Americans Abroad: Altidore, Dempsey ending seasons with big goals
When U.S. national team camp kicks off in a week out in California prior to a five-game slate that includes three World Cup qualifiers, Jurgen Klinsmann will be overseeing a full complement of players who will either coming off landmark appearances or will have been playing for some major accolades.
Jozy Altidore is not expected to be with the national team for the start of the camp, with his club reportedly refusing to release him in a timely manner (in AZ Alkmaar's defense, it is not required to) despite its season ending this past Sunday, but based on how Altidore closed the season, Klinsmann should be eager to reintegrate him into his lineup. Altidore's Dutch Cup-winning goal was the perfect cap to his remarkable campaign, with his 31st goal in all competitions securing his first trophy on the club level and raising his potential transfer value even more.
Elsewhere in the attack, Clint Dempsey has taken matters into his own hands to aid Tottenham's quest to reach the UEFA Champions League, with his goal and game-winning assist on Sunday keeping Tottenham in the hunt for fourth place in England as the season approaches its final day. Herculez Gomez, meanwhile, is playing for a second straight Liga MX Clausura title, with Santos Laguna reaching the semifinals in riveting fashion over the weekend.
Michael Bradley's Roma may not have had the Serie A success it would have hoped for, but it can still land a place in the Europa League by capturing the Coppa Italia on May 26. That means Bradley will also be a late-comer to U.S. camp, but joining Altidore in the pantheon of silverware winners would be well worth it for the star U.S. midfielder, especially because it would come at the expense of Roma's rival, Lazio.
Further back in the formation, Steve Cherundolo set Hannover's record for Bundesliga appearances, with the captain appearing in his 299th top-flight contest. With Hannover set for another season in the Bundesliga and Cherundolo reportedly closing in on a contract extension, the veteran right back should eclipse the 300 mark and then some in his 15th season with the club.
The goalkeepers had their moments too. Tim Howard notched his third straight shutout for Everton, and his fifth in six games, to send soon-to-be Manchester United manager David Moyes off as a winner in his Goodison Park finale. Brad Guzan, who filled in so admirably for Howard in the March qualifiers with two clean sheets of his own, secured Aston Villa's Player of the Year honors (as voted on by his teammates and club supporters), joining the likes of Dempsey and Stuart Holden as Americans to earn highest team recognition in the Premier League in the last three seasons.
The second level, and perhaps Gold Cup-tier, of U.S. players fared well, too. Alfredo Morales notched his first first-team goal at Hertha Berlin, Clarence Goodson scored in important goal in Brondby's relegation fight in Denmark and Alejandro Bedoya maintained his form with an assist for his Swedish club Helsingborg. As for those still vying for regional glory, the Tijuana trio of Edgar Castillo, Joe Corona and Greg Garza look to keep their Copa Libertadores dreams alive when facing Palmeiras in Brazil in the second leg of their round of 16 tie on Tuesday (after playing to a 0-0 draw in the home leg), a game that Klinsmann has said he will be attending.
As U.S.-eligible players look to close out their seasons with a bang and make a final impression at the club level before an incredibly busy summer internationally, here is how the Americans abroad contingent fared (season statistics encompass all competitions):