Saturday, May 8, 2021

Okay, Just one more.

I actually changed my mind on this first one since yesterday, which is why it didn't go on the last post. Anyway, chalk a third up for the kid and five winners in a row out of the Bundesliga.

16/17 Christian Pulisic

As good as defender trio John Anthony Brooks (who I'd originally penciled in as winner), Geoff Cameron and Matt Miazga were, I simply could not look past Pulisic's grand breakout campaign at the ripe old age of 17. Three goals and seven helpers to help Borussia Dortmund finish third in the Bundesliga, earning the late deciding penalty in their DfB-Pokal final victory, a fine introduction to the Champions League as the club reached the last eight. Yeah, it had to be him again.

15/16 Fabian Johnson

In another case of a season with an obvious winner, Johnson was among the standouts on an excellent Borussia Mönchengladbach side that not only enjoyed the club's first Champions League excursion in about four decades, but also ensured a return trip with a strong league season. Johnson totaled six goals and four helpers in Bundesliga play, and had an absurd 1.56 on vs. off goal differential per 90 minutes (in other words, the Foals were waaay better when he was in the game). He was also absolutely scintillating in the Champions League, adding another two-and-two (the goals coming against Juventus and Sevilla, mind you) to his tally.

14/15 John Anthony Brooks

I could have easily gone with what was arguably Cameron's best Stoke City campaign, but this time Brooks wins the close race for what was arguably his best season until the current one. The Hertha Berlin defender averaged nearly 11 total defensive stops per match, and his home stretch domination played a huge part in pulling the club well away from the relegation mire. Unfortunately, finding highlight reels for a center back is not usually gonna happen (let alone one for a specific season).

13/14 Sacha Kljestan

This was actually the toughest call of all the editions  unveiled so far because there were so many good choices. Aron Jóhannsson bagged 25 goals and Terrence Boyd hit for 20, including four in the Europa League group stage. Cameron was an absolute horse at Stoke, while Tim Howard posted 16 shutouts to backstop Everton to its third fifth place finish of the American's tenure. And yet, I had to give it up to Kljestan, consistently set Anderlecht in the right direction. Six of his nine goals gave his side an opener, and it was odd when the manager decided to pull him from the line-up in the championship hex. They did take the title, making him one of only two Americans to celebrate a league three-peat (Mo Edu is the other).

- Greg Seltzer

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