In a campaign full of great performances, we take a look at some of the best Americans in Europe this past season.
Without a doubt, Jozy Altidore was the most successful American abroad this past season. Although AZ Alkmaar finished 10th in the Eredivisie, Altidore helped his club capture its first Dutch Cup in 31 years while scoring an important goal in the final against PSV. He tallied 31 goals in all competitions, shattering the single-season record for an American in Europe. With rumored attraction from both Schalke 04 and Lazio, the 23-year-old could be on the move this summer.
Tim Howard, Everton
The tenacious keeper had another quality campaign. Despite breaking bones in his back midway through the season, Howard still managed 10 clean sheets as Everton finished sixth in the Premier League table. While he had several standout moments, one of his more impressive runs was a three game stretch from late April to mid May in which Howard kept three consecutive clean sheets against Fulham, Liverpool, and West Ham United. With the departure of long-standing manager David Moyes, the future of the club from a leadership perspective is in limbo, with several candidates rumored to take over. However, Howard will once again be between the posts heading into next season.
Clint Dempsey, Tottenham
After a slow start, the Texas native really took off for Spurs, finishing with 12 goals and six assists in all competitions. He tallied 10 of those goals in 2013 and was a huge asset in both domestic and European competition, playing a vital role in Tottenham’s run to the Europa League quarterfinals. He scored twice against FC Basel in the deciding matchup, but Spurs went down on penalties. Despite missing out on Champions League play by just one point, Spurs will once again battle in the Europa League thanks to a fifth place finish.
However, there are rumors that with Spurs looking to break into the top four, Dempsey could be sold after just one season at the club. After scoring 23 goals last season with Fulham, Dempsey’s output could be seen as a disappointment by some critics. His aforementioned rise as the season continued is a good sign that his acclimation to the club took longer than expected. In the end he proved to be a valuable commodity and his status will be monitored closely.
Brad Guzan, Aston Villa
The Aston Villa Player of the Season, Brad Guzan had six clean sheets as part of his breakout campaign. The keeper was huge for the Villains and helped to compensate for a shaky back four. He helped guide the Birmingham outfit to a 15th place finish after spending some time near the relegation zone. While the club struggled against top notch competition all season, Guzan was especially good in March, making six saves against a feisty Manchester City side that narrowly defeated Aston Villa 1-0. The 28-year-old is now in line for an extension this summer.
Terrence Boyd, Rapid Vienna
Boyd had a breakout season for Rapid Vienna. Getting quality minutes for the first time in his career at this level, Boyd did not disappoint. He scored 17 goals in all competitions, with 13 coming in league play. His domestic goal total was the sixth highest tally in the entire league. The club finished in third place and will be heading to the Europa League next season. The 22-year-old is heading into year two of his three-year deal and is certainly going to be one to watch going forward.
Eric Lichaj, Aston Villa
The defender made 23 appearances in all competitions this season and had three assists but his role diminished significantly at the start of the New Year as he participated in just five games thereafter. Since signing with Villa in 2009, Lichaj hasn’t really found his niche within the club and with both sides unable to agree on an extension, the defender will be leaving the club at the end of the month. At just 24-years-old he should be able to find first team action within Europe.
Brad Friedel, Tottenham
The aging keeper made 20 starts across all competitions and notched two clean sheets. He made a lot of starts in the top flight early on but was used sparingly in 2013, making nine appearances with only one in the Premier League. Hugo Lloris was favored as the season rolled along and Friedel is clearly a backup at this point.
Michael Bradley, AS Roma
Michael Bradley’s season ended in disappointing fashion last Sunday as Roma lost to Lazio in the Italian Cup 1-0. The tenacious midfielder’s scored just one goal this season, which came during a 2-0 win over Atalanta. However, he was a regular starter for Roma and helped the club challenge for European play late in the season. There are rumors that newly promoted Hellas Verona is trying to negotiate a loan deal for Bradley but Roma appears to be uninterested. Bradley will certainly be active this summer in hopes of improving in Serie A next season.
Jermaine Jones. Schalke 04
Jermaine Jones had a solid campaign, helping Schalke to a fourth place finish and another Champions League spot. The midfielder finished with two goals and six assists which was actually one of his more productive seasons from a statistical standpoint. His second strike of the campaign was a huge one as he scored a crucial away goal against Galatasaray in the Champions League round of 16.
Steve Cherundolo, Hannover 96
The captain had a record-setting season, making his 299th Bundesliga appearance which broke Jurgen Bandura’s Hannover mark that stood for nearly 40 years. The defender made 32 appearances and helped his club keep seven clean sheets as Hannover finished ninth in the table. The beloved “Mayor of Hannover” signed a one-year extension that will keep him with the club through 2014.
Geoff Cameron, Maurice Edu, and Brek Shea, Stoke City
Geoff Cameron joined Stoke after the end of the 2012 MLS season and his form was solid from the start. He went on to make 38 appearances for Stoke and played well in defense as Stoke finished 13th in the table. The removal of manager Tony Pulis will definitely have an impact on the entire squad, including Brek Shea and Maurice Edu.
Shea came in but was almost invisible from the start, making just two appearances all season. It will be interesting to see how he’s used going forward. Edu, on the another hand, spent most of the season on loan at Bursaspor, where he had marginal success. The club will be playing in the Europa League next season and there are rumblings that the Turkish outfit is looking to lure Edu back with a permanent deal.
Fabian Johnson and Danny Williams, TSG Hoffenheim
Fabian Johnson capped off a solid campaign last week as he helped Hoffenheim stay in the top flight. Hoffenheim bested Kaiserslautern in the German relegation playoffs by an aggregate score of 5-2. The defender played the entire contest. On the season, Johnson had four assists and two goals, a reasonable tally for a defender. His biggest goal came in September during a 3-0 romp over Stuttgart.
Williams made 21 appearances before suffering an injury that limited his play down the stretch. The 24-year-old midfielder could get some run on the U.S. national team this summer, which would serve him well heading into next season.
Sacha Kljestan, Anderlecht
The midfielder wrapped up another successful season with a second straight Belgian title. Anderlecht claimed the top prize after a lengthy playoff that saw Kljestan score a crucial goal on the final day. He finished the season with three goals and eight assists in all competitions.