Joe Allen

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PST Survey results: Who’s the 2nd best American player?

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The results of PST’s Big American Soccer Survey are in, and our staff will be walking through the results of thousands of votes in a series of posts this week.

We didn’t realize you could acronymize it to BASS, or else we would’ve done it sooner. Next up: the top dogs of the current USMNT… beyond Christian Pulisic.

[ MORE: All Big American Soccer Survey posts ]

There are a number of strong contributors to the United States men’s national team, but there’s simply no question the top player going right now is 19-year-old Pennsylvanian wizard Christian Pulisic.

In addition to being one of, if not the only American player with some electricity in his body against Trinidad and Tobago, Pulisic is among the best players on a top Bundesliga team and has even been tipped as a possible replacement for Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben at Bayern Munich.

Aside from Clint Dempsey‘s five-year run between Fulham and Spurs in the Premier League, there is no American attacking player with a Top Five European league resume as strong as Pulisic who, again, is 19.

But what about beyond him? Tim Howard and Dempsey are deep into their 30s and back in MLS, while Michael Bradley’s play is not at the same level as when he left Roma for Toronto FC. The latter two, along with Jozy Altidore and perhaps sooner Paul Arriola and later Tyler Adams, are the top MLS-based Yanks (assuming they say domestic).

The European crowd have different arguments. Geoff Cameron is one of the most important players on Stoke City, while DeAndre Yedlin is a regular starter for Rafa Benitez at Newcastle United. John Brooks and Bobby Wood matter deeply to their Bundesliga outfits, while 19-year-old Schalke midfielder and Pulisic FIFA rival Weston McKennie is raising eyebrows here and abroad.

So where did you rank ’em?

It’s worth noting that we gave six options to go with a write-in box: Altidore, Bradley, Brooks, Cameron, Dempsey, and Yedlin. Wood and Fabian Johnson received enough write-in votes to prove they should’ve been among the options.

7) Jozy Altidore — 3 percent — A CONCACAF and MLS killer, Altidore unfortunately often needed to drop into the midfield to hold the ball up for Bruce Arena’s feeble midfield. His reputation has dropped amongst USMNT supporters since his failed move to Sunderland, but ask Eredivisie and MLS defenses whether he’s got international quality. The 28-year-old may have not been Premier League quality — many weren’t at Sunderland — but he remains a top American forward. Once an unquestioned favorite to chase down Landon Donovan and Dempsey amongst the all-time leading U.S. scorers, will young competition and Dempsey’s continued relevance keep him from achieving that objective? Altidore currently sits 16 behind both

6) Michael Bradley — 5 percent — The sentiment behind Alexi Lalas’ “Zen burn” is perhaps the reason Bradley doesn’t get enough love and has become a critical magnet amongst USMNT fans, but Toronto fans understand that Bradley’s skill set is still vital. Bradley plays calm and composed, a central midfielder who can make big tackles but usually gets to the ball before one’s needed. His USMNT performances recently make the argument for European football, but Bradley is the top American player in Major League Soccer.

5) Other — 10 percent — Wood was the leader here despite losing steam at Hamburg this season.

4) Clint Dempsey — 16 percent — Perhaps the closest thing U.S. Soccer has to a folk hero outside of Tim Howard’s Belgium performance, Dempsey’s five years between Fulham and Spurs are rarefied air for American attackers abroad. He returned from a serious heart ailment to bag 14 goals and four assists as MLS Comeback Player of the Year, and has helped Seattle not miss injured striker Jordan Morris. Also overlooked: He has five goals and three assists for the USMNT since coming back in March, and three of those goals came in an inspiring hat trick versus Honduras.

3) Geoff Cameron — 17 percent — One of Stoke’s most valuable player, Cameron’s club and country look entirely different without him. Cameron leads the Potters in interceptions per game, offsides won per game, and is behind only Joe Allen, Jese, and Eric Choupo-Moting in dribbles per game. He followed up perhaps his worst match as a USMNT player by being a game-changing sub, only to see Bruce Arena ignore him for the two most important matches of the qualifying mess.

2) John Brooks — 23 percent — The big American center back was a key part of Hertha Berlin’s strong defense last season, and is perhaps under the radar having missed the better part of this early season and the World Cup qualifying debacle. Now at Wolfsburg in a record transfer involving an American, Brooks doesn’t turn 25 until January.

1) DeAndre Yedlin — 26 percent — More than a quarter of you tabbed the Magpies right back, who took his first steps in Europe with Tottenham less than three seasons ago. Still just 24, Yedlin is the most promising American full back/wing back in some time.

Stoke 2-2 Leicester: Potters fight back twice

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  • Iborra, Mahrez gave Leicester lead
  • Shaqiri, Crouch net equalizers
  • Ref Bobby Madley off injured early on

Stoke City fought back twice on Saturday to draw 2-2 with Leicester City at the bet365 Stadium.

The Foxes created the better chances throughout and took the lead through Vicente Iborra in the first half. Before the break Xherdan Shaqiri made it 1-1 but Leicester went 2-1 up early in the second half with Riyad Mahrez scoring a fine solo goal.

Late on Peter Crouch jumped off the bench to head home an equalizer as the Potters and Foxes played out a third 2-2 draw in their last four meetings at the bet365 Stadium.

With the point Stoke move on to 12 points, while Leicester have 13 with Claude Puel unbeaten in two games as Foxes boss.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The first change of the game game unexpectedly as referee Bobby Madley suffered a calf strain and had to be replaced by fourth official Jon Moss.  Stoke had the best chance of the game early on as Eric Chopou-Moting raced free but Kasper Schmeichel saved well.

After plenty of counters, Leicester then took the lead as Riyad Mahrez’s corner from the right found Harry Maguire and his header fell to Iborra who volleyed home his first Premier League. 1-0 to the Foxes.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Mahrez broke free soon after the goal and should’ve played in Vardy but Kurt Zouma recovered well to deny the Algerian winger, then Shaqiri’s pass on the break was too heavy for Joe Allen and moments later Shinji Okazaki had a header brilliantly saved by Jack Butland after Demarai Gray‘s rapid break.

The chances kept coming and Choupo-Moting played a wonderful flicked pass to Shaqiri who finished superbly off the far post to make it 1-1. Moments later Leicester were almost back ahead as Zouma shanked a cross towards his own goal but his clearance flew just over.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ] 

Leicester started well in the second half as Mahrez forced Butland to tip a dipping effort over the bar, then the Algerian flashed an effort just wide of the far post.

At the other end Choupo-Moting pulled the ball back for Allen but the onrushing Welshman couldn’t sort his feet out at the chance came and went.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

In the space of 60 seconds Schmeichel denied Ryan Shawcross‘ header and then Wilfried Ndidi broke up play with a fine challenge which allowed Mahrez to race towards goal, cut inside and slam an effort home. 2-1 to Leicester.

Stoke pushed for the equalizer but looked vulnerable on the break, however Crouch jumped off the bench and nodded home from Shaqiri’s corner to score for the third time this season off the bench. 2-2.

Zouma then nodded a header towards goal in the final seconds of the game but Schmeichel kept it out as Leicester secured a point.

Troy Deeney banned three matches for Joe Allen scuffle

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Watford captain Troy Deeney will be shelved for three matches after receiving a violent conduct charge from the FA for a scrap with Stoke City midfielder Joe Allen where the Watford man was caught grabbing Allen’s face.

In the 94th minute of Watford’s 1-0 loss to Stoke City last weekend, a physical battle between Deeney and Allen in the penalty area boiled over after the whistle, for which both men received yellow cards. However, video after the fact caught Deeney gouging Allen’s cheek with his thumbs, which the FA deemed harsh enough for a violent conduct charge.

Deeney has since accepted the charge and will not appeal.

The two men ended up face-to-face, and a large scuffle ensued, during which it appeared that Deeney also managed to shove Ryan Shawcross to the ground.

Stoke boss Mark Hughes explained that his player was angry because he expected Deeney to send the ball back to Stoke in a sporting manner after the ball was put out of play for an injury. Instead, Deeney attempted to deliver a cross into the box with his team down a goal.

“Clearly we kicked the ball out and the right thing to do in the spirit of the game is throw it back,” he said. “Deeney, the captain of the club, should know better but he shaped to play it into our box and that’s why Joe reacted. More often than not those situations get revisited by people in authority and decisions are made as a consequence.”

Allen laughed off the incident, explaining that he probably should know better than to pick a fight with a player of much larger stature, “It was handbags really and there was nothing to it. I like Troy, he’s one of the good guys, he’s a really good player and it was nothing personal. He’s a big guy and we were both laughing – I knew I was beaten in that situation, but I have a bit of a bad habit of picking the wrong fights!”

Deeney will miss games against Everton, West Ham, and Newcastle and will return for a game against Manchester United at Vicarage Road. Andre Gray will likely get the bulk of the work up front in Deeney’s absence, already playing alongside the Hornets captain in regular deployment.

Watford 0-1 Stoke: Scrappy, invaluable win for Potters

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  • Hornets first back-to-back losses of season
  • Stoke’s first away W of season
  • Fletcher scores 23rd career PL goal

Stoke City fired into a 16th minute lead through Darren Fletcher and held off Watford the rest of the way for a much-needed 1-0 win at Vicarage Road on Saturday.

The Potters rise to 14th with 11 points, while seventh place Watford is passed by Liverpool.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Though Watford came out of the gate well, this was not the same Hornets team we’d seen in recent weeks.

Nor was it the same bunch of Potters, at least in spirit, as Stoke stayed tight defensively and broke through off a clever corner kick.

Xherdan Shaqiri sent his effort to the top of the 18, and Fletcher belted his effort through traffic to make it 1-0 to the visitors in the 16th minute.

Troy Deeney should’ve been sent off for grabbing Joe Allen‘s face, though perhaps the referees did not spy the incident inside of a scrum.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

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Stoke City 2-1 Southampton: Crouch haunts Saints again

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  • Stoke have won four of their last six matches against Saints
  • With 15 matches still to play Southampton have lost 12 PL games in 2017 – as many as they lost in 2016
  • Forster saved Berahino’s PK with Stoke 1-0 up

Stoke City beat Southampton 2-1 as Peter Crouch scored a late winner against his former club, the second time in a row he’s been the hero against Saints.

The Potters led 1-0 at half time after Mame Diouf‘s opener but Saido Berahino had a penalty kick saved by Fraser Forster as Saints hung in there.

Southampton thought they’d nabbed a point late on as Maya Yoshida popped up with a fine finish but Crouch struck with a scrappy late goal to seal the victory.

With the win Stoke move on to eight points, the same total as Southampton.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]  

Stoke started brightly as Eric Choupo-Moting’s shot was deflected over by Virgil Van Dijk, back at the heart of Southampton’s defense for his first start since Jan. 22.

The Potters continued to do most of the pressing in the first half as Xherdan Shaqiri‘s shot was saved well by Forster and then Diouf’s shot was blocked superbly by Mario Lemina.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Nathan Redmond prodded an effort wide for Southampton after racing free and at the other end Stoke had another good chance as Joe Allen burst into the box but his cutback was cleared by Ryan Bertrand.

Choupo-Moting again forced Forster into a fine save as Stoke continued to create the better chances and finally that paid off. Diouf beta Mario Lemina and headed home the opener from Shaqiri’s superb corner and it should have been 2-0 soon after.

Van Dijk clumsily hauled down Berahino in the box but the striker had his spot kick saved by Forster and Saints only trailed 1-0 at half time.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

In the second half the visitors pushed hard for the equalizer as Cedric Soares’ cross was nodded over by Long from a good position.

Saints sent on Sofiane Boufal and Manolo Gabbiadini late on in search of a winner as Mauricio Pellegrino‘s men pinned Stoke back.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ] 

The equalizer did arrive and it came from an unlikely source: Japanese defender Yoshida. He reacted first to Long’s flick on and the center back scored acrobatically to make it 1-1 with 15 minutes left on the clock.

Crouch then popped up to score a scrappy winner as Cedric slipped and Choupo-Moting’s shot was only half blocked by Forster before their substitute pounced to play the hero.

Manolo Gabbiadini had two chances late on but couldn’t take them as Saints suffered their third defeat of the season.