Americans Abroad: Friedel's record streak ends unceremoniously
When Hugo Lloris signed with Tottenham on the final day of the summer transfer window, the writing began to be etched on Brad Friedel's wall. Lloris, France's No. 1 goalkeeper and one of the most highly regarded young keepers in the world, did not move from Lyon to idly sit and only play in cup games while Friedel maintained the starting role full-time, nor did Tottenham spend big money to lure a goalkeeper of Lloris' quality for him to be a backup.
Considering that, it is not a shock that Friedel's Premier League record streak of consecutive starts came to an end this season. That his stretch of 310 straight came to an end so abruptly, unceremoniously and without any fanfare whatsoever Sunday at White Hart Lane, though, is quite unfortunate. What the 41-year-old Friedel has been able to do over the past eight years, standing the test of time, avoiding injury and maintaining his quality in different settings and for different managers at Blackburn, Aston Villa and Tottenham, has been nothing short of astounding. As much as Cal Ripken Jr.'s consecutive games played streak in baseball is revered in the United States, Friedel's streak was seemingly met with almost an indifferent acknowledgement overseas, as perhaps his place between the posts was taken for granted all this time.
Friedel's time at Tottenham is far from done, and, by all accounts and based on comments made by 34-year-old Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas, he will be locked in a time share and competition with Lloris the rest of this season. As he turns the page on a legendary achievement, Friedel has passed the active start streak baton to fellow American Tim Howard, the Everton stalwart and former USA teammate of Friedel who is at 190 and about four years of injury-free and form-dropping-free soccer away from supplanting Friedel in the record books. Before everyone else turns the page on Friedel, who has set the bar for American longevity at the highest level in England, though, his historic run deserves a higher degree of acknowledgment, especially from those in the league where he has become a fixture for so long.
Another American who likely deserved better this week was Dutch-league leading scorer Jozy Altidore, who was harshly sent off during AZ Alkmaar's match with FC Twente for receiving consecutive yellow cards within seconds of each other for dissent and had that followed up by shockingly being left off of Jurgen Klinsmann's roster for the United States' upcoming World Cup qualifiers. The focus on Altidore overshadowed some major achievements over the weekend, as Michael Bradley returned to AS Roma's lineup after being out for more than a month and marked his return with his first goal for the club; forwards Terrence Boyd and Herculez Gomez each scored goals in their respective clubs' 1-1 draws and Maurice Edu made his long-awaited debut for Stoke City, doing so at storied Anfield while helping see out a 0-0 draw for the Potters against Liverpool. Here is how they and the other Americans playing abroad fared this past week (season statistics encompass all competitions):