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ASN 100 Update

Videos and More: MLS Golazos and Euro Drama

With the domestic league’s playoffs revving up, Kelyn Rowe, Will Bruin, and Sean Franklin are taking their games into a higher gear. American Soccer Now's Josh Deaver has the details for you.
BY Josh Deaver Posted
November 05, 2013
9:56 AM
Michael Bradley—ASN rank #1
Bradley made his full return to AS Roma from injury this past weekend, starting in midfield and playing 90 minutes for the Italian frontrunners, his first full shift in more than two months. Unfortunately, the club was unable to keep its historic 10-match winning streak alive, drawing 1-1 with Torino. With the result, the Giallorossi remain unbeaten and set a new Serie A record, earning 31 points in 11 matches—despite being only 4 points clear of both Napoli and Juventus on the Italian table. Bradley and Roma will look to increase the margin against bottom-dwellers Sassuolo next weekend.

Jermaine Jones—ASN rank #9
Thanks to some inconsistent play over the last few weeks, Jones has been relegated to the bench for Schalke for the time being. It was from there that the 32-year old entered as a late substitute against Hertha Berlin on Saturday, playing 10 minutes and providing a stoppage-time assist in a 2-0 victory. Although the long-term plan likely has Jones gradually phased out of his starting midfield position, the wily veteran still has some quality left to give. Despite fighting injuries, there is still no word on whether Jones will undergo knee surgery prior to the Bundesliga winter break.

Sacha Kljestan—ASN rank #14
Doel! Tor! But! However you say it in Belgium, Sacha Kljestan is still scoring goals. After scoring last week against Standard Liege, Kljestan doubled his fun this week, netting twice for Anderlecht in wins over KV Oostende and OH Leuven, respectively. That makes three goals in three matches for Kljestan, bringing his total to seven in only 13 appearances, a team-high for the Purple and Whites as well as a new career high. Considering we are heading into Movember, I’d say you can reasonably expect the Mustachioed One’s goal total to double, possibly triple, this month.

Alejandro Bedoya—ASN rank #25
Bedoya continued his exemplary spell with Ligue 1 surprise Nantes this week. First in midweek cup action, the 26-year-old played a full 90 minutes and scored the game winner for the Canaries as it dispatched Lorient 2-0. Bedoya found himself in the right place at the right time in that contest, blasting in a deflected goal-mouth rebound in the 73rd minute. In league action on Saturday, Bedoya made his return to the starting lineup—the first time in over a month—for a disheartening 1-1 late draw with Montpellier. With the point, Nantes currently sits fourth in Ligue 1.

Steve Cherundolo—ASN rank #31
Not good news. This week, German reports indicate that Cherundolo has been training individually with the Hannover staff after experiencing some continued discomfort in his surgically repaired knee. The 34-year-old—who recently expressed his desire for one final World Cup appearance—has undergone three knee surgeries in the calendar year, and looked close to making his season debut…until this latest setback.

Brek Shea—ASN rank #40
Simply said, Brek Shea’s transfer to Stoke City has not worked. The 23-year-old winger has failed to crack a Premier League matchday roster for the club, leaving manager Mark Hughes frustrated at Shea’s lack of progress. Although Shea seems permanently destined for reserve duty this season, he was able to earn his first appearance for the senior team during the Capital One Cup, entering as a late substitute and playing 44 minutes in a thrilling extra-time victory for the Potters, who outlasted Birmingham City on penalty kicks. Shea did not, however, receiving glowing praise for his shift.

Will Bruin—ASN rank #45
Halloween? Check. Knockout round of the MLS playoffs? Check. Two goals from Will Bruin and a Dynamo win? Check and check. On Thursday night, Bruin picked up where he left off in the 2012 playoffs, scoring twice in a decisive 3-0 win over the Montreal Implode…I mean, Impact. Bruin opened the scoring for Houston in the 16th minute, receiving a clever back heel from Ricardo Clark and finishing coolly from the penalty spot. Even more remarkable was his 72nd-minute effort. Assisting himself off a headed clearance, Bruin outran two Montreal defenders for the ball before finishing past keeper Troy Perkins, ending the Canadian club’s ignominious playoff debut with his 10th goal of the season. On Sunday, Bruin got the start again, playing 90 minutes of a 2-2 draw in the first leg of Houston’s series with New York Red Bulls. The return leg is scheduled for Wednesday.

Kelyn Rowe—ASN rank #52
The 21-year-old midfielder picked up his eighth goal of the year on Saturday night, scoring the eventual game winner in New England’s 2-1 playoff victory over Sporting KC. Although the game was not the prettiest display, running off Juan Agudelo and Lee Nguyen in the midfield, Rowe was able to get the inside track on KC defender Seth Sinovic and poke his effort home in the 67th minute. Winners of four straight and unbeaten in seven, the upstart Revolution are getting hot at the right time. A result on Wednesday night at Sporting Park will send New England to its first conference finals since 2007.

Brad Friedel—ASN rank #62
The elder statesman of U.S. goalkeeping played both goat and hero for Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday night, allowing an own goal and saving two penalties in Spurs’ Capital One Cup victory over Hull City. Making only his third appearance of the season, the 42-year-old was unlucky to surrender a 53rd-minute own goal when a sliding attempt by Hull’s Curtis Davies deflected off Friedel to even the score. When Henry Kane’s late equalizer sent Tottenham into penalties, it was up to Friedel—and he came up with two huge saves with the spotlight glaring. After denying the first spot kick, Friedel was able to palm away an attempt by Ahmed Al Mohamady on attempt number eight, securing the win and passage to the next round.

Sean Franklin—ASN rank #90
Nothing much to say here except [ahem] GOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLAAAZZZZZOOOOOO!! Franklin’s 48th-minute supernova of a strike would prove to be the decisive goal on Sunday night, helping the Los Angeles Galaxy take a vital 1-0 aggregate lead in the home leg of its playoff series with Real Salt Lake. When asked about the goal, the defender said simply, “I opened my eyes, the ball was in." The two clubs will line up again on Thursday at Rio Tinto Stadium with a spot in the Western conference finals on the line.

Josh Deaver is a former academic turned soccer obsessive. Follow him on Twitter.

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