If inconsistency was the measuring stick of success for Americans playing abroad, then the players are doing a great job. Two weeks ago they had a dreadful week only take it up a notch during last week’s fixtures. However, inconsistency is not the form U.S. National Team manger Jurgen Klinsmann is looking for in a World Cup year. And after another lackluster performance this weekend it leaves many questioning how ready they will be. The exception to this statement is the play of Aron Johannsson. He was able to score twice in AZ Alkmaar’s 4-0 victory bringing his goal total to 23.
Also headlining this weekend’s stories was Brek Shea, who neither found the field nor made the bench in Barnsley 1-0 win. Additionally, it has just been announced that Shea, who has made eight appearances for the Championship side, had his loan stint cut short after making an obscene gesture toward the crowd in their 5-0 loss to Huddlesfield. This will go down as another disappointing and immature performance for a player who was already on the World Cup fringes. This recent idiotic display will surely prevent Shea from making the trip to Brazil and potentially opens the door for other outside wingers to make the bench and provide depth.
In the Premier League, Geoff Cameron continues to rack up starts for Stoke City. Cameron was able to start and play the full 90 in their 1-1 draw at Norwich. The result helped to bring Stoke two games away from the relegation zone. Jozy Altidore failed to make the bench for a second straight game in Sunderland’s 3-0 loss in the FA Cup to Hull City. Altidore’s bad form is opening the door even further for young American Johannsson to step in to the starting job for the Americans in this year’s World Cup.
Everton were romped by Arsenal in the FA Cup. The fixture did not feature American keeper Tim Howard. Fellow American Brad Guzan recorded three saves in Aston Villa’s 4-1 win over Norwich City, pulling themselves in to a tie with West Ham and Stoke in the league standings. This good run of games for the Villains means Guzan and crew will not be in a relegation battle during the final quarter of the season.
In the Championship, Will Packwood and Jonathan Spector accounted for two of the back four for Birmingham City as they were unable to prevent a 2-0 loss to QPR. Tim Ream went the full 90 for Bolton as they crushed Leeds 5-1. After the midweek birth of his child, Ream removed himself from the Ukraine game roster and the dismal display by other defenders have put him back in the conversation. Oguchi Onyewu continued his poor display of football, as he was unable to prevent relegation dwellers Yeovil Town from putting two past Sheffield on Wednesday.
In the Bundesliga, TSG Hoffenhiem and Fabian Johnson lost 4-0 to Schalke. Johnson once again continues to put in good performances that should help land him on the World Cup 2014 squad. After a dreadful midweek friendly with the USA, Anthony Brooks of Hertha Berlin furthered his bad run of games and was not selected in his team’s match.
Elsewhere in Europe, Alejandro Bedoya came on as a sub in the 24th minute and helped Nantes to a 2-2 draw. If it is was not already the case, Bedoya now has one foot on the plane to Brazil after Shea’s flick of a finger. Even though Sacha Kljestan did not play in Anderlecht‘s match, he was another player who moved up in the pecking order as a result of Shea’s actions.
If you are interested in seeing how the Americans Abroad performed over the weekend, check back in every week to see who played, who scored and who did not make the substitutes bench.