In addition to Dempsey, Altidore, young Americans make statements
Following a week when U.S. men's national team stalwarts Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore added more landmark goals to their lofty resumes -- Dempsey's first Tottenham goal delivered Spurs their first win at Old Trafford in 23 years, and Altidore performed a skill check with his hold, turn, slalom dribble and strike for his Eredivisie-leading eighth goal of the season -- the next generation of American talent has quietly gone about its business climbing the career ladder.
Birmingham's Will Packwood and Santos Laguna's Benji Joya not only share teams with veteran Americans (Packwood with Jonathan Spector and Joya with Herculez Gomez), but they are also beginning to receive valuable, meaningful minutes at extremely early junctures in their careers for teams with lofty aspirations. For Birmingham, this season is all about promotion and reclaiming a place in the Premier League. For Santos, winning another Mexican league title and winning the CONCACAF Champions League are both attainable goals. Both players will ultimately have something to say about all of those tasks, a harbinger of things to come for a pair of 19-year-olds who will don the national team colors on the youth level in the next couple weeks.
Both were selected by U.S. Under-20 coach Tab Ramos for this month's Marbella Cup in Spain, a tournament where the U.S. U-20s will play friendlies against Canada, Scotland and Azerbaijan as part of its preparations for February's CONCACAF U-20 championship -- which doubles as a qualifier for next summer's FIFA U-20 World Cup. Packwood and Joya, about whom Gomez has raved, are not the only progressing foreign-based Americans who will be part of Ramos' roster over the next couple of weeks. John Anthony Brooks, a towering, 19-year-old center back with dual German-American eligibility, is becoming a fixture for Hertha Berlin's matchday roster in Germany's second tier. Marc Pelosi, a former U.S. U-17 captain coming off a knee injury, is being brought along in the Liverpool youth system. Mexico-based forward Daniel Cuevas (who teams with Joya and Gomez), left back Juan Pablo Ocegueda (Tigres UANL), Germany-based midfielder Caleb Stanko (SC Freiburg) and forwards Mario Rodriguez (Kaiserslautern) and Jerome Kiesewetter (Stuttgart) are being brought along at their clubs as well. So as much of the attention continues to revolve around the likes of Dempsey, Altidore and the other U.S. national team standouts of the present, keep an eye on the future of U.S. Soccer.
In addition to Dempsey and Altidore, Fabian Johnson, Mix Diskerud and Timmy Chandler all found the back of the net this past week to headline the performances for the Americans playing abroad. Here is how all fared (season statistics encompass all competitions):