BRIAN SCIARETTA - Monday, March 4, 2013
This past weekend saw highs and lows for Americans and he is a quick rundown of the highlights.
First of all it was good weekend for Herculez Gomez who scored two goals and added an assist for Santos Laguna in a 3-1 win over Jaguares.
The big story however, is that Jozy Altidore set a new record for Americans in Europe with his 24th goal in all competitions for AZ. Unfortunately for Altidore, AZ lost to RKC 2-1 and sits dangerously close to the relegation zone in the Eredivisie. For the most part, however, that should not affect Altidore who is likely to be transfer target of big clubs this summer.
Conor O'Brien is once again proving to be one of the most underrated American players in Europe. After transferring in January from Sonderjyske to the defending Danish Superliga champions Nordsjaelland, O'Brien hasn't missed a beat. O'Brien made his debut on Sunday when he started in central midfield for Nordsjaelland's first game after the winter break and went 84 minutes in a 1-0 win over Horsens. Now playing for a team in contention for Champions League qualifying, will O'Brien finally get a chance with the national team?
Moving north into Sweden, there were some promising signs ahead of the Allsvenskan season. Fresh off signing a new six month contract, Alejandro Bedoya scored for Helsingborg in their 1-1 draw with Assyriska in the Swedish Cup.
Also in Sweden, American winger Brian "Cobi" Span looks like he has a good chance of starting this season for Djurgarden. The New York native played 74 minutes for Djurgarden in their 3-0 win over Umea in the Swedish Cup.
In Germany, Jermaine Jones picked up his fifth yellow card of the season for Schalke in their 4-1 win over Wolfsburg. He will now be forced to sit out a match. Jones also has to be careful on picking up another yellow this season. Prior to the start of the season, Jones bet Schalke's general manager Horst Heldt that he would not pick up more than five yellows in the 2012/13 campaign.
Staying in Germany on a happier note, speedy winger Joe Gyau earned a start for St. Pauli and went the distance in their 1-0 win over Aalen. The DC native on loan from Hoffenheim had been struggling with injuries recently but looks as if he has recovered.
The weekend also had a few unfortunate events. When Brad Friedel saw his EPL consecutive game run stopped at over 300 last year, it left his fellow American Tim Howard with the longest streak. Howard, however, was not cleared to play for Saturday's 3-1 win over Reading after picking up a "knock" last weekend against Oldham. His streak was snapped at 210.
Finally, Edgar Castillo had to be added to the list of American players injured. In Tijuana's 1-0 loss to Atlas, Castillo broke three bones in his face and will require surgery. It is estimated that he will be out for 30 days. The most impressive part of this is that Castillo suffered the injury against Atlas in the first half and played the rest of the game. That showed a lot of toughness on the part of the New Mexico native.