Following the United States' big international win over Guatemala on Tuesday that propelled them into the final qualifying round, let’s take a look at how the US stars are doing abroad with their club teams this season.
Clint Dempsey, Forward, Tottenham
He was finally granted a move to a major EPL club in the closing seconds of the transfer deadline, moving from mid-table Fulham to the Tottenham Hotspurs. He has started six games in various European competitions for the Hotspurs thus far, he has only contributed one goal and seems to be having some trouble adjusting to playing for a Champions League contender Although, his only goal was a huge one, as it was the winning goal in what proved to be Tottenham’s first win against Manchester United at Old Trafford since 1989.
Michael Bradley, Midfielder, Roma
Bradley has surely provided a dynamic presence in the midfield for US coach Jurgen Kilnsmann in World Cup Qualifying and now he looks to expand his abilities abroad as well. After a disappointing loan spell with Aston Villa two years ago, he effectively bounced back last year in Italy’s top flight, Serie A, as a consistent starter with Chievo Varona. His consistent play earned him a move to powerhouse Roma this season. Even though he has only started two games, he has looked sharp, contributing a goal and an assist. The question now is whether or not he will be able to keep the coach’s trust and start on a regular basis and, if so, he could possibly prove to be the United States' most important player in Brazil come 2014.
Tim Howard, Goalkeeper, Everton
Goalkeeper Tim Howard has certainly not looked up to form in recent outings for the US. He gave a weak challenge on a breakaway that resulted in a goal against Guatemala and he has certainly not looked anywhere near as dynamic as in the past in international competitions. For his EPL club team Everton however he has been fantastic; singlehandedly propelling his team to a win against Manchester United in week one. Howard has been a key performer for a surprising Everton team, which currently finds itself fourth in the standings of the EPL contending for a Champions League birth. They are just a single point back from last year’s Premier League Champion and runner-up, Manchester City and Manchester United, respectively.
Steve Cherundolo, Defender, Hannover 96
The longtime defender may be getting older, but he is still one of the most valuable pieces of the United States' back line. He’s also the captain of Hannover 96, a Bundesliga team attempting to crack into a Champions League spot, and contending for the Europa League. He’s played almost 350 games for Hannover and already started 13 games for them this year.
Jermaine Jones, Midfielder, Schalke 04
The 30-year-old midfielder is off to a good start for Bundesliga team Schalke 04, as the team is contending for a slot in the Champions League and possibly for league championship. He contributed an early goal and assist for Schalke, however suffered an ankle injury during training and has missed his past few games, including the US game against Guatemala. It doesn’t appear serious and he should return within the next couple weeks.
Geoff Cameron, Defender, Stoke City
After spending several years in the MLS, Cameron, a US defender, has earned himself a transfer to the English Premier League team Stoke City. Stoke isn’t going to threaten for a top spot in the league, but they should be in for a solid mid-table finish. He’s started five of the teams seven games and contributed heavily to a defense which has surrendered the second fewest goals in the EPL thus far. It’s certainly good experience for a player who may come to anchor the US defense for some years to come.
Jozy Altidore, Striker, AZ Alkmaar
In an extremely surprising move, Coach Jurgen Klinsmann elected to leave Altidore off the squad entirely for the game against Guatemala. Lucky for Klinsmann, the decision did not come back to haunt him, but it was certainly perplexing. Jozy has been having a fantastic year for the first-tier Dutch club, AZ Alkmaar, scoring eight goals in only six games. The 22-year-old surely has promise and Klinsmann will have to keep a close eye on him. If his production stays at the same level, it will be almost impossible to leave him off the roster for the final round of World Cup Qualifying.