Getty Images

How did USMNT players perform in Premier League this season?

Leave a comment

All week at ProSoccerTalk we are reviewing the dramatic 2015-16 Premier League season.

From dishing out awards to looking back at the highs and lows in the as 20 teams battled it out, we’ll have every angle covered.

MORE: All 2015-16 PL season reviews ]

For the full archive of our review content, just hit the link above. Now, it is time to analyze the U.S. national team contingent playing in the Premier League. The pool has grown smaller over the past few years and it is set to shrink once more this summer.

With Tim Howard heading back to Major League Soccer with the Colorado Rapids and Brad Guzan‘s Aston Villa relegated, for the first time in decades we will not have a U.S. goalkeeper in the PL.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]  

Five USMNT players saw minutes in the Premier League this season, so we thought now would be a good time to analyze how they got on.


Geoff Cameron

Geoff Cameron, Stoke City FC

Another very solid season for the Massachusetts native as he operated mainly at center back and in central midfield for Stoke but also slotted in at right back when needed. Cameron has now notched 129 Premier League appearances in his four seasons at Stoke and has become a mainstay in Mark Hughes‘s side. The Potters flirted with the top six and were knocked out on penalty kicks by Liverpool in the Capital One Cup semifinals. For the third-straight season Stoke finished ninth and Cameron suffered a nasty ankle injury midseason which he recovered from well.

[ VIDEO: Live from Geoff Cameron’s living room ]

The highlight for Cameron was perhaps scoring the winning penalty kick in an early Capital One Cup tie against Luton Town as fans chanted “USA! USA!” repeatedly. He also put in stellar performances against Manchester City in midfield and against Chelsea away from home. All in all, another hugely successful season as Cameron will be a sure starter in central defense for the U.S. this summer at the Copa America Centenario.

Premier League Appearances: 30


Tim Howard

LIVERPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 15: Tim Howard of Everton shakes hands with team mates after his final Everton match during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Norwich City at Goodison Park on May 15, 2016 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)

This season turned out to be Howard’s 13th and final campaign in the Premier League. The New Jersey native, 37, said an emotional farewell to Everton on Sunday as he’s ended his 10-year association with the Goodison Park club. Howard has had his critics among the Everton faithful this season but it seemed a little harsh, especially given the shaky defense he was playing in front of. Everton — who finished in 11th place — fired Roberto Martinez after a poor season but scattered in among in all that Howard put in some great displays, with one at Tottenham sticking out early on. Midway through the campaign he did lose his place to Joel Robles after a loss of form and struggling with a calf injury.

[ MORE: Howard chats with JPW ]

Now that Howard’s 13-year career in the PL is over and he heads to Colorado in MLS for the next chapter in his career, he can look back fondly on his 491 total appearances in England with Manchester United and Everton.

The U.S. national team goalkeeper has been leading the charge for American players to gain respect overseas and he has certainly succeeded in doing that. With U.S. flags aplenty and adulation from all four corners of Goodison on Sunday, it was a fitting end to Howard’s fine career in England.

Premier League Appearances: 25


Brad Guzan

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 22: Brad Guzan of Aston Villa during the Barclays Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Aston Villa at Selhurst Park on August 22, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

What an awful, horrendous season for Guzan. The Illinois native wasn’t solely at fault for Villa’s relegation but he will be hugely disappointed as they were relegated from the Premier League for the first time in their history. Guzan will be playing in the Championship next season if he chooses to stay with Villa.

Guzan, 31, has had an up and down year as he’s been dropped for Mark Bunn, made a few high-profile errors but also kept the scoreline from getting embarrassing for Villa on many occasions. It was also alleged he was involved in an incident between some players and Villa fans during an FA Cup game at Wycombe Wanderers in January. Overall, a bad season for Guzan just as he was threatening to take over the number one jersey for the USMNT.

Premier League Appearances: 28


DeAndre Yedlin

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 13: DeAndre Yedlin of Sunderland is tackled by Cameron Borthwick-Jackson of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Manchester United at the Stadium of Light on February 13, 2016 in Sunderland, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

As the season wore on Yedlin got better and better. On loan from Tottenham Hotspur, the Seattle native struggled to get into the team at the Stadium of Light under Dick Advocaat. However, as soon as Sam Allardyce arrived his fortunes turned around and he helped Sunderland on its way to performing yet another great escape as they stayed up in the Premier League.

Yedlin was caught out defensively early on with Manchester City and Arsenal teaching him a lesson but the right back has become more solid throughout the campaign and has picked his moments to attack. Allardyce called him out on some of his defensive duties but the raw pace and athleticism he possesses will always be a threat to opponents. He provided a superb assist for Jermain Defoe in the crucial win against Chelsea last weekend and reports suggest that Sunderland will make an offer to Tottenham to sign Yedlin, 22, permanently this summer.

Let’s see what happens there but Yedlin will certainly be Klinsmann’s first-choice right back this summer and has improved almost on a weekly basis during his loan spell at Sunderland.

Premier League Appearances: 23


Matt Miazga

SWANSEA, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 09: Jefferson Montero of Swansea City and Matt Miazga of Chelsea compete for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Chelsea at the Liberty Stadium on April 9, 2016 in Swansea, Wales. (Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)

Just two appearances for Miazga, 20, since his shock move to Chelsea from the New York Red Bulls in January. On his debut he looked composed and calm in a 4-0 win at Aston Villa, however he was hooked off in his second game at half time at Swansea after a few mistakes.

[ MORE: Sitting down with Miazga at Chelsea ]

Miazga is young and his future remains uncertain at Chelsea with new manager Antonio Conte arriving in the summer. He showed he has potential to play for the first team but next season he will likely go out on loan to gain experience playing in Europe. The RBNY academy product is rough around the edges and it will be interesting to see if Klinsmann selects him in his final 23-man squad for Copa America this summer.

Premier League Appearances: 2

Rankings the comeback potential of Champions League sides

UEFA Champions League
Photo by Burak Akbulut/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Maybe Group H of the UEFA Champions League was very soft.

Chelsea and Valencia are in massive holes after 90 minutes of the Round of 16, and third-place Ajax is a 2-0 hole in its Europa League tie.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

The other six teams’ disadvantages after one leg range from tricky to barely existent.

Let’s rate which teams have the best chances to climb back and earn a spot in the quarterfinals.

8. Chelsea (down 3-0 to Bayern Munich after home leg)

Robert Lewandowski’s injury hurts the Bavarians, but not three goals worth of hurt. And Serge Gnabry has been the one sounding death knells for London clubs.

7. Valencia (down 4-1 to Atalanta after away leg)

The away goal combined with the Serie A side’s relative inexperience in the competition gives Valencia a bit more hope than Chelsea.

6. Napoli (level at 1 with Barcelona after home leg)

On the plus side, Gennaro Gattuso’s men are level. That said, they allowed an away goal to Barca and have to go to the Camp Nou against a side yearning to make better UCL memories.

5. Real Madrid (down 2-1 to Man City after home leg)

Who knows what Pep Guardiola will launch at the Etihad Stadium, but giving him two away goals and a lead opens up his playbook? As for Zinedine Zidane, it was all so one dimensional at the Bernabeu. What’s he have cooking?

4. Tottenham Hotspur (down 1-0 to RB Leipzig after home leg)

Spurs have better UEL experience than their second leg hosts, though the striker problems looms over Jose Mourinho’s plans.

3. Liverpool (down 1-0 to Atletico Madrid after away leg)

It’s easy to imagine the Reds’ rebounding, and even Atleti will doubt its potential to keep Liverpool off the scoreboard at Anfield.

2. Paris Saint-Germain (down 2-1 to Borussia Dortmund after away leg)

Dortmund’s allowed plenty of goals this season, and PSG’s attack is stacked.

1. Juventus (down 1-0 to Lyon after away leg)

It’s difficult to imagine Juve playing as poor as they did Wednesday when they head back to Turin. The Old Lady knew something was wrong in warm-ups. They’ll address it, but can they keep Lyon off the board?

 

Europa League preview: Arsenal, Wolves, Man Utd look to advance

Europa League
Photo by ANP Sport via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Fifteen places remain up for grabs in the Europa League’s Round of 16 after Steven Gerrard’s Rangers handled Braga in Wednesday’s lone second leg.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Notable names Porto, Benfica, and Ajax enter their second legs with hills to climb, while the three Premier League teams have varying degrees of advantage.

Manchester United v. Club Brugge

United enters the second leg at Old Trafford with an away goal advantage after the 1-1 draw in Belgium.

Luke Shaw says the Red Devils are driven by a desire to play for silverware, and the UEL joins the FA Cup as their lone opportunities to claim trophies this year.

“It is a massive ambition for me,” said Shaw, via The Manchester Evening News. “I was there for the Europa League final, and the feeling, even though I wasn’t on the pitch, was a feeling I have not felt and I wanted more of. I wasn’t involved and that is what is pushing me on even more to get into this final, and others. We should be in finals and we should be in all competitions until the end. We are very confident at the moment.”

Arsenal v. Olympiacos

The Gunners claimed a 1-0 result in Greece, and know a draw will be enough to bring Mikel Arteta‘s men to the Round of 16.

The manager was asked what’s different about his Gunners, now back in contention to qualify for Europe via the Premier League table.

“I think the team is progressing well, the club is in a better place,” Arteta said, via Football.London. “We are getting much more unity on the sections of the club and as well a great energy back from the fans every time we play at the Emirates and away from the Emirates. There are a lot of positive things but there are still things to improve individually, collectively and as a club and we are in that process at the moment.”

Espanyol v. Wolves

Wolves rang up a four-goal advantage at the Molineux, and that may give Nuno Espirito Santo a chance to use his depth for a rare time this season.

The boss has counted on players like Conor Coady, Rui Patricio, and Raul Jimenez in all tournaments, and he admits that it’s worn on the squad.

“I wouldn’t say we’ve not suffered,” said Espirito Santo via Wolves’ site. “It’s been tough with a tight schedule, very demanding on the players and I think the credit is on them – the way they compete, the way they prepare themselves to compete, but it’s tough, very tough. … The credit is for the players, it’s for the staff, but the players buying, believing and working very hard, is what makes things go well.”

Look out for Diogo Jota if he plays; The Wolves star has five goals in his past two matches.

Thursday’s second legs

12:55 p.m. ET kickoffs
Istanbul Basaksehir (1-3) v. Sporting Lisbon
Gent (0-1) v. Roma
Malmo (1-2) v. Wolfsburg
LASK (1-1) v. AZ Alkmaar
Porto (1-2) v. Bayer Leverkusen
Espanyol (0-4) v. Wolves
Basel (3-0) v. APOEL Nicosia

3 p.m. ET
Manchester United (1-1) v. Club Brugge
Celtic (1-1) v. Copenhagen
Benfica (1-2) v. Shakhtar Donetsk
Red Bull Salzburg (1-4) v. Eintracht Frankfurt
Inter Milan (2-0) v. Ludogorets Razgrad
Ajax (0-2) v. Getafe
Sevilla (1-1) v. CFR Cluj
Arsenal (1-0) v. Olympiacos

Juventus ‘could tell something wasn’t switched on’ in Lyon

Juventus
Photo by PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Juventus’ obsession with winning another European Cup has the club on edge after a 1-0 first leg loss to Lyon on Wednesday in the first leg of the Round of 16.

Stalwart defender Leonardo Bonucci, defender Danilo, and manager Maurizio Sarri were less than pleased with the performance.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Bonucci was spotted yelling at substitute midfielder Blaise Matuidi in warm-ups, and that was a prelude to a poor performance from most of the team.

“I didn’t tell Matuidi off, I told him the team includes those who are on the bench and we must all be ready to contribute,” Bonucci said, via Football-Italia. “I could tell something wasn’t switched on with the XI starters either. We’ve got to sort this out, as these are the things that make the difference.”

Sarri, the system man, is quite upset with his players after what he said was a lightning-fast training session on Tuesday.

“I don’t know why, I cannot get the players to understand the importance of moving the ball quickly,” said the flummoxed ex-Chelsea man. “This is fundamental, we’ll keep working on it and sooner or later this concept will get into their heads.”

Sarri was happier with the ball movement in the second half, and will expect Juve to do the same in its home second leg.

Danilo had a decent day in the loss. He didn’t sugar coat the performance.

“We cannot just gift the first half to the opposition in such an important tournament. We are aware that we did that and need to work harder,” Danilo said.

Guardiola ‘so proud’ of Man City comeback; KDB, Jesus react to tactics

Pep Guardiola
Photo by Alex Livesey - Danehouse/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Pep Guardiola was grinning widely after his tactical moves set up Manchester City in a 2-1 comeback win over Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.

“I’m so proud,” Guardiola said. “This is the first step. It’s not over. We can enjoy the moment.”

Why wouldn’t he be smiling? Guardiola became the first manager to win Champions League games at the Bernabeu with two different teams, and did it during one of the most controversial periods in club history.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

What was different? Well, Guardiola played Kevin De Bruyne as a sort of second striker and took center forward Gabriel Jesus and deployed him as a left-sided midfielder.

“In the four years we are here with Pep, sometimes there are some surprises,” De Bruyne said. “Even the players don’t really know before the game starts what we need to do. Some were good. We had some lesser moments but in a quality game like this you’re gonna struggle but we fought really well together.”

Jesus had it even weirder, playing as a sort of left midfielder or even wingback with plenty of responsibility going back and forward.

The Brazilian said he has some experience playing wide, but — again — you have to be ready for the full Pep Guardiola experience.

“I can remember my time in the Palmeiras academy and I play like a winger and then become a striker,” he said. “But I go to the pitch to help my team-mates. It doesn’t matter if I have to run back or forwards. I have to help my team-mates. We are learning a lot. We have to play different positions sometimes.”

Guardiola knows the second leg is going to be tough, as Real will put everything into attack.

“When we were better, we conceded a goal,” Guardiola said, via the BBC. “When they were better, we scored a goal. That’s football. I remember the quarterfinal a few seasons ago at Anfield when we played incredibly well and they scored all their shots on target.”

Real will be without center back Sergio Ramos, who was sent off late, while Man City could be missing its best center back. Aymeric Laporte subbed off in the first half.