by Dru Boyer
Very limited action for the Yanks Abroad this week, however the EPL featured a couple Yank doubles. Until the magic of Wednesday night’s CONCACAF Champions League Final, I was going to make Mo Edu my player of the week for putting in 180 minutes in Glasgow and propelling the Gers back to the top of the table…and for dealing with El-Hadji Diouf’s stupid ass. (Really, that guy is just an idiot.) Mo might not score a great amount of goals, but he does all the little things—make late runs, get involved in tackles, pass the ball safely. He’s by no means the best player America has overseas, but he is a bit underappreciated in some circles given that he is a full-time starter for one of the better sides in Europe, and in a great many ways, like the player we’ll discuss next, he’s the Rangers heartbeat. Mo is a fiery competitive kid who isn’t afraid of a tackle and he is a “glue guy”, two qualities which the USMNT certainly will need long into the future. Cheers to you Mo. Then again—you aren’t our POW.
That would be Kyle Beckerman, who we know, doesn’t play abroad, unless you consider Utah a foreign country. He was however playing abroad Wednesday night and since I’m a lawyer in my real job we’ll just make that a technical exception and dare you all to do something about it. No, the dreadlocked one is our player of the week, as the longtime Royals captain with the outstanding hair put in an immense performance in Mexico that will help RSL return home with a 2-2 tie on aggregate and two crucial away goals. The truth is, Beckerman’s leadership, ability to get in on a tackle, and smooth, safe distribution have been integral to RSL since the CCL tournament began, and they simply aren’t in this position without him. As good as Espindola, Morales and Saborio are for Real Salt Lake, Beckerman is their heartbeat. This is why his yellow card Wednesday night and suspension for the second leg is a really, really big deal, and why it could prevent Real from raising the trophy, home-field advantage notwithstanding. Beckerman knows it too, as he said he was “gutted” by the suspension. Let’s hope his side isn’t negatively affected too much next week.
Timmy Howard and Everton put the clamps on Jermaine Jones and Blackburn in a 2-0 victory at Goodison Park. Howard only needed a single save to collect his second consecutive clean sheet. Jones committed 3 fouls, but managed to stay out of the ref’s little black book.
Brad Friedel made 4 saves in a 2-1 victory at West Ham. With Friedel staring 40 in the face, is the era of the high quality American goalkeeper on the decline with him? I found that article to be thought provoking, considering the options behind Howard and Guzan. MB0 and Jon Spector did not appear. Yeah, you read that correctly MB0…I’m frustrated too. However, I must commend Mr. Bradley on taking advantage of his lack of playing time by laying the law elsewhere.
Mo Edu went 90 minutes at Ibrox against St. Mirren in a 2-1 win. He followed that performance up with another 90 minutes three days later in a 4-0 victory at Dundee United that featured 3 red cards for Dundee and 3 PKs for the Gers. The two wins moved Rangers back into the top spot in the SPL table, however their most notable news of the week came from El-Hadji Diouf who proclaimed that Muammar Gaddafi is his homeboy. Like I said, what an idiot.
Carlos Bocanegra and St. Etienne pulled out a 2-1 victory on the strength of a second half brace from Dimitri Payet.
Hannover and Captain Steve missed a chance to slide up the table on Bayern with a 0-0 draw at Hamburg. A stat to think about in the race for the Champion’s League between Bayern and Hannover…goal differential. Bayern is +30 and Hannover is +2, goals win games. Beasley assumed his typical inactive role. The good news for Stevie C, however, was the crucial 3-1 win he collected yesterday on the road. Cherundolo played ninety, as per, and Hannover 96 kept the pressure on Bayern Munich. Look—it’s Bayern Munich and they are neck and neck- so honesty demands we admit it doesn’t look good for the Champions League. But the road win yesterday was huge.
Timothy Chandler went 90 minutes and recorded an assist in Nurnberg’s 2-0 win over Kaiserslautern. The victory keeps Nurnberg strongly in the running for a potential Europa League bid next season with a huge match at Mainz coming up this weekend.
Jozy Altidore came on in the 66th minute of a 1-0 loss for Bursaspor.
Alejandro Bedoya scored again in Sweden and it appears he’s rounding into form after a pretty miserable experience in his last USMNT camp and friendly.
Eric Lichaj got a full run and drew a pair of fouls in a 2-2 draw for Leeds.
Eddie Johnson played 72 minutes in as Preston picked up a (rare) victory 3-1.
Dru Boyer is a Senior Writer for The Yanks Are Coming. He can be reached on Twitter, at @SwampJankins. He’s currently very pleased that Kentucky’s freshmen may all end up actually being sophomores next year- which pretty much doesn’t happen in Lexington these days.