EPL's Dempsey, Spector, Jones highlight Americans Abroad
In a banner week for Americans in England, the one player who scored two goals might have turned in the third-most notable performance.
Clint Dempsey's brace against Stoke City -- and the fact that he set a personal-best in goals for one season abroad -- would steal the headlines almost every other week, but considering Jonathan Spector's continued good form and Jermaine Jones' Premier League debut, that might not be the case this time.
Spector earned another start in central midfield for West Ham and tallied his fourth goal in nine games (across all competitions) by scoring the opening goal of the Hammers' 2-2 draw against Tim Howard's Everton. Spector's renaissance as a midfielder is certainly the surprise of the season, but perhaps West Ham manager Avram Grant spotted something that we all should have seen beforehand.
As a right back, Spector's attacking qualities were what really gave him value. His crosses from the right were paramount to the United States' success at the 2009 Confederations Cup, and now that he's been given the chance to focus with an attack-centric mindset, Spector is reviving his career as an aggressive contributor in the center of the pitch.
In the United States national team pecking order at central midfield, Spector still lags behind, among others, Jones, who was mercifully loaned from parent-club Schalke after an inactive spell of almost two months and played 90 minutes in his first match for Blackburn. Jones' play drew rave reviews from Rovers manager Steve Kean, and the hard-tackling, smooth-passing midfielder should be a fixture in the starting XI for the foreseeable future.
Although Jones will miss out on Schalke's ongoing UEFA Champions League quest, the fact that he'll be getting prime minutes for a team competing for a spot in next season's European competitions should keep his place on Bob Bradley's Gold Cup roster secure.
Outside of England, but equally as noteworthy:
Oguchi Onyewu, who is still just 15 months removed from a major knee injury, received his first action on the club level since September 2009, going the distance in both of FC Twente's matches this past week in the Netherlands. Michael Bradley was relegated to the role of late-game substitute for the second consecutive match as Borussia Monchengladbach fights a more-serious case of relegation in the Bundesliga.
Former Los Angeles Galaxy striker Edson Buddle scored a goal in his debut with FC Ingolstadt 04 in Germany's second division.
Here is how all of the above and the rest of the Americans playing abroad fared over the past week (statistics encompass all competitions):