by Dru Boyer
Ladies and Gentlemen, we have reached the conclusion of Yanks Abroad the 2010/2011 edition. It has been a record-setting season for some, disappointing for others, and ending in relegation for one…well… two if Eddie Johnson stays at Preston, but I don’t see that happening. The Gold Cup roster has been released (welcome back to relevancy Freddy Adu?), and the Champions League Final is Saturday, I am ready for some Summer footy…pass me a cold PBR, my American Flag bandana, and a sparkler…God Bless America. Not much to cover this week, so I’ll just run it down quickly.
Brad Friedel made what could very well be his final start at Villa Park, leaving the fans with a shut out performance against Liverpool (his former and next club?) and a 1-0 win for the Villans. Michael Bradley was an 89th minute sub for the home side. It appears that both Americans will be out of Villa Park next season…in my opinion anyway. The larger question for the latter is whether he deserves what seemingly was/is an automatic starting position. In this writer’s view—no is the answer. Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard and Carlos Bocanegra are the only lock starters this side should ever have—and MB 90 has not played enough to warrant a start. I would start Scottish champion Maurice Edu in his stead- but don’t count on Bob Bradley doing the same.
Jermaine Jones went 90 minutes in a 3-2 win for Blackburn at Wolves. The Rovers finished 4 points outside of the relegation zone with the road victory to end the EPL season. Blackburn boss, Steve Kean would like to keep Jones around while continuing to strengthening the squad over the summer.
Tim Howard made 5 saves and recorded a clean sheet as Everton held off Chelsea 1-0 at Goodison Park…scoring the game deciding goal a man down. Despite a slow start to the season, Everton managed to finish in 7th place. The win brings a close to the Toffees topsy-turvy campaign, which ends on a peak rather than a trough. All in all, another very solid for the USMNT’s last line of defense in the EPL.
Clint Dempsey played all 90 minutes in Fulham’s season finale, a 2-2 draw with Arsenal. Will this be the last time we see Deuce suit up for the home side at Craven Cottage? An interesting note from this match, Zolton Gera came on in the 71st minute and drew a straight red which could cost Fulham their chance at the Fair Play spot in the Europa League next season…the card also led to an 89th minute equalizer. Even worse, Gera’s contract is up at season’s end and he will probably be elsewhere next season…dick move brah. All that aside, if Dempsey is gone, let’s not forget that he would leave as Fulham’s all time leading scorer in the EPL.
Carlos Bocanegra put in 90 minutes in a 2-1 loss to Sochaux. St. Etienne will finish the season this coming weekend against Dempsey’s possible destination, PSG.
Freddy Adu has one match remaining to see if he can get Rizespor, where he has shined, into the first division. That would be splendid for Adu because first division Turkish football is a big upgrade and it appears Freddy has found a place that he might be able to call home—if the competition level is upgraded. Unfortunately, Rizespor lost the first leg 4-0, so it will essentially take a miracle for them to get promoted.
Gale “The Boss” Agbossumonde (what a joy it is to type that name) played ninety minutes for Djurgarden FC in a three-nil defeat at the hands of Swedish rival Mjallby. Agbossumonde, according to his manager, was one of the lone bright spots on an otherwise dismal day.
Alejandro Bedoya had a hand in all three of Orebro’s goals (a long shot creating a rebound goal, an assist, and a goal) this weekend in a 3-1 win over Gais, making his Gold Cup exclusion at the hands of Robbie Rogers even more mystifying. We’ve speculated that his exclusion was likely a situation where Rogers offers a bit more pace, and Bradley probably respects MLS a bit more than Sweden. Still, given Bedoya’s sensational form—questions can and should be asked.
Michael Parkhurst, he of 2008 Olympic team fame, helped his side Nordsaelland win the Danish Cup 3-2 over Midtjylland Saturday. Parkhurst played all ninety minutes—continuing a recent trend and a good sign for a player who was fighting injuries and playing time fluctuations throughout 2009-2010.
Jozy Altidore played 68 relatively productive minutes for Bursaspor in a 1-0 win over Genclerbirligi which assured the first division Turkish club of a third-round berth into the Europa League next year. Your guess is as good as mine on Jozy’s destination next year, but staying in Turkey would seem to be an option given that his loan can at least be characterized as a non-failure. Altidore is taking small steps to getting better—but this summer’s Gold Cup is an immense opportunity and challenge for the 21 year old striker.
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