Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Running The Numbers

We're gonna be running some old school NSC game this week. Today, we drop some statistics you will never have any use for - and never wished to know. Will did grouping one, we split the keepers and I handled the final tally.

That all said, let's digitize...


Every fall, we look at the UEFA cup fields, picking out the Americans and wondering what barriers they can break next. Sometimes - like, say, now - we really have no one actively participating in the Champions League (a ka the NCAA to Europa League's NIT) and it's only October. Still, when American involvement in the Euro-grandaddy gets lean, we can always enjoy the memories of those who previously tried their lot in the tournament.

Jovan Kirovski is the only American player to win the UEFA Champions League title since the competition was re-branded in 1992. He accomplished the feat in the 1996-1997 season with Borussia Dortmund. It should be noted that Kirovski, who is currently 35 and riding pine with the LA Galaxy, did not play in Borussia Dortmund's 3-1 victory against defending champs Juventus in the final. He was generally used sparingly as a late substitute. An interesting side note about Kirovski: He was in Manchester United's youth system at 16 with Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Paul Scholes and the Neville brothers, played with both Borussia Dortmund and Sporting Lisbon, and yet he never represented the US in a World Cup.

Kirovski was the first American to score in the Champions League, a feat he accomplished the year after Borussia Dortmund won the title - not during the 96-97 season as has been widely reported. Maurice Edu joined him Oct. 20 last year with a goal against Valencia, but DaMarcus Beasley still leads the pack with four career Champions League goals. Jermaine Jones also has a Champions League goal, though it came in 2007, when he wasn't technically an American player. In addition, he's the only American abroad in history to convert a Champions League penalty kick. He struck the game-winning penalty in the first knockout stage in 2008 to bounce Porto in a shootout.

Beasley is the elder statesman of the competition with 22 appearances, including a trip to the semifinals with PSV in 2005. Here's a look at the complete top-down list:

DaMarcus Beasley -- 22
- PSV (2004-2005): 10
- PSV (2005-2006): 5
- Rangers (2007-2008): 5
- Rangers (2009-2010): 2
Total goals: 4

Jermaine Jones -- 12
- Schalke (2007-2008): 8
- Schalke (2010-2011): 4
Total goals: 1

Claudio Reyna -- 8
- Rangers (1999-2000): 4
- Rangers (2000-2001): 4

Tim Howard -- 7
- Manchester United (2003-2004): 7

Tony Sanneh -- 7
- Hertha Berlin (1999-2000): 7

Frankie Hejduk -- 5
- Bayer Leverkusen (1999-2000): 5

Jovan Kirovski -- 5
- Borussia Dortmund (1996-1997): 2
- Borussia Dortmund (1997-1998): 3
Total goals: 1

John O'Brien -- 5
- Ajax (2002-2003): 5

Maurice Edu -- 4
- Rangers (2010-2011): 4
Total goals: 1

Robbie Russell -- 4
- Rosenborg (2004-2005): 4

Freddy Adu -- 2
- Benfica (2007-2008): 2

Landon Donovan -- 2
- Bayer Leverkusen (2004-2005): 2

Oguchi Onyewu -- 1
- AC Milan (2009-2010): 1


Every time Tottenham takes the field in EPL play, Brad Friedel breaks his own league ironman record for consecutive games started. The old man has to keep going as long as he can, because compatriot Tim Howard may one day try to steal his standard. However, they are far from the only American netminders to get greedy with a #1 job overseas. In all, we found eight Red, White & Blue goalies to have amassed a streak that extended beyond the length of one season's worth of games:

235+ Brad Friedel - Blackburn/Aston Villa/Spurs
152+ Tim Howard - Everton
137 Boaz Myhill - Hull City
88 Marcus Hahnemann - Reading
83 Kasey Keller - Spurs
51 Juergen Sommer - QPR
48 Ian Feuer - Luton
42 Troy Perkins - Vålerenga
40 David Yelldell - Koblenz/Duisburg


Watching David Freese win the National League Championship Series MVP got me to thinkin' about what a trip it must be to live out nearly every little boy's dream of helping the hometown team win it all. As it so happens, no less than 16 American players have been oddly fortunate enough to be able to raise MLS Cup wearing the shirt that represents where they came from or close enough by for it to mean something. I mean, heck, Freese actually grew up 40 minutes outside of St. Louis, which does absolutely nothing to halt the wild feeling he must get to crack a playoff dinger for the Redbirds. He's one round away from what these guys experienced.

UPDATE: Though neither was born where they grew up, I am adding Freddy Adu and Conor Casey to the list. That brings us up to 16 hometown heroes.

Freddy Adu* - D.C. United
Danny Califf - L.A. Galaxy
Brian Carroll - D.C. United
Conor Casey - Colorado Rapids
Ramiro Corrales - San Jose Earthquakes
Troy Dayak - San Jose Earthquakes
Landon Donovan - L.A. Galaxy
Herculez Gomez - L.A. Galaxy
Alan Gordon - L.A. Galaxy
Roy Lassiter - D.C. United
Jesse Marsch - Chicago Fire
Danny O'Rourke - Columbus Crew
Chris Roner - San Jose Earthquakes
Tom Soehn - D.C. United
Peter Vagenas - L.A. Galaxy
Sasha Victorine - L.A. Galaxy
* = Born in Ghana, moved to Maryland at 10

One difference in all this: Freese will get the chance to win the thing in St. Louis. None of the 16 players above won MLS Cup for the hometown club in that home city. Donovan did win the title in Los Angeles, but he was with San Jose then - not quite the same, I think.

Of course, this year's final is at the Home Depot Center... a potential prime hometown glory opportunity for Donovan, Sean Franklin and Bryan Jordan.

- Greg Seltzer & Will Parchman


Alex said...

It will be interesting to see the increase in hometown winners once the academies come into full effect.

don said...

i would add stuart holden to that list as well

don said...

for winning mls cup that is

Anonymous said...

If Seattle wins this year can we add Kasey Keller to that group? I know Olympia is just over an hour away, but Seattle is the closest city with an MLS franchise.

couchtoast said...

Conor Casey, Colorado Rapids 2010

Greg Seltzer said...

Good catch, couchtoast. I forgot about that, despite him being born in New Hampshire.

I'm also adding Adu with an asterisk, as he grew up near DC from the age of 10.

couchtoast said...

Happy to help. You're obviously 100% correct about Casey being born in NH, but he moved to Denver at the age of 5 and considers Denver his hometown (at least according to the esteemed Wikipedia). He's definitely considered a local boy around these parts.

Love the site, by the way.