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):