America is a wonderful land filled with talented footballers. So many, in fact, that some choose to leave the country of their birth and/or citizenship to play outside of its borders. Each week, we'll take a look at how those players are doing and sort them into one of five categories.
The Happiest American Abroad
Jozy Altidore wins the Happiest American Abroad this week. The USMNT's starting center forward scored both of AZ's goals in a 2-2 draw with Ajax. His first was a stunner, scored on a great cutback toward the center from the left flank and finished off with a well-placed finish to the far post in the 48th minute. Two minutes later, he made another pretty goal, playing a beautiful one-two exchange with Maarten Martens before poking a first-time shot into the roof of the net with the outside of his right boot. Check out the prettiness!
The Happy Americans Abroad
Falling into this category is Michael Parkhurst, who plays in defense for Nordsjaelland in Denmark. He scored his team's second goal in a 6-1 rout over Silkeborg. Nordsjaelland are fourth in the Danish Superliga after five rounds of play. He gets this category to himself; Parkhurst was the only American abroad in the national team picture who impressed in a win.
The Content Americans Abroad
Four guys fall into this category after solid performances over the weekend. Midfielder Sacha Kljestan came off the bench and played 24 minutes for Anderlecht in their 3-0 road win over Circle Brugge. Mikkel Diskerud made a bench appearance for Rosenborg, playing 28 minutes in their 3-0 victory over Sogndal. Terrence Boyd made another start for Rapid Vienna in a win, but played just 52 minutes before he was substituted and did not score.
In Mexico, three Americans played in the 2-2 draw between Pachuca and Tijuana. Jose Torres went 45 minutes in a start for Pachuca, while Edgar Castillo and Joe Corona both played 90 minutes for the Xolos. In another match, Michael Orozco-Fiscal played 90 minutes in a 1-1 draw for San Luis against Monterrey.
The Sad Americans Abroad
Talented defender John Anthony Brooks played 90 minutes for Hertha Berlin, but Hertha lost 3-1 to Frankfurt, and fellow American Alfredo Morales did not play. Also on the DNP list this weekend are Josh Gatt of Molde, Clarence Goodson of Brondby, Alejandro Bedoya of Helsingborg, Jonathan Bornstein of UANL Tigres and Greg Garza of Tijuana. Herculez Gomez started for Santos Laguna, but was taken off in the 55th minute of his team's 3-0 loss to Leon. DaMarcus Beastley played 90 minutes for Puebla, but his side struggled in a 1-0 home loss against Cruz Azul.
The Saddest American Abroad
This honor goes to Captain America himself, Carlos Bocanegra. Even though he went 90 minutes, he did so in the fourth division of Scottish Football, which now actually has a team that is fully professional. Rangers were relegated all the way down to Scottish Division Three when they went bankrupt, and they could only manage a 2-2 draw against Peterhead. They only drew because Andrew Little rescued them with a stoppage time equalizer.
Carlos Bocanegra, the captain of the United States men's national soccer team and their best defender, played 90 minutes in a defense that allowed two goals in the fourth division of Scottish football. Think about that.
Monday's other weekend recaps