that 2014 is officially here, it’s time to honor 2013’s top American players
playing club ball abroad. Who rounds out
the starting eleven?
to Major League Soccer, there’s really no uniform way of evaluating the players
but to level the playing field, they always take “team impact” into
account. This factor allows “…
second-flight standouts a more equitable chance for recognition. Despite the handicap, only two players from
lower leagues were able to break into 2013’s best XI.
GK - Brad Guzan, Aston Villa
This pick surely took everyone by surprise.
You expected to see Timmy between the posts and you’d certainly have a
formidable argument. However, MLS took
Guzan’s strong end of the year finish heavily into account when making their
decision. Although Howard made a meal of
wins, shutouts, and cup damage, Guzan actually finished ahead of the United
States number 1 in “…saves, defensive gaffes covered, Man of the Match awards
and, most notably, team Player of the Year prizes.” America is blessed with the problem
of having multiple strong goalkeepers.
Make your case for Tim Howard all you like, Major League Soccer gave
Brad Guzan of Aston Villa the nod for 2013.
D - Geoff Cameron, Stoke City
been an interesting year for Cameron to say the least. He is proving to be a dangerous player in
multiple positions but Major League Soccer wanted to acknowledge Cameron for
his tenacious play at right back in 2013.
Look for Cameron to continue with his good run of form in 2014 in the
run up to the World Cup this summer.
D - Tim Ream, Bolton
the man some serious props. Tim Ream is
the only player in the starting XI to have played all of 2013 in the second
division of English footy. However,
despite the spot he earned, most of the votes acknowledge his strong start to
2013 – not so much for the way he finished the year. According to MLS, “He had a handful of decent
starts as left back and defensive midfielder this year, but the former Red
Bulls center back has been right near all-league form at his favored position
D - John Anthony Brooks, Hertha BSC
had a stellar 2013. As a prodigal member
of Berlin’s back line, Brooks spent most of 2013 obtaining the second-division
title. This effectively promoted the club
to the Bundesliga, Germany’s top tier of professional football. In his first nine games playing in Germany’s
top flight, Brooks has been a bit shaky but overall, MLS was pleased with his
efforts and felt he deserved a spot in America’s squad.
D - Fabian Johnson, Hoffenheim
League Soccer was impressed with Johnson’s versatile play in 2013. He earned praise for his time spent at left
back for Hoffenheim during the calendar year but Johnson was more content
adding a flanking mid field role to his arsenal as well. Like many athletes, there were a few ups and
downs but overall, the US international offered more positive contributions to
his side than negatives. His 2013 cannot
M - Jermaine Jones, Schalke
had a very good 2013. On the
international stage, Jones often wowed and worried American fans with his style
of play. At Schalke, however, the midfielder
remained fairly consistent. “Jones
regularly started for a top-five caliber Bundesliga team, offering plenty of
hearty tackles and transition play.”
While a transfer looks almost all but certain for Jones during the
January transfer window, expect to see Jones continue his form heading into
Brazil this summer no matter which team wants to pay the American for his
M - Sacha Kljestan, Anderlecht
has always eluded the American radar.
He’s always been quite a bright player but year after year, he seems to
slip under the radar. It's great to see Major League Soccer give credit where credit is due. Kljestan bagged 10 goals in 2013 and became a R.S.C. Anderlecht
regular. He also became a much more well
rounded player and was able to notch a crucial assist against Paris Saint-Germain in the
Champion’s League, adding to “…his American record for career assists in
European Cup play.”