With the major European leagues winding down, it’s time to renew an annual OT tradition: the OT XI. With our expansion into more coverage of Americans in Mexico, we’ve adjusted the eligibility for the OT XI. In the previousthreeeditions, only Clint Dempsey has managed to be a mainstay. Will that continue this year?
Without any further delay…
Matt Taylor, Preußen Münster (Germany)
Jozy Altidore, AZ (Netherlands)
The 2012-13 OT XI features two forwards for the first time since the 2009-10 team with the lone forwards from each of the last two seasons (Taylor in 2010-11, Altidore in 2011-12) earning the honors. Taylor returned to the 3. Liga after a season in the 2nd Bundesliga and put up another 15+ goal season, scoring 16 as Preußen Münster jumped from mid-table to nearly earning promotion. He added a hat trick in a DFB-Pokal upset over top-tier Werder Bremen. Altidore, unsatisfied with his 19 goals across all matches in 2011-12, decided that he wanted the American record for goals in Europe to return to the Netherlands and shattered Clint Dempsey’s record from last year as he buried 23 league goals and another eight in cup matches.
Michael Bradley, Roma (Italy)
Sacha Kljestan, Anderlecht (Belgium)
Conor O’Brien, SønderjyskE/ Nordsjælland (Denmark)
Clint Dempsey, Totenham Hotspur (England)
After a solid debut season in Serie A with Chievo Verona, Bradley made the jump to perennial power Roma and became a fixture for the Coppa Italia finalists. Kljestan put in another strong season of central midfield play and great mustaches as Anderlecht repeated in Belgium. With that title, Kljestan will play in the Champions League group stage once again. After a decent debut season in the Danish Superliga, O’Brien flourished into full-blown World Cup sleeper with four goals in twenty matches with SønderjyskE. After his contract expired mid-season, he jumped to eventual runners-up FC Nordsjælland and became a regular there by season’s end. Dempsey overcame a slow start following his move to a bigger club to hit double-digit goals across all competitions for the third straight year.
Charles Kazlauskas, Helmond Sport (Netherlands)
John Anthony Brooks, Hertha BSC (Germany)
Geoff Cameron, Stoke City (England)
Edgar Castillo, Tijuana (Mexico)
The Milwaukee native rightback Kazlauskas put in another strong season in the Eerste Divise, scoring five goals across the board as Helmond Sport made the promotion playoffs again. Brooks, in his first full professional season, was dominant as Hertha cruised to the 2nd Bundesliga title. In a crazy centerback stat, he did not receive a yellow card all season. Cameron made the jump from MLS to the Premier League and featured all across the backline in making 35 appearances. Castillo, having made a permanent move to Xolos, put in the strongest season of his previously-troubled career as Tijuana won the Apetura in just their second season in the top flight.
Brad Guzan, Aston Villa (England)
After years of languishing on the bench, Guzan finally got the chance to start regularly in 2012-13. Despite not having a great goals allowed record, Guzan single-handedly kept a dreadful Aston Villa defense afloat. With Villa frequently starting 3+ defenders under the age of 23, Guzan came up with critical save after critical save, earning his teammates’ vote as their player of the year.
Jozy Altidore, F, AZ
Altidore becomes the first person to win this award not from Nacogdoches, Texas, to win this award. His 31 goals, as stated, broke Clint Dempey’s American-in-Europe record of 23 from last year while stealing the MVP award away from him as well. AZ, despite a poor Eredivise campaign, won the KNVB Cup for the first time in 31 years behind his winning goal in the final. Altidore will almost assuredly leave the Netherlands this summer after finishing 4th in the Dutch scoring charts.
Goal of the Year
It may have looked awkward, but Clint Dempey’s 35-yard goal against Stoke City late in the season was simply splendid.
Performance of the Year
In a critical late season match against Manchester City, Clint Dempsey sparked Tottenham’s dramatic comeback with a goal and an assist in Spurs’ 3-1 victory that kept their Champions League hopes alive for the time. It was exactly the type of match and performance that we people wanted to see Deuce come up with after his move from Fulham.
Howie’s Pick – Charles Kazlauskas (Helmond Sport – Dutch Eerste Divisie)
Charles Kazlauskas scored a goal and drew a penalty that was converted for another goal in Helmond Sport’s 2-1 win over Eindhoven that kept them alive in their title chase (highlights here).
Matt’s Pick - Tony Taylor (Estoril – Portuguese Primeira Liga)
Tony Taylor scored his first top-flight goal over the weekend in the seventh minute of stoppage time to give Estoril a 1-1 draw (highlights here). If Taylor can bag a few more, maybe he can make a run at making the Gold Cup roster.
Charles Kazlauskas scored a goal and drew a PK which led to another goal in Helmond Sport’s 2-1 win over Eindhoven on Friday. That gives Kazlauskas four league goals (five across all competitions) this season. His goal is around the 4:10 mark.
After scoring seven goals last season between the regular season and playoffs, Charles Kazlauskas opened up the 2012-13 campaign with a goal in Helmond Sport’s season-opening 2-1 victory over Telstar. I can’t embed the highlights, but you can find them here.
A few guys scored goals today, but I can’t find any highlights as of right now. Chad Barrett had a good game, getting involved in two of the goals. As for the goal scorers, Charles Kazlauskas scored a goal in Helmond Sport’s season-opening 2-1 victory over Telstar. And Jann George (Nurnberg II) and Andrew Wooten (Kaiserslautern II) each scored in their respective Regionalliga games.
Also while looking through the box scores from today, I noticed that Quentin Westberg is no longer with Evian TG. He got the start at goalkeeper for US Luzenac in their 1-0 loss to Boulogne in the French National (third division) today.
A couple of guys in action on Thursday, including one goal. Also of note, Charles Kazlauskas did not play in Helmond Sport’s 2-1 loss to VVV-Venlo in the first leg of the promotion playoffs. He did pick up a yellow card in each of his last two games, so I am wondering if he missed today’s game due to yellow card accumulation. The second leg will take place on Sunday.
Ryan Miller (Halmstads BK – Swedish Allsvenskan) – Ryan got the start and went the full 90 minutes in Halmstads BK’s 0-0 draw to Angelholms FF.
Justin Moose (SJK – Finnish Ykkönen) – Justin came off the bench and played 34 minutes in SJK’s 2-1 victory over PK-35 Vantaa.
Matt Pyzdrowski (Angelholms FF – Swedish Superettan) – Matt got the start and went the full 90 minutes in Angelholms FF’s 0-0 draw to Halmstads BK.
Aaron Wheeler (KooTeePee – Finnish Ykkönen) – Aaron scored a goal in KooTeePee’s 3-1 loss to RoPS.
Howie’s Pick – Charles Kazlauskas (Helmond Sport – Dutch Eerste Divisie)
Charles Kazlauskas scored the winning goal for Helmond Sport in their 1-0 Eredivisie promotion playoffs win over Eindhoven.
Matt’s Pick – Charles Kazlauskas (Helmond Sport – Dutch Eerste Divisie)
Lots of good options this week (Maurice Edu or Josh Gatt), but I also went with Charles Kazlauskas. Kazlauskas scored in each leg of Helmond Sport’s promotion playoffs and now they have a two-legged series with VVV-Venlo with a spot in next year’s Eredivisie on the line.
Charles Kazlauskas and Helmond Sport kicked off their Eredivisie promotion playoffs with a 1-0 win over Eindhoven in the first leg with Kazlauskas supplying the game-winning goal. I can’t get the video to embed, so click here to go to the matchcenter and click the play button next to his name to see the goal.
Wanted to get these in before the weekend (and tonight’s baseball game).
Bill Hamid is headed to England to train with West Bromwich Albion. Some of you might remember Jurgen Klinsmann saying that he wants players in MLS to be playing more year round since the competition is not as tough as in Europe and training stints like this might be one way to fill the void.
Charles Kazlauskas scored his fifth goal of the season in Helmond Sport’s 3-0 victory over Telstar today. You can check out highlights here (1:15 mark). It also looks like he set up the first goal of the game.
I mentioned yesterday how Matt Pyzdrowski and Angelholms FF defeated Syrianska FC in the first leg of the Allsvenskan promotion playoffs. You can find highlights from that match here.
According to Stuttgarter Kickers’ website, German-American fullback Royal-Dominique Fennell has been called into the US’ U-23 camp next month. And Brian Sciaretta told me on twitter that he is hearing that Terrence Boyd, Jared Jeffrey and Cody Cropper have also been called into the U-23/U-20 camp.
And finally, 30-year-old goalkeeper Kellan Wilson is headed back to the US after playing with Finnish side HIFK this past season.