Every Tuesday until the end of the EPL Season in May we will highlight the Americans playing in England’s top flight division and breakdown their performances.
The following Americans find themselves on Premiership squads:
Carlos Bocanegra, Fulham
Bobby Convey, Reading
Brad Friedel, Blackburn
Cory Gibbs, Charlton
Jay DeMerit, Watford
Tim Howard, Everton
Jemal Johnson, Everton
Marcus Hannehman, Reading
Brian McBride, Fulham
Claudio Reyna, Manchester City
Jonathan Spector, West Ham United
Johann Smith, Bolton
Only Tim Howard, however is on a squad likely to contend for a place in European Football next season. Howard gets a fresh start after a rocky tenure at Old Tratford with the Merseyside club Everton. Jemel Johnson is officially still part of the squad but chances are he will be either loaned or sold in the upcoming weeks. One potential suitor is Wolves.
Jonathan Spector’s West Ham club took a massive blow on the road to Europe with the injury of England International striker Dean Ashton on Monday. With Ashton on the mend for a while, the Hammers season which looked so promising will likely be spent in the middle of the table.
Jay DeMerit was outstanding in a friendly for Watford the other day against Inter Milan shutting down Adriano and helping his side draw with the favorites to win Serie A. DeMerit is one of Watford’s key cogs, but the squad has a substantial talent defecit with other EPL clubs and will likely have a short stay in the top flight.
Cory Gibbs will be out until November but should help solidify Charlton’s shaky backline. Look for the Addicks to finish in the middle of the table.
Speaking of shaky back lines, Brad Friedel will need to be a magician yet again as Blackburn Rovers defense appears to be weak. Nonetheless, Rovers have plenty of scoring punch and a good midfield as well and could compete again for a European spot.
Claudio Reyna’s Man City team (my favorite EPL club) is shorter on talent than any time in recent years. For a club with such a large following (City is always in the top 5 in attendence) the results just haven’t been good enough. It’s not Reyna’s fault though as he is about the most reliable player on the squad when he is healthy.
USA U-20 striker Johann Smith has an opportunity to make the first team with Bolton. After a good season with the reserves last year, Smith could be in the mix for a senior national team call up by the time WC 2010 qualifying begins if he can make the first team.
Bobby Convey and Marcus Hannehman lead Reading into their first top flight season in history. Despite this, Reading is probably the newly promoted team with the best shot of staying in the EPL beyond this season.
Carlos Bocanegra and Brian McBride will once again play key roles with Fulham. Chris Coleman’s squad is probably destined for another mid to lower table finish.