Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

Jonathan Spector 4 (Getty Images)

By FRANCO PANIZO

The U.S. national team has yet to find an ideal solution for its problematic situation at left back, but Jonathan Spector's latest performance for West Ham might be a sign that he is the answer.

For the third consecutive game, Spector started at left back and helped relegation-threatened West Ham post a cleansheet in its 0-0 draw with Blackburn. Spector and the Hammers' shutout was their second in the past three games, and brings their goals conceded total to one during that stretch.

Despite much speculation about his immediate future with Stade Rennes, fellow defender Carlos Bocanegra also enjoyed a strong showing this weekend. Bocanegra, who has now started in four of Rennes' last five games, played 90 minutes as the club posted a 4-0 victory over Grenoble.

While the performances by Spector and Bocanegra bode well for an ailing U.S. team backline, the most interesting game may have come on the offensive side of the ball. Freddy Adu made his Aris Salonika debut in a 2-1 defeat to FC Xanthi, but provided an assist to forward Eddie Johnson, whose goal was his first for the Greek club and first since April 8 of last year.

Here is how the Americans Abroad performed this weekend:


England

PREMIERSHIP

  • Landon Donovan started and played 75 minutes in Everton's 1-0 win vs. Wigan Athletic on Saturday.
  • Tim Howard started, played 90 minutes and made two saves in Everton's 1-0 win vs. Wigan Athletic on Saturday.
  • Jozy Altidore started, played 68 minutes, had an ASSIST and drew a penalty kick in Hull City 's 2-2 draw vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday.

  • Clint Dempsey did not dress in Fulham's 2-0 loss vs. Aston Villa on Saturday. He is recovering from a knee injury.
  • Jonathan Spector started and played 90 minutes in West Ham's 0-0 draw vs. Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.
  • Brad Friedel started, played 90 minutes and made four saves in Aston Villa's 2-0 win vs. Fulham on Saturday.
  • Brad Guzan dressed but did not play in Aston Villa's 2-0 win vs. Fulham on Saturday.

  • Marcus Hahnemann started, played 90 minutes and made three saves in Wolverhampton Wanderers' 2-2 draw vs. Hull City on Saturday.

  • Stuart Holden did not dress in Bolton Wanderers' 2-0 loss vs. Liverpool on Sunday.

COCA COLA CHAMPIONSHIP

  • Jay DeMerit and Watford's match vs. Swansea City on Saturday was postponed.
  • Frank Simek came off the bench and played 24 minutes in Sheffield Wednesday's 2-1 win vs. Plymouth Argyle on Saturday.
  • Kenny Cooper did not dress in Plymouth Argyle's 2-1 loss vs. Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.

LEAGUE ONE

  • Ian Joyce did not dress in Southend United's 2-2 draw vs. Swindon Town on Saturday.
  • Zak Whitbread dressed but did not play in Norwich City's 2-1 win vs. Hartlepool United on Saturday.
  • Mike Grella dressed but did not play in Leeds United's 2-0 win vs. Colchester United on Saturday.
  • Jemal Johnson started and played 90 minutes in Stockport County's 2-0 loss vs. Southampton on Saturday.
  • Jon-Paul Pittman came off the bench and played 9 minutes in Wycombe Wanderers' 3-2 win vs. Bristole Rovers on Saturday.

Scotland

  • Maurice Edu did not dress in Rangers' 3-0 win vs. Falkirk on Saturday. He is recovering from an ankle injury.
  • DaMarcus Beasley did not dress in Rangers' 3-0 win vs. Falkirk on Saturday. He is recovering from a thigh injury. 
  • Dominic Cervi did not dress in Celtic's 1-0 win vs. Hamilton Academical on Saturday.

Italy

  • Oguchi Onyewu did not dress in AC Milan's 1-1 draw vs. Livorno on Sunday. He is recovering from a knee injury.

Germany

BUNDESLIGA

  • Michael Bradley started and played 90 minutes in Borussia Moenchengladbach's 4-3 win vs. Werder Bremen on Saturday.
  • Sal Zizzo did not dress in Hannover 96's 3-1 loss vs. Nurnberg on Saturday. He is recovering from a knee injury.
  • Jermaine Jones did not dress in Schalke 04's 2-0 win vs. TSG Hoffenheim on Saturday. He is recovering from a leg injury.
  • Ricardo Clark did not dress in Eintracht Frankfurt's 2-1 loss vs. FC Cologne on Saturday.

BUNDESLIGA 2 

  • Luis Robles and Kaiserslautern play Alemania Aachen on Monday.
  • Matt Taylor did not dress in FSV Frankfurt's 2-0 loss vs. SC Paderborn 07 on Sunday.
  • David Yeldell did not dress in TUS Koblenz's 1-0 win vs. Fortuna Dusseldorf on Friday. He is recovering from a leg injury.

France

  • Carlos Bocanegra started and played 90 minutes in Stade Rennes' 4-0 win vs. Grenoble on Saturday.
  • Charlie Davies did not dress in Sochaux's 1-1 draw vs. Valenciennes on Sunday. He is recovering from multiple injuries. 

Portugal

  • Kamani Hill did not dress in Vitoria de Guimaraes' 3-1 loss vs. Benfica.

Greece

  • Freddy Adu came off the bench, played 26 minutes and had an ASSIST in Aris Salonika's 2-1 loss vs. FC Xanthi on Sunday.
  • Eddie Johnson came off the bench, played 20 minutes, received a yellow card and scored a GOAL in Aris Salonika's 2-1 loss vs. FC Xanthi on Sunday.


Mexico

  • Jose Francisco Torres started and played 66 minutes in Pachuca's 5-1 win vs. Atlante on Saturday.
  • Edgar Castillo did not dress in Tigres UANL's 3-1 loss vs. Guadalajara on Saturday.
  • Marco Vidal and Indios de Ciudad Juarez play America on Sunday evening.
  • Herculez Gomez came off the bench and played 20 minutes in Puebla's 2-1 loss vs. Queretaro on Sunday.

—————————–

What do you think of these performances? Is Spector is the solution at left back? How happy are you to see Bocanegra getting back in the mix with Rennes? Do you see Adu and Johnson continuing to wreak havoc on defenses?

Share your thoughts below.

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86 Responses to Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

  1. Matt says:

    spector is not a solution at right back because wynn should never see the field at right back. who else at right back? i mean really why would you even consider him as a left back option when our other option there (bornstein) is signifcantly better than our alternative right back option

  2. bryan says:

    why did castillo not play?

  3. Sg says:

    Lets just hope none of these guys are friends with that slimeball John Terry. What a loser he is….. say goodbye to your England captaincy

  4. Dannyc58 says:

    As a West Ham fan, I was able to sit through that game, and ONLY because I am a West Ham fan. Dire!

    Anyway, I thought Spector was really good. Made on “probing” (as the Brits say) run into the box, and had several diagonal balls going all the way across the field that hit the winger/forwards.

    And defensively, he has been the LB for the last 3 games, and West Ham has let in 1 goal in 3 games (Villa, Portsmouth, Blackburn).

    He can be the right back. His left foot is solid, and he plays the ball on the floor very well now…

  5. Neuwerld says:

    Cherundolo and Spector are clearly the best outside backs the US has. When Dolo is back from injury he could play on the right with Spector on the left.

  6. Karl says:

    Not to nit pick, but since stu holden signed with Boltan shouldn’t he be considered YA?

  7. BadWolf says:

    Good to see some success for Adu/EJ – but its one game…need more to make a call.
    Rennes have said that they need a replacement for Boca before they will let him leave…the transfer window closes tomorrow so we won’t have long to wait.
    I like Spector..he’s a work horse..and team player.
    I thought that Donovan had a good showing as well.
    Jozy was a game changer yesterday, he was a real pain in the a// to Wolves..they seem to get a second wind when he was subbed ( Brown is a d..k)
    Overall I though the YA had a good weekend

  8. grubbsbl says:

    Stu is listed…..

  9. Beckster says:

    Spector got pretty good marks in the Sky Sports ratings – at least by the fans. He apparently played pretty well, however, before we get overly excited, Ilunga should be back next week and West Ham is trying to get a right back before the close of the transfer window. Spector doesn’t seem to be a regular 1st choice for Zola but rather an important sub who is valued for his ability to play multiple positions. Let’s hope he continues to get time – I agree that he is the best left back option we have.

  10. RPH says:

    Ives, I watched the Everton match and was pretty sure that Landon played the entire 90 minutes, at least I didn’t see him subbed off. Maybe I just missed it.

  11. bryan says:

    you missed it then. he was subbed for sure.

  12. Tony says:

    Im glad some important players did well but there seem to be alot more ‘did not dress’ statuses on that list without injury than there were earlier in the season. C’mon boys, lets pick it up down the stretch!

  13. einar says:

    u mean cuz of injuries and most r goalies?

  14. M says:

    Ives, Holden is injured right now. That’s why he didn’t play.

  15. Joamiq says:

    Uhh… Steve Cherundolo? Who said anything about Marvelle Wynne?

  16. Joamiq says:

    Franco wrote this, not Ives

  17. Tom Patton says:

    I worry about Edu, Beasley and Boca getting consistent minutes.

    Spector is one of our best 4 backs-like it or not. Especially because GOOCH WILL HAVE NO GAME MINUTES BEFORE SA. And in the past when he has not been playing regularly he has been terrible. Remember Newcastle? And that was healthy.

    I wish you all would get that in your head. You are counting on someone who will be at a very low level because he isn’t going to get any minutes at Milan even if he gets back in the next month.

    In short, he should be a resrve and if he gets on the pitch he may be a liability because of the injury and his signing with a club where he was never going to get many minutes even if he had stayed healthy.

  18. Jeff says:

    Spector is definitely one of the more talented players on the American roster. I believe that he needs to be on the field somewhere, rather than on the bench.

  19. aristotle says:

    Matt,

    Can you say that five times, fast?

  20. aristotle says:

    It’s a shame about Freddie Adu getting that assist. Now he’s going to think he’s Pele again, and will eventually have to be transferred to an English Conference League team. Eddie will probably end up having to go with him. I think they might be able to help Oxford United get promoted to Division Two.

  21. Isaac says:

    I think Spector is just better for teams like Spain, Brazil and England where the USA isn’t going to have a lot of the possession, because he’s great at reading the game, picking times to get forward from the back, and his distribution out of the back is great. When we play teams like Algeria and Slovenia where we’ll have the possession, we should play Cherundolo and Bornstein as fullbacks since they’ll be able to overlap with pace and help the USA possess the ball in different positions. Now, we COULD play this lineup:

    ——————Altidore—————-

    ———-Donovan———-Dempsey——–

    Torres————Bradley———-Spector

    Bornstein———————–Cherundolo

    ———–Bocanegra—-Onyewu————

    ——————-Howard—————–

  22. ETJ says:

    Tom,

    I’m not sure I agree with your assessment of Gooch. I think that simply practicing for AC Milan, which is one of the best clubs in the world right now, will keep him in shape. Obviously getting consistent game minutes would be ideal, however he isn’t languishing on the bench of some League 1 team, he is spending the week training with some of the best players in the world. Please “get that into your head.” Obviously the coaches of the USMNT will better be able to judge his readiness in June, but I’m fairly certain that he won’t, and shouldn’t, be a reserve. Please also refrain from comparing the present Gooch to the one at Newcastle, its ridiculous

  23. wally says:

    Agreed. How can you follow a captain into battle that might try to screw your girl afterwards?

  24. jim says:

    it’s a shame you got conceived, now you think you can b…. and criticize Adu for doing well while doing the same when he’s not.

    such a douche….

  25. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Cherundolo gets no respect…guy is in the top five when it comes to Yank careers in Europe and Matt doesn’t even remember he is ahead of Wynn on the depth chart…

  26. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Sorry, dude, in that formation DOnovan would spend the entire game chasing attacker back into our box.

  27. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Spector, by the way, is a stone cold lock for the WC roster. His ability to play any spot on the back line makes him indispensible, whether he starts or not.

  28. Isaac says:

    How exactly do you know? this lineup allows Donovan and Dempsey free roam of the midfield and they can take turns playing alongsides Altidore as the second forward. Torres and Spector can push centrally and play next to Bradley while still having chances to float to the side and up the flanks to provide their good crosses. When Torres and Spector are in the center next to Bradley, Bornstein and Cherundolo can overlap and cross the ball.

  29. BrianK says:

    It seems to me that this is one of the most productive weekends for Yanks Abroad. A goodly amount of players contributing to team wins.

    Loved Adu’s ball to Johnson. As noted in earlier posts,…Johnson got a little lucky but maybe this is exactly what Ed and Fred needed to get things going in Greece.

    I was very encouraged by the news of Spector’s and Altidore’s performances.

    USA back line on SA – Cherundolo, DeMerit, Bocanegra, Spector.

  30. Glass House Dweller says:

    Easily if he helps win you a World Cup. Are you that naive?

  31. will m. says:

    we have a guy in our pool named herculez?! he should start immediately

  32. Hokie_Futbol says:

    I don’t think I have agreed with a comment more on this blog. I personally think that Spector will start though (somewhere).

  33. BetaMale says:

    you must be new to American soccer. Herc will never break into the WC squad.

  34. Moron Hater says:

    Gooch will have GAME MINUTES in March with the Nats, He also was signed by one of the most historic and richest club in the world.

    In short, name me two center backs that you would trust in front of Gooch and why? You seem to be very un-informed on the subject, because Gooch will have months to get back in game shape, much before Dempsey. Should we sit him too?

  35. will m. says:

    it was a joke. i was just saying herculez gomez is an awesome name.

  36. Brad says:

    It doesn’t matter who we start on our backline, none of them are going to be able to handle Wayne Rooney and Agbonlahor (sp?) the way they are playing now. I hope they slow down before the WC or don’t mesh with their national team-mates…

  37. JR says:

    bob wont stray from from the 4-4-2

    if injuries kill our attacking options (no chuck, demps, beasley) jozy and donovan up top might happen

    —–jozy–LD—–

    –benny—mb—clark—stu–

    –JB–Boca–Gooch–Spector–

  38. Gesar says:

    sex scandals help…………….

  39. DaveW says:

    Yanks Abroad said he was injured in their preview of Mexican league games for this weekend.

  40. fischy says:

    Yes, but he’s listed with Bolton, not Boltan. Karl is looking for some team called Boltan in who know what league…

  41. wally says:

    I think you are wrong. The great sports teams are greater than the sum of their parts because each guy fights and battles for the guy next to him, selflessly giving everything he has for team and team-mate. This only works with some level of mutual respect and admiration.

    Sleeping with your mate’s girl is not the way to achieve that. Do you think the great Pats teams are as good if Tom Brady sleeps with his left tackle’s girl. If magic does Kareem’s wife…

    Wanna know what happens when the the franchise players fight over women, see Dallas Mavericks 1990s..

  42. fischy says:

    I think “drew a penalty” is a spot on description. The more I watch Altidore’s highlight the more convinced I am that he suckered a call, or at least intentionally drew the contact. He pulls up short and actually starts to duck before the defender comes over his back.

  43. Hey, to his credit, Herculez already has two caps to his name.

  44. Joamiq says:

    It would take some luck for sure, but a disciplined defensive effort could stop them. It’ll take a dominant performance from whoever starts out of Gooch/Bocanegra/DeMerit and some tireless work by whatever d-mid starts with Bradley, but it’s possible.

  45. RedLine55 says:

    Someone needs to check the space-time continuum machine… I think this post belongs to 2007

  46. Big Chil says:

    That was the biggest ‘Big Love,’ ever. Just saying.

  47. Jamie Z. says:

    Boltan currently sit seventh in the Xarmox Premier League of planet Mordon B, the fourth planet revolving around the star Yildun in the Ursa Minor constellation. They got off to a slow start, but their win over Wolgar FC has given their campaign new life.

  48. Gacm32 says:

    Aristotle huh? You could have fooled me with the comment man.

  49. fischy says:

    Perhaps Daniel Williams doesn’t merit inclusion in Americans Abroad, but it’s worth noting here that the 20 y.o. dual national started his 2nd-consecutive Bundesliga match for Freiburg.

  50. aristotle says:

    Guys like you really shouldn’t post. You have absolutely no sense of humor and or intelligence. Everything is dead serious and about hate to you. At least go post on political boards. It will be a much better fit for you. You can hate until your heart is content.

  51. aristotle says:

    Guys like you really shouldn’t post. You have absolutely no sense of humor and or intelligence. Everything is dead serious and about hate to you. At least go post on political boards. It will be a much better fit for you. You can hate until your heart is content.

  52. Lu says:

    spector should ALWAYS start over johnny B

  53. Jeremiah says:

    Maybe John Terry will sleep with their wives…

  54. Matt says:

    Season ticket holder at WHU. Saturday was by far Spector’s best game of the season. With a stready run of games his confidence seems to be growing. Zola even lets him make a few runs forward as well. Still think he is better suited on the right, but never the less a good game for 18.

  55. jmadsen says:

    Don’t believe it. Wolgar was playing their 3rd string keeper, who had the flu and three broken fingers.

    (Incidentally, broke them punching out their slimeball captain who had been screwing his girlfriend.)

  56. Austin says:

    that’s what we thought about torres

  57. OmarVizquel says:

    The defender jumped, Jozy stayed on the ground to shield the ball on the rebound. I think the defender figured Jozy would have jumped too (which maybe he should have!), but in doing so he brought Jozy down. Big whoop, teams that draw penalties and free kicks are pretty dang successful (see Germany’s free kick that led to the goal vs the USA in WC2002, Ching’s penalty “claim” vs Mexico in 2007 Gold Cup, Brazil’s free kick that led to their first goal in the first Confed Cup game vs the USA, etc.). I don’t care how we score goals or get chances in SA….I just want loads of ‘em.

    Jozy seems pretty adept at drawing penalties…..do I wish he were a more accurate striker who hit the back of the net more often instead of drilling most of his chances directly at the keeper? Sure. But at this stage he’s not. If he can draw a pen or 2 in SA, I’ll be a smug and satisfied man.

  58. DickNowitski says:

    What a load of BS

  59. fischy says:

    Nicely played.

  60. PrinceBardan says:

    Jamie,

    You must be delirious! What are you smoking.

    Everyone knows tht Boltan was relegated along with Zardoz FC,and Valerian United from the Mongo Premiership. Their owner, Ming Galarcep of Mongo is not happy. Relegation on that planet usually means death for the Captain and the manager.

  61. fischy says:

    That was an original comment…

  62. Bradlee says:

    While this may be true right now, there is still a long and very tough season ahead for Villa and Man U. The English players have a much better chance than the USMNT guys of showing up at the World Cup either burnt out or inured.

  63. B 16 says:

    Is it too late to file the FIFA paperwork for Daniel Williams to play
    for the Yanks? Wishful thinking that he could line up for us vs. The Dutch next month esp.
    With ‘Dolo’s injury?

  64. Stephen says:

    Um, it was his ex-girl.

  65. Josh D says:

    Ives, according to BBC: “I work for Rushcliffe Borough Council, next to the City Ground. I have just seen someone jump out of a cab who one of my colleagues identifies as Jonathan Bornstein – apparently an American international left-back.”

  66. Judging Amy says:

    She became his ex-girl after he found out about it. When the papers say she’s his ex-girl they mean now not at the time Terry was hitting it.

  67. Erik says:

    Funniest thing I’ve ever seen on this site.

    Bravo.

  68. r.benjamin says:

    Not to mention USMNT 98.. if the rumors are to be beleived.

  69. B 16 says:

    He must be on holiday. I’ve heard England is beautiful this time
    of year!

  70. Jason H says:

    Speaking as a West Ham fan, I’d personally take Spector in the RB position over Faubert any day of the week. I know it’s not Faubert’s typical position, but even Spector’s crossing abilities are far better compared to the Frenchy’s misfires.

    Spector should be head and shoulders above Bornstein in the pecking order.

  71. davidaubudavid says:

    i believe cherundolo is ahead of spector on the depth chart, and if he isn’t he really should be.

    Personally i dislike wynne quite a bit, but he is not much of a step down from bornstein. I would consider it more of a lateral movement rather than going down. I would say they both have the same amount of downside, yet it manifests itself in different parts of their game.

  72. Eric_the_King says:

    hahahaha…. nicely done RedLine. Why are we even discussing Wynne? The guy is terrible. In the top 3 of worst players in our current USMNT pool. There’s a reason why the majority of time he sees on the field is during friendlies. If anyone else mentions Wynne in a another thread I may ….. well, i don’t know what I’d do. I will be very, very angry. And I’m going to write you a letter telling you how angry I am.

  73. Eric_the_King says:

    effing hilarious fellas…. keep up the good work

  74. jimmygreaves says:

    The ideal would be for Onyewu to go into the World Cup after a run of games with Milan.

    Besides goalkeeper, the absolute worst place, with the least margin for error, to play a rusty outfield player is at center back. If Davies comes back and he is a litle rusty, he would have a lot more margin of error than Onyewu would.

    If Davies makes a mistake the US has to get back on defense; if Onyeewu screws up, it might lead instantly to a goal.

    On the other hand, there is a big difference between playing a very established starter returning from injury such as Onyewu and playing a new guy who has never been a starter for the USMNT or has not played a lot for them (examples being Jones and Edu).

    It’s way too early yet to figure out just how bad the rust will be and how much it will hurt (or not).

    If the USMNT a settled, clearly established back 4, this might not be an issue, Onyewu would sit. But the back 4 is currently in chaos. If nothing else, Onyewu’s return would add some stability to the back.

  75. Ouch says:

    Too many “Did not dress” and “Did not play” this week :(

  76. Roy Lassiter is a hero says:

    cherunldolo

  77. Roy Lassiter is a hero says:

    who cares about fast running down the field. when u cant get a decent cross.

  78. Roy Lassiter is a hero says:

    im with u tony.

  79. Roy Lassiter is a hero says:

    i agree with wally. obviously none of you have wives or gfs because i couldnt play with a guy who screwed my gf or ex gf. thats just low. teamates should be friends too it think its part of being a team.

  80. Roy Lassiter is a hero says:

    hahahaha!

  81. primoone says:

    I think your spot on in the attacking half…but you need to Delete Bornstein from the team and put spector at LB. Torres to the middle of the field (strictly for distribution) Move Bradly out right and bring in Edu or Beasley on the left)

  82. Who is this guy Adu everyone keeps talking about…. Maybe we should cap him…

  83. Plato says:

    Guys like you really shouldn’t post. You have absolutely no sense of humor and or intelligence. Everything is dead serious and about hate to you. At least go post on political boards. It will be a much better fit for you. You can hate until your heart is content.

  84. dalton says:

    i question bornstien’s experience to play in big games. cherundolo is very experienced and someone whos been on the big stage before. and spector is used to semi-important games in front of large crowds in england. i also like dempsey and altidore up front with davies off the bench. jermaine jones and torres in the midfield. then youve got landon playing at his natural position at right-mid. with holden/rodgers at the left-mid

  85. Getoverit says:

    No wonder you had such a crap international career.

    Short of Bloody murder, Terry stays on the team. If Capello is smart and has a sense of humour he makes Terry and Bridge room together. But the real story here is that Bridge is a scrub and not very important, though the USMNT would welcome him in a NY minute. Screw Bridge, winning is everything.

    Whether he is captain or not is irrelevant. They should just default and give it back to Becks.