My picks for the top 5 performers
1) Bobby Convey: Club: Reading Position: Midfielder
Bobby Convey will be the best US player in the Premiership this season. He was a big reason for Reading getting to the Premiership. However, his club is expected to get relegated or at best just escape relegation. Whatever it is, expect Convey to give his best and fly down the left flank with that impressive speed and those nifty passes. Bobby Convey with Clint Dempsey were the two best players in the otherwise dismal performance of the US team in this World Cup.
2) Jay DeMerit: Club: Watford: Position: Defender
He was the giant killer in the final match that pipped Watford past Leeds United scoring the goal that put them to the Premiership. DeMerit is the center back and he has been one big reason that Watford has toughenend its defence. Look for him to turn some heads. DeMerit is a supremely fit athlete and strong in the air.
3) Jonathan Spector: Club: West Ham United: Position: Defender
Spector had a very good season at Charlton Athletic last year before dislocating his shoulder. He is now with the Hammers. He is an attacking defender who loves to push up front and a very strong tackler. His abilities are sometimes marred by some poor choices when passing but this seems to be improving.
4) Tim Howard: Club: Everton: Position: Goalkeeper
The future goalkeeper of the US team. Playing for Everton after his loan from Manchester United. Howard has had an up and down career with Man U, posting 11 clean sheets in his first year, but then fell foul of Sir Alex when he let in a last minute goal against Jose Mourinho's Porto in the Champions League in 2004. He spent a lot of the 2005 season on the bench. Howard is a strong presence in the goal, with great reflexes, and gathers well off the air. He sometimes gets in trouble coming off the line. He was not used in this World Cup because the US is traditionally strong in this position, and had Kasey Keller and Brad Friedel ahead of him. Howard will have to compete for the starting line up Richard Wright.
5) Brad Friedel: Club: Blackburn Rovers: Position: Goalkeeper
In my opinion still the USA's best goalkeeper, and the best US player in the Premiership. Friedel has been an automatic for the Rovers ever since he joined them in 2000. He has helped the club improve its standing each year. In 2003 he was voted the goalkeeper of the Premiership and is the captain of the club. Last year, he led them to a sixth place finish, earning them a spot in the UEFA cup. This year the Rovers are expected to do just as well and Freidel is a big part of that expectation.
The other players in the Prem are Carlos Bocanegra (Fulham, defender), Claudio Reyna (Manchester City, midfielder), Brian McBride (Fulham, forward), Johann Smith (Bolton, forward), Jemal Johnson (Blackburn, forward), Marcus Hahnemann (Reading, goalkeeper), and Cory Gibbs (Charlton Athletic, defender).
Correction: Tim Howard was the second choice behind Kasey Keller but before Marcus Hahnemann. Thanks Paddy Cass !
For more Yanks abroad >>