Underreported story: One week from the last national team training camp before the World Cup preliminary roster is announced, and Brad Evans is still nursing a calf injury. After leaving early in last week’s match with Toronto FC, Evans did not dress during Seattle’s 2-0 win over Montreal on Sunday. With options dwindling, does teammate DeAndre Yedlin get another shot under Klinsmann? Jose Torres—ASN rank #31
I do believe this strike qualifies as a pure, unadulterated GOLAZO by "Gringo" Torres. What. A. Hit. Dax McCarty—ASN rank #32
Jeff Larentowicz—ASN rank #75
It’s happening. [Begins building fortified underground shelter] Brek Shea—ASN rank #40
Wanted 3 points, but the overall performance was much improved. 2 gingers scoring in the same game has to be a sign of the apocalypse. #RBNY— Dax McCarty (@DaxMcCarty11) March 23, 2014
Geez, Brek. Polarizing much? Give a read to Laura Greene’s latest edition of “On the Record,” which tracks what people are saying about the lanky Texan. Regardless of your opinion, Shea has proven himself to be a game-changer during his tenure with the national team. Julian Green—ASN rank #56
Oh, you didn’t know? You better call somebody. It appears Green is all set to make his national team debut next week against Mexico. In related news, Arsenal phenom Gedion Zelalem is no longer listed on the German Under-17 roster. Live in hope, America. Oguchi Onyewu—ASN rank #61
FIFA has approved change of nationality for Julian Green--he's eligible to play for USMNT immediately.— Sunil Gulati (@sunilgulati) March 24, 2014
So, when did Oguchi Onyewu turn into an attacking midfielder? Facing off against former club QPR, which unceremoniously waived him earlier this year, Onyewu went on a powerful run past two defenders before slotting a pass to Leon Best who found the net for the Owls in a 3-0 win. You would be right to think his shocker against Ukraine would eliminate him from World Cup contention. However, I wouldn’t be so sure. Will Packwood—ASN rank #95
On Friday, the young Birmingham City defender, who recently received his first senior national team call up, was named Football League Player of the Month for February. In weekend action, Packwood played 90 minutes for the Blues in a 2-1 loss to Reading. Hovering precariously close to the drop zone, Birmingham City has now lost six of its last eight in league play. Josh Deaver is a former academic turned soccer obsessive. Follow him on Twitter.