Americans are beginning to have a big impact in English soccer. With more and more MLS trained players moving overseas, American soccer stars are proving that our 2002 World Cup quarterfinal appearance wasn’t a fluke.
Recent arrival, Brian McBride, has been impressive in his second stint in England. The former Columbus Crew forward scored five minutes into his first match for his new club, Fulham. McBride volleyed one past fellow American and Tottenham goalkeeper Kasey Keller to win the match for Fulham. McBride initially tried out for Blackburn Rovers, which would have reunited him with American goalkeeper Brad Friedel, but opted for Fulham instead, when American defender Carlos Bocanegra signed there this January.
Kasey Keller’s woes continue at Tottenham. After Wednesday’s historic defeat by Manchester City in the FA Cup, where City scored 4 goals in the final half with only ten men, Keller will likely be replaced in goal. The most likely candidate to replace Keller is Paul Robinson, from cash-strapped Leeds.
New Jersey native Claudio Reyna missed the historic match against Tottenham when Manchester City’s doctors ruled him out of the match with an injury. Despite his age, Reyna has been a bright spot in Manchester City’s otherwise bleak season.
Former MetroStars goalie and current Manchester United number one Tim Howard has dazzled in his first season for the Red Devils. When manager Alex Ferguson brought over the 24 year old American, everyone laughed. But Howard’s talents were so great that he unseated French World Cup winner Fabien Barthez from the Manchester United goal. Howard is continuing the strong tradition of American goalkeepers in England.
After his heroics in the 2002 World Cup Brad Friedel seemed to have cemented his place in the U.S. National team. Friedel’s team, Black burn Rovers, however is performing horribly this season and his place on the U.S. team is looking in doubt. Once considered the best keeper in all of England, Friedel has suffered from a weak defense and has conceded more goals than usual. Ultimately, if Friedel is to win his place on the U.S. team, he will face stiff competition from Tim Howard.
Carlos Bocanegra has looked strong since he signed a three and a half year deal with Fulham. The U.S. defender will likely be a success as Fulham are an improving squad.
American wonder-boy Landon Dono van was set to join Portsmouth on a three-month loan last week but the deal was dropped after new FIFA regulations prevented the deal going through. After winning the MLS Cup with San Jose and performing well in the ’02 World Cup, the young striker will likely make a permanent move to Europe sometime in the near future.
Former MetroStar Clint Mathis scored in his German debut for Han nover. The German club is looking to Mathis to spark the offense and rescue their dreadful season.
The U.S. Men will compete against Holland in a nationally televised friendly on February 18 in the Nether lands. The match will feature a new look USA team with mostly young, MLS based players. The match will be on ESPN 2 on February 18 at 2:30 p.m.
The United States men also performed well in an Olympic qualifier win against 4-3 Pan ama this past Tues day. The team will play Can ada on Thurs day Feb ruary 5.
The U.S. Women won the 4 Nations competition against China, Sweden and Canada this week. It was a vast departure from their terrible form in the World Cup this past summer, which saw them put up their worst performance against Germany in the semifinals. The women’s game is also encouraged by the news that the WUSA may return in the 2005 season and is planning traveling exhibition games around the country for this summer. And lastly, you can see the hype for yourself when Teenage phenom, Freddy Adu will be appearing at the Meadowlands with D.C. United on April 17. The fourteen year old has already inked a $1 million contract with Nike and will make $500K a year for D.C. United.