Soccerstoriesbook's Blog


WHO WAS THE USA’S BEST PLAYER IN 2011?

Some 200 journalists from across the nation are submitting ballots to decide which U.S. National Team member will be the 2011 Futbol de Primera Player of the Year.

Sponsored by FDP, the exclusive radio broadcaster of the 2014 World Cup in the United States, the award–the most prestigious annual honor in American soccer–goes to the best player who appeared in at least three matches for the U.S. in the calendar year.  Those who qualified are Juan Agudelo, Jozy Altidore, Kyle Beckerman, Alejandro Bedoya, Carlos Bocanegra, Michael Bradley, Timmy Chandler, Steve Cherundolo, Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Maurice Edu, Clarence Goodson, Tim Howard,  Jermaine Jones, Sacha Kljestan, Eric Lichaj, Oguchi Onyewu, Michael Orozco Fiscal, Tim Ream, Robbie Rogers, Brek Shea, Jonathan Spector, Jose Torres and Chris Wondolowski.

First place selections receive three points, second place two points and third place one.

Past winners of the award, until recently known as the Honda Player of the Year:  Hugo Perez, 1991; Eric Wynalda, 1992; Thomas Dooley, 1993; Marcelo Balboa, 1994; Alexi Lalas, 1995; Wynalda, 1996; Eddie Pope, 1997; Cobi Jones, 1998; Kasey Keller, 1999; Claudio Reyna, 2000; Earnie Stewart, 2001; Landon Donovan, 2002; Donovan, 2003; Donovan, 2004; Keller, 2005; Clint Dempsey, 2006; Donovan, 2007; Donovan, 2008; Donovan, 2009; Donovan, 2010.  [October 21]

Comment:  Who would you vote for?  Let us know.

Last year’s vote from here got it wrong.  Donovan won, with Bradley the runner-up and Dempsey the third-place finisher.  Our ballot went to Donovan, Bradley and Cherundolo.  So we need your help before our ballot is submitted in the middle of next week.

Give us a post and list your three top choices, in order.  And feel free to do some lobbying if you so choose.  Bear in mind that the award is for a player’s body of work for the year, so take into account a candidate’s performance for his club as well as his contributions to the U.S. team.

Update:  Dempsey won the award for the second time after being named first choice on nearly half of the ballots submitted by the 202 U.S. journalists who took part.  Howard was second and seven-time winner Donovan was third.  [November 2]

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U.S. 1, HONDURAS 0

Clint Dempsey scored an impressive first-half goal to lift the U.S. to a 1-0 victory over Honduras on a rainy, breezy night at Miami’s Sun Life Stadium, giving new coach Juergen Klinsmann his first win in four tries.

The opportunistic Hondurans out-shot the Americans, 13-11.  U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard took care of the on-target shots with a series of spectacular saves.

Dempsey struck in the 36th minute.  Midfielder Brek Shea sent a sharp grounded cross from the right through traffic for the Fulham standout, who pulled the ball back to his left, then wheeled to beat defender Mauricio Sabillon and curl a left-footed shot high into the Honduran net from 15 yards.

Among Klinsmann’s choices was German-born Danny Williams, a midfielder from Bundesliga upstart Hoffenheim who days earlier obtained his U.S. passport.  [October 8]

Comment:  Amazing but true:  The U.S. did not give up an early goal in the match.  In fact, the U.S. scored first.  Does this mean–four games into the Klinsmann era–that the Bob Bradley curse has been broken?

Comment II:  Three nights later at Red Bull Arena in New Jersey, U.S. 0, Ecuador 1, in another friendly.  The goal came 11 minutes from time, as substitute Jaime Ayovi ducked in front of young Red Bulls defender Tim Ream to nod Walter Ayovi’s left-side cross past Howard from close range. 

Apparently the Bradley curse has been replaced by a Bradley-Klinsmann curse, one that has damned the U.S. to 21 goals scored in its last 23 matches.  Klinsmann can’t get out there and score for his American charges–the sticking point is more his German citizenship than his age.  But as the opportunities to experiment wind down and the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers loom, it’s becoming increasingly unsettling to know that the best goal-scorer on the U.S. bench is the old guy in the white dress shirt.  [October 11]



THE USA, WITH ONE FOOT TIED BEHIND ITS BACK

The U.S. National Team, three days away from its Gold Cup opener, allowed two first-half goals by Santiago Cazorla and bowed to World Cup holder Spain, 4-0, in a friendly at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA.

David Silva set up both Cazorla strikes as the Spaniards raced out to a three-goal lead against a starting American lineup loaded with second-line players.   [June 4]   

Comment:  Coach Bob Bradley may have been trying to rest his best ahead of the Gold Cup, but Spain exposed the hard fact that the U.S. has no depth.  It never has.  The U.S. has been 11 + 2 and nothing better for years.

Among the losers were youngsters like defenders Tim Ream and Eric Lichaj, who deserved to be surrounded with the strongest possible U.S. lineup, plus the American fans among the crowd of 64,121, who paid between $40 and $495 (not a misprint) for the privilege of watching less-than-the-USA’s-best thrown to the wolves.