Americans Abroad: Kljestian stars; Scandinavian-based players back into the mix?

Dean Mouhtaropoulos

Sacha Kljestan is this week's star, but among Americans abroad, the biggest winners in recent weeks have been those who ply their trade in Scandinavia. Can any of them translate their form into a Camp Cupcake starring role?

It was a very average, if not poor week for Americans abroad. While Sacha Kljestan was a clear winner from a club and national team perspective and six other USMNT players all went 90 minutes in wins with their club sides, a much higher number of American players either struggled this weekend or played for teams that posted poor results.

The Scandinavian leagues are winding down, while January approaches quickly. Sweden is done for the winter, while Norway has just two rounds to go and Denmark will be taking a winter break, so a number of the players who have played well in those leagues recently might get a shot to impress Jürgen Klinsmann at Camp Cupcake.

The happiest American abroad

This award goes to Sacha Kljestan, who started and finished Anderlecht's 4-1 win over Mechelen. He played in the double pivot of Anderlecht's 4-2-3-1 formation, next to deep-lying playmaker Lucas Biglia. Klinsmann seems to see Kljestan as a substitute wide player to help the U.S. keep the ball late in games, but he might be worth a look in the middle if he can get back to starting regularly in this role for Anderlecht. He's been in and out of the first team this season.

The happy Americans abroad

Michael Parkhurst, Michael Bradley, Brad Guzan, Danny Williams, Fabian Johnson and Steve Cherundolo all went 90 minutes in wins for their teams. Bradley had a very good game on the right side of a midfield three for Roma, though Palermo didn't offer them much opposition. Guzan had another great game in goal for Villa, shutting out Sunderland. The best performance of this group arguably came from Johnson, who provided a brilliant assist in Hoffenheim's 3-2 win over Schalke. Carlos Bocanegra's a bit under the radar these days, given that he plays in the Spanish Segunda, but he started in Racing's 2-1 win this weekend.

Even though their teams didn't win, Mikkel Diskerud and Alejandro Bedoya are probably happy just to get starts and play most of the match after some bad spells at Genk and Rangers, respectably. They've played well since making their moves to Scandinavia and should have a chance to play their way back into Klinsmann's good graces at Camp Cupcake. Steve Clarke is also a starter in Norway's top flight these days, and might get a look in January as well.

The content Americans abroad

If we listed everyone who falls under this category this week, it would go on for pages. A ridiculously high volume of American players put in solid or mediocre performances in draws or losses to obviously superior opposition. This list includes Tijuana's American trio of Joe Corona, Greg Garza and Edgar Castillo, as their team drew 0-0 with San Luis. Also in Mexico, DaMarcus Beasley started, but was subbed off in the second half in Puebla's 2-2 draw with Atlas. Jermaine Jones was okay for Schalke before being taken off in an attacking switch, as his team went down to Hoffenheim.

A crew of young players all turned in respectable performances, but in the case of all of these players, they're very much on the outside looking in towards regular playing time with the senior national side. Eric Lichaj came on after 11 minutes for Aston Villa, replacing the injured Joe Bennett. His team didn't concede, but he looked a bit shaky against Sunderland. John Anthony Brooks and Terrence Boyd both went 90 minutes in their matches, while Tim Ream, Andrew Wooten and Josh Gatt all made lengthy and effective substitute appearances. Joe Gyau got a quick three-minute cameo for 1860 Munich as well.

Charlie Davies and Steve Clark also made appearances, though they're probably both very far away from the national team at this point. Davies got a 15-minute run-out for Randers while Clark started and went 90 in Honefoss' draw. Honefoss look like they're going to stay up in Norway's top flight, and it will be interesting to see whether or not Clark gets a January look.

The sad Americans abroad

A lot of Americans had rough days at the office over the weekend. All of Jose Torres, Geoff Cameron, Brad Friedel, Clint Dempsey, Zak Whitbread, Clarence Goodson, Conor O'Brien and Jozy Altidore started in their teams' losses over the weekend. Friedel was partially at fault for the goal that sunk Tottenham, while Torres' Pachuca was absolutely destroyed by Club America in a 4-0 slaughter. Whitbread was sent off 83 minutes into Leicester's loss to Watford.

All of Michael Orozco Fiscal, Maurice Edu, Stuart Holden, Jonathan Spector and Conor Doyle did not make the 18-man squad for their teams this weekend. Will Packwood and Oguchi Onyewu suited up, but did not play.

The saddest American abroad

This week's winner of the saddest American abroad is Tim Howard, even though Everton drew 2-2 with Fulham. He scored Fulham's opener, putting in an own goal. His play for Everton this season (and last, for that matter) has been mostly solid, but certainly erratic. Brad Guzan has been outrageously consistent in goal for Aston Villa. I'm not saying ... I'm just saying.

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