Saturday, May 15, 2021

Old World, New Age

Ahh, the mid-aughts... I was traipsing all over Europe to watch our boys play and talk to them after. It was a glorious time, with American field players invading in numbers and starring like never before. And it was a time with three fairly simple AAotY choices.

06/07 Brian McBride

The US striker earned the first of two consecutive Fulham Player of the Season awards after bagging a dozen goals across all competitions. There weren't any cheapies, either; seven of them put the Cottagers ahead (including five openers), three pulled them level and the last two were winners. Tim Howard, Heath Pearce, Marcus Hahnemann and Eddie Lewis all shined bright, but this year belonged to the down 'n' dirty box brawler McBride.

Quick note: It's a shame there's not a better video to cover this campaign, so I just went with one of his bigger, better goals from the EPL season.

05/06 Jay DeMerit

McBride had a good season. So did Brad Friedel, Hahnemann and Bobby Convey. They conjured plenty of magic, but it was DeMerit who cast the biggest, most improbable spell by charging home the promotion playoff final goal that sent Watford to the Premier League after a seven-year absence. And if you need any reminder of or a first dive into the wacky story of how he got to that moment, the documentary "Rise & Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story" is now free to view on YouTube.

04/05 DaMarcus Beasley

Very honorable mentions go to Oguchi Onyewu, Friedel and McBride, but this was the year of Run DMB. Moving from MLS to PSV, he was tasked with stepping into the line-up place (if not quite the shoes) of Arjen Robben. No pressure, right? All Bease did was smoothly find his Eredivisie way, rescue the Farmers Amstel Cup run with a last gasp equalizer in the semis and throw in some genuine Champions League heroics. In all, Beasley netted 12 goals (half of which I was fortunate to catch in person) and a Dutch double in his first campaign abroad.

Quick note: A handful of the highlights in the clip below are from the following season, including all with PSV in baby blue shirts.

- Greg Seltzer

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