Bradley, Edu set for more U.S. action; more Americans Abroad
The rotating door at the U.S. Soccer infirmary, one that always seems to have high-profile inhabitants, keeps on turning.
Stuart Holden's successful transition from the injured list to Bolton's first team was met with the word that Jose Francisco Torres required season-ending foot surgery, something that will keep him out of action for his club in Mexico and for the U.S. national team until at least December.
Torres, a regular in Pachuca's lineup, had become a fixture at central midfield for U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann, starting in each of the three friendlies for which the new coach has been in charge. Torres' minutes will be up for grabs in a couple of weeks, when the United States faces Honduras and Ecuador in the next set of international friendlies. While Holden's return at the club level is significant, Klinsmann has made it clear that he won't rush the player back to international duty, leaving an opening for others to grasp the opportunity for the time being.
One central midfielder who is surely set to make a reappearance with the national team is Michael Bradley, who is settling into a starting role with Chievo Verona in Italy after being in limbo for the start of the European club season. After becoming the first American to play in Serie A since Alexi Lalas in 1996 (Oguchi Onyewu was with AC Milan more recently but never made a league appearance), Bradley had his most influential game in helping set up both of his team's goals in a 2-1 victory over Genoa over the weekend.
Maurice Edu is another central midfield candidate poised for more U.S. minutes under Klinsmann's watch, albeit in a more defensive role than the one Torres plays. Edu had perhaps his best game of the young season for Rangers, teaming with U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra to lead the Scottish power to a comfortable league win over Dunfermline Athletic. Both scored in the 4-0 victory, and it wasn't the first time that Bocanegra has tallied in the same club game as another American, either. He did so along with now-retired striker Brian McBride in 2006 while playing for Fulham.
Bocanegra opened the scoring for Rangers with a powerful header off a corner kick before Edu opened some eyes with a left-footed strike from distance that found its way inside the left post. Both Americans drew post-match praise from Rangers manager Ally McCoist.
"It was a magic header from Carlos that got us going," McCoist said on Rangers' official website. "We have players in our side capable of scoring from set plays, and Carlos is one of them.
"Mo took the second goal really well. He shifted the ball onto his left foot, and it was a great strike. I thought he was one of our leaders (Saturday). He was leading by example the way he went about his job, which was great to see. He played at a great tempo and he got himself forward at the right times. So I'm delighted that he got his reward."
Bocanegra and Edu were joined by strikers Robbie Findley, Herculez Gomez and Conor O'Brien on the scoresheet, as they all found the back of the net this past week, a time of mixed results for Americans playing abroad. Here's how everybody fared (season statistics encompass all competitions):