Saturday, August 1, 2009

Greg's Top 5 Wild Americans Abroad Prediction For This Season

I meant to have this up yesterday, but suddenly got rather ill after lunch. I think one of my nibbles was unfriendly. In any event, here you all get to watch me go mad.

Even though I would be happy to nail three of these, today I would tell ya they're all in the bag with a nod. Ranked from least to most certain, I give you five seemingly nutso, at least iffy forecasts for Americans overseas this season.

#5 - An American will start the first Europa League final.

Being that Aston Villa and Everton are the clubs I'm relying on to make it happen, I could have easily limited to this American keepers. But with so many variables to come between now and then (injuries, transfers and loans for Americans and those around them, club table position, luck, the draw, and on and on), I figured why cut my chances?

What if Jozy Altidore ends up loaned to an Ajax, Werder Bremen or Valencia (no scoops here, just fitting examples)? Or Rangers slip downs from finishing third in the Champions League group phase? Now I'm covered.

#4 - Gooch will score five goals, including a big winner.

Not everyone is as confident as I am that Oguchi Onyewu will
see good playing time with AC Milan. Well, not only will he see that (thanks to the ebbing physical condition of his experienced backline stable mates), but he will also see dozens and dozens of Andrea Pirlo restarts coming his way. Even if the Italy star leaves for Chelsea at some point, the duty falls to some guy named... (factchecks paper a la Jon Stewart)... Ronaldinho.

Doesn't seem so crazy now, does it?

#3 - At least one American will play in the Eredivisie and raise his World Cup 2010 squad prospects.

Who will that be? I'm not sure yet. The obvious early money goes on Freddy Adu and/or Heath Pearce - but don't discount the possibility of a new MLS recruit or a Euro-move, either before the end of August or in January.

Guys like Stuart Holden, Sacha Kljestan and Marvell Wynne would fit in well, while someone like DaMarcus Beasley already knows the terrain. Another guy who could see Dutch interest is Clarence Goodson - also currently on the outside of Bob Bradley's 23 looking in.

It also would have been very interesting to see how Kenny Cooper could have fared at FC Groningen, but that ship has sailed to Munich.

#2 - Benny will help lead Aarhus GF into the Europa League, drawing wide Bundesliga interest.

I don't think this takes place in January, it will wait until the season is nearly done. Once Feilhaber has made it through a full campaign healthy and dishing assists from his proper playmaking position, ze Germans vwill tink tvwice about ze American.

And just think, it only took well-paid coaches three years to figure out he wasn't a defensive midfielder. He just gamely played one on Champions League TV when an injury crisis crippled Hamburg.

Along with the Bundesliga, he can probably look forward to plenty of Eredivisie looks as well under this scenario. Dutch clubs scout Denmark constantly and he has fans in league offices here dating back to the 2005 U-20 World Cup.

#1 - Charlie Davies will lead Sochaux in scoring.

I think Charlie benefits greatly from things like directly replacing the forward speed component (off-to-PSG Mevlüt Erdinç) in a Sochaux system that ended last season with promise. He will also benefit from the lively tandem work of strike partner Václav Svěrkoš.

He will benefit from the sly slip passing of Lionel Mathis, back from loan after leading Guingamp to shock Cup glory. The return of Jérémie Bréchet from PSV strengthens the defense's ability to enact counterattacks.

Davies has many factors working in his favor here, not the least of all is confidence. With a week to go before kicking off the Ligue 1 season at Auxerre, he will benefit today from leading the line against final friendly foe Saint-Etienne. Wanna bet he scores?

- Greg Seltzer

[Photos: Sochaux & Allan Baden/AGF]


Love The Smell Of Burning Vuvuzela said...

I mean, I guess technically it is the "first" Europa League final. But really, it's not.

You know what I'm trying to get at.

I'm not downplaying its significance -- in fact, I'm doing the opposite. That's what always drive me a little nuts with these "rebranding" moves: They unwittingly create a historical cutoff, where the grand legacy of the past gets a backseat role.

You hear it all the time in England: "Team X has the leading blah-blah in Premier League history." Well, yeah... if you're talking about the few years where the name "Premier League" has happened to exist. But what about the previous century of first-division football, and all the efforts that went into that?

Sorry about the weird tangent...

Gregory said...

Feeling a little frisky are we?? Those are some great stepping stones to aim for(all which I believe are attainable) but really, Davies leading them in scoring?? That'd be sweet, but seems a bit of a stretch IMHO..I can see Gooch & I can see Benny if he stays healthy

Question: Who has the better season, production and development wise.. E.Johnson, Jozy, M.Tracy, or Davies?? Im assuming your picking Davies, but just want to pick your brain..

Thanks as always for superb work!

Greg Seltzer said...

@ Smell Lover: I'm just calling it by the name. No attempt to archive the UEFA Cup here.

@ the guy with the coolest name ever: Yeah, Charlie should win that contest.

I assume Marcus will grab a good 5-6-7 goals, but others will lead AaB. We still aren't sure where or how much Jozy & EJ will play.

If Jozy moves to a nice quality team, he will probably grab 8-10 goals with meaningful playing time... but he won't lead a nice quality team with 8-10 goals.

Love The Smell Of Burning Vuvuzela said...

@ Smell Lover: I'm just calling it by the name. No attempt to archive the UEFA Cup here."

Yeah, I wasn't attacking your post, per se. I was just using it as a springboard, because this topic had been gurgling in the back of my brain for a while.

Greg Seltzer said...

Ummm... that sounds itchy. Rant away.

tom said...

#2, The thing I've always loved about Benny is he is the perfect foil for Mike Bradley. Rather than putting in two similar players, Benny is a playmaker who can make defensive stops when he has to. Conversely, Bradley likes to get forward and score goals; but otherwise is fairly content to be the defensive stopper in midfield. A sharp, in form Feilhaber would make the US midfield more fluid and effective through the center channel. I hope he has a great season as that bodes well for the World Cup.