KENYA BROWN - Saturday, May 5, 2018
The final stretch of the English league season is upon us, with several Americans on the verge of relegation with their teams.
While Manchester City have wrapped up the league title and most teams in the lower leagues have secured promotion or at least a playoff spot, there are a number of teams that have Americans on the books that are fighting for survival and in some cases, the odds are not in their favor.
Here is a look at those players that could be looking falling through the trap door at the end of the season.
Geoff Cameron - Stoke City
At the start of the season, no one even considered the Potters to be in the conversation for relegation as the likes of Brighton, Huddersfield Town and a few other teams were considered the most likely candidates to be heading down to the Championship. However, the team finds itself sitting second from the bottom in the standings and in need of a miracle to stay up.
Stoke sputtered out of the gate at the start of the season, winning only three of their first 10 games. The most embarrassing loss came in a 7-2 defeat at the hands of Manchester City in October last year.
Former Stoke head coach Mark Hughes had a tendency to sign players with European experience such as Bojan Krkic (Barcelona), Xherdan Shaqiri (Bayern Munich and Inter Milan), and Ibrahim Afellay (Barcelona). However, his gamble failed to produce anything but disappointing finishes in the middle of the standings.
Even with new signings prior to the start of this season, the team showed inconsistent play throughout, leading to the Welshman being fired and Paul Lambert being brought in to pull a miracle to maintain their Premier League status.
Since Lambert has come in, Cameron has played sparingly down the home stretch. Thought of as one of the most reliable players on the team, he has only played in one game since coming back from an injury (an appearance off the bench against West Ham United on April 16).
With two games left, Stoke have a chance to stave off relegation, but they will have to be at their best if they are going to take maximum points against Crystal Palace and fellow relegation candidates Swansea City.
Danny Williams - Huddersfield Town
Huddersfield Town was the talk of the Premier League after their dramatic promotion playoff victory last season at Wembley Stadium. Even though they were heavily favored for the drop back to the Championship, to know their story is quite awe-inspiring.
For a time the Terries did punch above their weight, with wins against Crystal Palace and Newcastle at the start of the season. However, when playing in the top flight against teams with bigger budgets and quality players at their disposal, reality was going to eventually smack them in the face.
Unfortunately, head coach David Wagner will have to go about the team's survival bid without Williams as he has been ruled out for the remainder of the season due to a fractured fibula. The German-born midfielder, who made the move to the John Smith Stadium last summer from Reading, worked his way into the starting eleven and played 20 games this season.
With the usual goal of reaching 40 points for survival, Wagner and his men will have a daunting task to accomplish as their final three games are against Manchester City, Chelsea, and Arsenal.
If they can get positive results from two of those three games, their survival chances will look good.
Antonee Robinson - Bolton Wanderers
Robinson's situation at Bolton is different compared with the others on the list as he is only on loan from Everton.
The English-born left back was sent out on loan by the Toffees to get some first team experience under his belt. He has done his job as he has so far played in 28 games this season.
Bolton's problems are all internal as they have had financial problems and disputes over ownership for the past few years, which has nothing to do with Robinson.
The Trotters still have a chance to stave off relegation if they can win their final game against Nottingham Forest and get some help from other teams.
Lynden Gooch - Sunderland
If the midfielder knows what's best for him, he will have his agent working overtime to get him out of the team during the summer transfer window. The Stadium of Light has turned to one of pessimism and darkness due to mismanagement by the front office.
And back-to-back relegations does not help matters for the team as they will prepare for life down in League One.
Neither Gooch nor any of the other players with the team can be at fault for Sunderland's failings. When a team hires nine coaches within the span of nine years, there must be problems internally.
Sunderland's free fall may further raise questions about foreign ownership in teams. Ellis Short, the American businessman who took full control of the team in May 2009, recently sold the it to a consortium, so it might give the Black Cats' fans some hope that has turned a corner and will quickly move back up from the third tier.
As for Gooch, at 22 years old, he is still young enough to get looks from other teams in the Championship or a non-contending Premier League team (Burnley could be a good fit). He's never really been able to show his potential at Sunderland and a move away would definitely be in his best interest.
Brendan Moore - Rochdale
Brendan Moore may not be that well known around US Soccer circles, but he has been playing in England for a few years.
Signed by Fleetwood Town prior to the 2015-2016 season, the New York-born goalkeeper has seen most of his playing time with non-league team Torquay United. He then went on to sign with Rochdale at the start of this season.
Moore has spent most of his time on the bench this season having only played in three games.
The Dale come into this weekend's final game looking to overtake Oldham Athletic as a single point separates them from survival.
They will have to be at the top of their game when they face Charlton Athletic at home.