Monday, June 7, 2021

Back to the DeLorean...

Well... last night was fun, huh? Between my own form of USMNT duty, other assorted work and some sunny weather, I had the AAotY parade on pause. It was actually a good thing because the next trio were all thinkers with perhaps a surprising amount of worthy candidates give the time period.

94/95 Alexi Lalas

It seems almost rote at this point to note that Earnie Stewart and Kasey Keller had good seasons. This campaign also saw Joe-Max Moore break out at Saarbrücken and Marcelo Balboa work strong down at León. Nevertheless, it had to be Lalas. All he did was become the first American in the modern era to give Serie A a kick, and he did it quite well that first season. Then as much a wild cultural export as a soccer one, some folks may forget that he helped the club to its best top flight season in 34 years and  even scored game winning goals against both Milan giants.

93/94 Eric Wynalda

This was one of the toughest choices so far (but not the toughest of all-time, which arrives with the next batch post). Lots of respectful excellence, with nobody pulling away from the crowd. In a shocking turn of events, both Keller and Stewart were damn good (try not to faint). Platoon man Tab Ramos helped Real Betis get promoted to La Liga and Cle Kooiman captained Cruz Azul. Instead I went with a rare second flight winner in Wynalda. He bagged 13 goals on the campaign, five of them winners. More tellingly, the club went 1-5-2 when he didn't play to slip from promotion contention to mid-table. 

92/93 Eric Wynalda

This was tough. Keller won Leicester Player of the Season and I had him third, for crying out loud. Then you had John Harkes over there helping Sheffield Wednesday finish fifth in the EPL, while also playing in both the FA Cup and League Cup finals. Oh yeah, he scored in the latter. But Wynalda's Bundesliga breakout took the cake. He hit for nine league goals, added three more the DfB-Pokal, and why not another in Intertoto Cup play (this was definitely a time when Americans didn't score in European cup competitions). 

- Greg Seltzer

No comments: