The ever-growing highlight reel of top-notch, club-level goals scored by Americans has a new addition. And for the first time in a while, it is not another Clint Dempsey special.
Stuart Holden's game-winning goal against Blackburn on Sunday was a true golazo, earning rave reviews for both style and importance. After Blackburn had pulled even in the tightly contested derby, Holden ran onto a flicked-on header, chested the ball to his left foot, in stride, and laced a volley inside the right post immediately after the restart for his second goal of the season.
"Straight from the kickoff I gambled on a flick from (Kevin Davies) and it fell for me," Holden explained on Bolton's team website. "I managed to get my toe on the ball, and it ended up in the back of the net. That's all you can ask for."
Holden, who made his return from a two-game injury absence (thigh), wasn't the only budding American international to make headlines over the past week.
Aston Villa right back Eric Lichaj was the beneficiary of an injury to Luke Young, as he earned his first Premier League start and went the distance in a victory over West Brom. He had featured off the bench for a couple of end-of-the-match cameos in the weeks leading up to his start, and his growth and evolution as a player seems to be right on track.
Celtic goalkeeper Dominic Cervi, who was on the U.S. roster for last month's friendly in South Africa, was sent to Scottish First Division side Dundee FC on a month-long loan. Cervi has yet to feature this season in any match, and perhaps this loan -- and the upcoming transfer window -- will allot him the opportunity to get some much-needed playing time.
Also in the United Kingdom, 19-year-old Derby County striker Conor Doyle continued his whirlwind of a year, earning a call-up to this week's U.S. Under-20 training camp in Florida. Doyle, a Texas native who has dual citizenship (Ireland), has never represented any country on any international level, and he'll be a welcome addition to Thomas Rongen's U-20 squad for this camp, which includes two friendlies against Canada.
Failed World Cup bid or not, the future of U.S. Soccer continues to have a bright outlook, as the beat goes on for those who figure to play a part on the international stage over the next number of years.
Here's how Holden, Lichaj, Cervi, Doyle and the rest of the Americans playing abroad fared over the past week (season statistics encompass all competitions):
Clint Dempsey, M/F, Fulham - Started, played 90 minutes in Fulham's 0-0 draw with Sunderland on Saturday. SEASON: 19 games, 16 starts, 6 goals
Brad Friedel, GK, Aston Villa - Started, played 90 minutes and made one save in Villa's 2-1 victory over West Brom on Saturday. Friedel had the clean sheet lined up until Paul Scharner's 90th-minute strike got West Brom on the board. SEASON: 18 games, 18 starts, 62 saves, 29 goals allowed, 4 clean sheets
Brad Guzan, GK, Aston Villa - In the 18-man gameday roster, did not play in Villa's 2-1 victory over West Brom on Saturday. SEASON: 3 games, 3 starts, 12 saves, 5 goals allowed .
Marcus Hahnemann, GK, Wolverhampton - In the 18, did not play in Wolves' 1-0 victory over Birmingham. With Wayne Hennessey in net, Wolves secured its first clean sheet of the season. Hahnemann's playing-time outlook is bleak. SEASON: 14 games, 14 starts, 45 saves, 25 goals allowed.
Stuart Holden, M, Bolton - Started, played 90 minutes and scored the game-winning goal in the 88th minute of Bolton's 2-1 victory over Blackburn on Sunday. Holden returned from a two-game injury absence and immediately made an impact. After the restart following Blackburn's equalizer, Holden got on the end of a Kevin Davies header, chested the ball to his left foot, in stride, and hooked a well-placed shot into the lower right-hand corner of the goal to put Bolton back on top. SEASON: 15 games, 14 starts, 2 goals
Tim Howard, GK, Everton - Started, played 90 minutes, made two saves and earned the clean sheet in Everton's 0-0 draw with Wigan Athletic on Saturday. SEASON: 17 games, 17 starts, 40 saves, 20 goals allowed, 5 clean sheets
Eddie Johnson, F, Fulham - In the 18, came on as a 72nd-minute substitute in Fulham's 0-0 draw with Sunderland on Saturday. SEASON: 10 games, 1 start
Eric Lichaj, D, Aston Villa - Started, played 90 minutes in Villa's 2-1 victory over West Brom on Saturday. The start was Lichaj's first in the Premier League after making two appearances as a substitute. He has started in cup play as well. SEASON: 6 games, 4 starts
Jonathan Spector, M/D, West Ham - Started, played 90 minutes in West Ham's 3-1 loss to Manchester City on Saturday. The start was Spector's third consecutive (two in league play) after a three-month inactive spell. SEASON: 5 games, 5 starts, 2 goals
Conor Doyle, F, Derby County - In the 18, came on as an 86th-minute substitute in Derby County's 2-0 loss to Bristol City on Saturday. Doyle was named to the U.S. U-20 roster for this week's training camp in Florida that includes two friendlies against Canada (Dec. 16 and 18). It's the first time Doyle has been called into a U.S. Soccer camp at any level. SEASON: 9 games, 2 starts
Zak Whitbread, D, Norwich City - Not in the 18 for Norwich City's 2-0 loss to Portsmouth on Saturday. SEASON: 0 games
Mike Grella, F, Carlisle United - In the 18, came on as a 69th-minute substitute in Carlisle's 2-1 victory over Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday. SEASON: 10 games, 6 starts, 3 goals
Jemal Johnson, M, Milton Keynes Dons - Not in the 18 for Milton Keynes Dons' 2-0 loss to Notts County on Saturday. SEASON: 15 games, 5 starts, 1 goal
Anton Peterlin, M, Plymouth Argyle - Not in the 18 for Plymouth Argyle's 2-0 victory over Exeter City on Saturday. SEASON: 5 games, 4 starts
Frank Simek, D, Carlisle United - Started, played 90 minutes and picked up a yellow card in Carlisle's 2-0 loss to Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday. SEASON: 23 games, 23 starts
Jozy Altidore, F, Villarreal - In the 18, did not play in Villarreal's 1-0 loss to Getafe on Saturday. SEASON: 9 games, 6 starts, 2 goals
Oguchi Onyewu, D, AC Milan - Not on the UEFA Champions League roster for Milan, which fell to Ajax Amsterdam, 2-0, in their group stage finale on Wednesday. Milan finished second in Group G and awaits the Dec. 17 draw for the knockout stage to find out the identity of its next opponent. Onyewu was also not on the gameday roster for Milan's 3-0 victory over Bologna in league play on Sunday. SEASON: 0 games
DaMarcus Beasley, M, Hannover 96 - Not in the 18 for Hannover's 2-1 victory over VfB Stuttgart on Friday. SEASON: 4 games
Michael Bradley, M, Borussia Monchengladbach - Started, played 90 minutes in Monchengladbach's 3-0 loss to SC Freiburg on Sunday. SEASON: 18 games, 18 starts, 4 goals
Steve Cherundolo, D, Hannover 96 - Started, played 23 minutes in Hannover's 2-1 victory over VfB Stuttgart on Friday. Cherundolo exited the game with an apparent knee injury, and it is unclear how much time, if any, the Hannover captain may have to miss. SEASON: 16 games, 16 starts
Ricardo Clark, M, Eintracht Frankfurt - In the 18, did not play in Frankfurt's 1-0 loss to FC Cologne on Saturday. SEASON: 3 games
Jermaine Jones, M, FC Schalke 04 - Not in the 18 for Schalke's 2-1 victory over Benfica in its UEFA Champions League group stage finale on Tuesday. Schalke won Group B and should be in line for a favorable knockout-stage matchup. Jones, who is still on demotion with the Schalke reserves, was also not in the 18 for Schalke's 1-0 victory over Mainz 05 in league play on Sunday. SEASON: 16 games. 15 starts, 1 goal
Daniel Williams, D, SC Freiburg - Not in the 18 for Freiburg's 3-0 victory over Borussia Monchengladbach on Sunday. SEASON: 5 games, 2 starts
Kenny Cooper, F, TSV 1860 Munich - In the 18, did not play in Munich's 1-1 draw with FC Ingolstadt 04. The appearance on the bench was Cooper's first this season. He broke his ankle in training in July. SEASON: 0 games
Luis Robles, GK, Karlsruhe SC - Started, played 90 minutes, made five saves and earned the clean sheet in Karlsruhe's 1-0 victory over Arminia Bielefeld on Friday. SEASON: 10 games, 10 starts, 39 saves, 15 goals allowed, 3 clean sheets
Dave Yelldell, GK, MSV Duisburg - Started, played 90 minutes made one save and earned the clean sheet in Duisburg's 0-0 draw with SC Paderborn 07 on Saturday. SEASON: 18 games, 18 starts, 42 saves, 15 goals allowed, 8 clean sheets
Matt Taylor, F, Rot Weiss Ahlen - Rot Weiss Ahlen's scheduled match for Wednesday against Stuttgart II was postponed (for the second time) to a later date. Rot Weiss Ahlen's scheduled match for Saturday against Werder Bremen II was also postponed. SEASON: 11 games, 11 starts, 7 goals
Carlos Bocanegra, D, St. Etienne - Started, played 90 minutes in St. Etienne's 2-0 victory over AS Monaco on Sunday. SEASON: 14 games, 14 starts, 1 goal
Charlie Davies, F, FC Sochaux - Not in the 18 for Sochaux's 1-0 loss to AS Nancy Lorraine on Saturday. SEASON: 0 games
Sacha Kljestan, M, RSC Anderlecht - Started, played 57 minutes in Anderlecht's 0-0 draw with KSC Lokeren on Sunday. SEASON: 18 games, 15 starts, 3 goals
Liga de Honra
Bryan Arguez, M, G.D. Estoril Praia - Estoril did not have a match this week. Its next game is Sunday against Arouca. SEASON: 1 game, 1 start
Greg Garza, D, G.D. Estoril Praia - Estoril did not have a match this week. Garza was named to the U.S. U-20 roster for this week's training camp in Florida. SEASON: 0 games
Tony Taylor, F, G.D. Estoril Praia - Estoril did not have a match this week. SEASON: 12 games, 2 starts, 3 goals
Maurice Edu, M, Rangers FC - Not in the 18 for Rangers' 1-1 draw with Bursaspor in its UEFA Champions League group stage finale on Tuesday. Rangers finished in third in Group C and will be entered in the UEFA Europa League's Round of 32. The draw for that is on Dec. 17. Edu was also not in the 18 for Rangers' 1-1 draw with Inverness Caledonian Thistle in league play on Saturday. According to Rangers, Edu should return for Sunday's match against St. Mirren. SEASON: 17 games, 15 starts, 2 goals
Dominic Cervi, GK, Dundee FC - Cervi was sent to the Scottish First Division side on a month-long emergency loan on Friday from Celtic FC and was in the 18, but did not play, in Dundee's 1-0 victory over Morton on Saturday. Dundee's backup goalkeeper is injured, but its starter, Rab Douglas, is not, so it remains to be seen how much playing time Cervi can accrue while away from Celtic, where he is the third keeper. SEASON: 0 games
Freddy Adu, F, Aris Salonika - Not in the 18 for Aris' 1-1 draw with Olympiakos Volos on Saturday. SEASON: 0 games
Jose Francisco Torres started and played 73 minutes and Herculez Gomez came off the bench as a 73rd-minute substitute in Pachuca's 1-0 loss to Congo-based TP Mazembe Englebert in their quarterfinal matchup at the FIFA Club World Cup in the United Arab Emirates. Marco Vidal did not play for Los Tuzos, who were eliminated from championship contention with the loss.
Michael Hoyos, M, Estudiantes La Plata - In the 18, did not play in Estudiantes' 4-0 victory over River Plate on Wednesday. Hoyos was not in the 18 for Estudiantes' 2-0 victory over Arsenal de Sarandi on Sunday. With the win, Estudiantes clinched the Argentinian Apertura championship. The title, Estudiantes' fifth, also cements a place for the club in next year's Copa Libertadores. Hoyos and Estudiantes will be on break until the Torneo Clausura, which begins in February. SEASON: 10 games, 6 starts, 1 goal
Avi Creditor is a freelance writer based in Washington, D.C.