Top Stories

Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

Mike Grella 1 (Getty Images)


It was a relatively light weekend for the Americans Abroad, but there was still plenty to talk about despite the international fixture schedule.

Mike Grella scored the game-winning goal for Leeds United in their 2-0 win over Stockport County. Grella, who was subbed out in the 72nd minute, netted in the ninth.

Jemal Johnson also found the back of the net, scoring the first goal in Milton Keynes Dons' match against Huddersfield Town. Although Johnson's goal gave the Dons the lead, they would eventually lose, 3-2.

Here is how the rest of the Americans Abroad performed this weekend:



  • Ian Joyce did not dress in Southend United's 3-0 win vs. Leyton Orient on Friday.
  • Zak Whitbread did not dress in Millwall's 2-0 loss vs. Bristol Rovers on Saturday.
  • Mike Grella started, played 72 minutes and scored a GOAL in Leeds United's 2-0 win vs. Stockport County on Saturday.
  • Jemal Johnson started, played 90 minutes and scored a GOAL in Milton Keynes Dons' 3-2 loss vs. Huddersfield Town on Saturday.
  • Jon-Paul Pittman came off the bench and played 23 minutes in Wycombe Wanderers' 1-0 loss vs. Brighton on Saturday.


  • Michael Orozco started and played 90 minutes in San Luis' 0-0 draw vs. Atlas on Friday.
  • Edgar Castillo started and played 90 minutes in UANL's 1-1 draw vs. America on Saturday. 
  • Marco Vidal started and played 54 minutes in Indios de Ciudad Juarez's 2-0 loss vs. Cruz Azul on Saturday.


What do you think of these performances? Excited to see Grella score? Is Johnson starting to be someone you hope gets a call-up? Think Orozco or Castillo are the solution to the U.S.'s problematic left back spot?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. @Posted by: harry | September 08, 2009 at 02:17 AM

    I’m more inclined to believe that FMF players get fewer looks because the game in Mexico is a poor man’s Spanish game which simply doesn’t translate well to the international game (you can play Spanish possession football but you better play it as fast as the Spanish do). Even Torres looked very overwhelmed the first time he was called into the Senior team. His game seems to be adapting nicely now though.

    For better or worse that is one thing most MLS clubs stress is a ‘go go go’ pace that more closely resembles International Football. It is what the league was created for after all.

  2. Mr. Smith,

    harry is just looking for another champion against the US team since his original one, Adu, did not work out so well. Now he’s got this League 1 is the EPL lite- kick. Let’s hope Jemal Johnson isn’t jinxed by harry.

    As for the bias against Mexican league players,I suspect that has more to do with the style of play. By the way,Petey, Torres and Orozco are good players but calling them key players for their teams is a bit of a stretch.

  3. Petey, if you think USSF is telling Bob to call in MLS players, you are SORELY mistaken. Bob does what he wants and has definitely shown a tendency to call up European based players over MLS players. And if he’s not calling up Mexican based players, it appears it’s because of his bias or lack of trust in those players.

    Cherundolo and Pearce getting call ups still? Seriously… There are much better players in MLS than those two.

    Orozco is a central defender, not tested yet on the flanks. Would be tough to throw him out there in a qualifier.

    Castillo is not a good defender. If you watched him in SuperLiga, he’s easily beaten and lazy on defense. He’s better going forward than Bornstein, but small and will get beaten over the top just as easily.

    Oh and Harry and Petey, look where more than half of the team got its start… in MLS. And look who the best player on the team is – Landon Donovan.

    Lose the anti-MLS sentiment. If it weren’t for MLS the team would be where they are today.

  4. THANK YOU: Im sick and tired of USSF putting Bob in shackles and telling him to call in MLS-related players most of the time to protect and promote MLS credibility when you have Orozco and Torres who are key players in a Better Mexican league rarely getting opportunities with the USMNT.

    ^^^^^^real talk^^^^^^^

  5. Im sick and tired of USSF putting Bob in shackles and telling him to call in MLS-related players most of the time to protect and promote MLS credibility when you have Orozco and Torres who are key players in a Better Mexican league rarley getting oppertunities wih the USMNT. There is a reason why American Players in league 1 dont get called up, to protect the credibilty of MLS.. to blindly show that MLS is a way better League.when their is 0 proof that MLS is better than League 1 in England. People who dont see the obvious aganda need to take their shades off…and start thinking outside the box for once.

  6. Danny do you have any commen sense? As the EPL gets deeper and deeper every Year some the regular EPL players get shifted down to the Championship…and as such what happnes is a slide effect………..regular CCC players than start sliding down to League 1 making both the CCC and League 1 better and stronger Leagues every year. ANd Danny have you ever seen Jemal Johnson Play/ Do watch some of his goals that he scored……….lets just do a little description.he regulary scores rockets with BOTH feet form 25+ yards….including his 35-yard stunner into the top corner with his OPPPISITE foot last year…………Not one American player in MLS has that quality to do that on a regualr basis like JJ can. JJ also has blistering speed,can cross with both feet, is an excellent dribbler and has racked up a ton of assists with MK Dons. Not to mention most of JJ’s goals are on the Counter-Attack…..isent that the style the USMNT loves to play?

    Here is his goal of the season last year with his oppisite foot and on the counter-attack from 35-yards:

    MLS players like Jay Heaps and Kyle Beckerman would be bench Players for League 2. After all do you really think an MLS league that has 22-year old College rookies up and own its rosters is better than league 1 rosters that have 20-year old Loanies from teams in the EPL such as Arsenal,Chelsea,Portsmouth,Tottenham,etc.

  7. What does Orozco have to do get a call up? He’s at least as good if not better than Chad Marshall, Clarence Goodson and Dan Califf

  8. This is true for players in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, etc. Those leagues are NOT better than MLS in terms of talent. They just aren’t.

    — This is untrue. Ask almost any coach in the league and he’ll tell you that it’s an apples-and-oranges comparison, not better or worse. European players at the professional level tend to have better technique and game sense, American players have a far higher level of physical athleticism and tenacity.

    The basic lack of technical training in American youth infrastructure is to blame for this, but it’ll change with the growth of the youth acadmies: Look at TFC’s under-18 and under-16 youth academy teams which are competing with (and usually beating) grown men in the CSL, a semi-pro league.

  9. evgeny starikov is only a U-20 youth team member for Zenit St. Petersburg. Hence he doesn’t really fit the mold.

    And using a goal keeper example is dumb. Look at Lambo and Chris Seitz. They stayed with the MLS, and how much playing time do they get. I mean they’re under the amazing goal keeping tutelage of RSL and FC Dallas respectively. Staying stateside doesn’t get you automatic playing time either.

    And no one is really bashing MLS here at all, its you who starts by saying Leage One quality sucks and below MLS.

  10. Like I said MLS is better than League 1 and it’s a different beast altogether. There is a distinct advantage for playing MLS guys. The first one is travel. MLS guys didn’t have to go far to play in the Gold Cup. The second one is timing. MLS guys were in much better shape for the Gold Cup than guys in the “off season” like League 1 was. Granted, the off season is shorter and shorter every year, but the fitness was still a key. Third, just because a guy plays in Europe does NOT mean he’s better than a guy playing in MLS. Euro snobs seem to think a guy has to go to Europe, but in many cases it’s more about a guy’s passport eligibility than it does his talent. Europe pays more and thus, guys with EU passports take advantage of it. It does NOT mean those players are better. Take a guy like Dominic Cervi for example. He’s not good enough to get on with an MLS team for anything more than a developmental contract. That is for two reasons. First, he’s a back-up level keeper in MLS. Second, back-up keepers just can’t be paid hand over fist in the current MLS cap situation. What’s a guy to do? Well, if you’ve got a passport head to Europe and make more money doing essentially the same thing. Does that make Cervi “too good” for MLS? Nope. It’s a financial decision and NOT a talent decision. This is true for players in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, etc. Those leagues are NOT better than MLS in terms of talent. They just aren’t. It just happens that they pay more bottom line. Again, just because a guy is in Europe does NOt make him better than MLS. Euro snobs need to cut the crap and realize MLS is a legit “talent-rich” league. It isn’t “financially rich”, but the talent is there. That is the major difference between here and there.

  11. The MLS is as good as the middle-table Championship teams. And regardless of what you think about the two leagues, those players aren’t helping their immediate NT hopes by playing in a largely untelevised league a thousand miles away. If that’s even a goal of theirs at this point.

  12. agreed SD…..its funny, hes mixed up

    norway and sweden and denmark are better than MLS but we are equal with the championship man….you gotta look at the facts like US players playing in leagues around the world and friendly’s and THE FACT that denmark, sweden, and norway do well in european comp such as uefa and champions……the only reason why mls isnt better than championship is the depth of mls teams…..but the thing that makes it rise back up to a good level are players like beckham and donovan, ljungberg and montero

  13. JJ and Pittman do want to play for the USA. Crawley fans have stated this all the time when he was with that team. He always made it known he wanted to play for the USA. When he was called into the England C team (which doesn’t cap tie him) he made sure it wouldn’t effect him playing for the USA.

    JJ and Grella have some catching up to do. Pittman is currenly leading with 4 goals. One of them was a JJ type stunner. We have lots of depth. Hopefully Bob notices for the next GC.

  14. @Danny…based on what your saying, then bradley shouldn’t call MLS guys either….i have never seen JJ or grella or pittman play, but if they are worse than brad evans, logan pause or jay heaps, i doubt their teams would waste a roster spot…..the player pool in the UK is much larger and the teams would just replace them….the gold cup would have been the perfect opportunity to call those guys, instead of using the mls players that were not at that level at all…..

  15. Yeah Johnson and Pittman i don’t believe have been to the USA in a decade at least. I find it so very cool when you hear of all these Americans born in the USA but raised in england, norway, germany and etc.

    We are a multicultural place. We are the UN and we will host the WORLD CUP in 2022 and win.

  16. @Danny, League One is as good as MLS. MLS is not the Championship, hahaha.

    MLS is as good as Sweden or Norway, Denmark is slightly better and those leagues are comparable to the Championship or 2nd Bundesliga. MLS is League One, but we’re getting better every year.

  17. do you guys ever read. Johnson was on the verge of a US Cap a few years back then he got hurt. Pittman has stated that he wants nothing more than a chance to represent the USA while at Crawley Town. I’m quite sure that motive hasn’t changed. Why the eff does is it everyone’s duty to compare League 1 and MLS. They’re different leagues.

  18. yea i always thought orozco red card WAS STRAIGHT BS!!

    he was jostling with the nigerian and elbowed him slowly in the chest pushing out with his arm AS A PUSH so he would get off of Michael…..the nigerian fell down and cried for nothing and the referee thought it was terrible b/c the guy was on the ground

    anyways….i think orozco has always been and is a better choice than Marshall NO DOUBT…..he is still young, faster, starts in a superior league as well

  19. are Johnson and Pittmann even considered American? i know they have dual citizenship but that probably have not been to the states for around two decades now. i am sure they have a better chance playing in a Gold Cup than a Euro Cup with England.. but you gotta think that goes into BB considerations when he looks to populate his pool.
    i think that the US pool is so deep now, which is great.. they should play some USA-A vs USA-B vs USA-C team friendlies in the off seasons.

  20. I love seeing Americans play well in leagues all over the world. I absolutely love it. It’s a testament to the depth we’re growing here in the States. It will only help us as we move toward becoming a real player on the world scene.

    Having said all that, let’s not get crazy with the call-ups people. Seeing Johnson and Grella score is nice, but we’re talking about League 1 here. It’s not unlike a player hitting a home run in double A baseball. It’s good for that player and the development of the team, but let’s not call him an All-Star yet. That’s what international duty is. It’s the best we’ve got. Those guys in League 1 are NOT all-stars. Good players and great for our pool depth, but they shouldn’t even get a sniff of USMNT duty until they play in the bigger leagues. Don’t make claims like “League 1 is better (or as good) as MLS” either. That isn’t true, nor is it even the same beast.

    Again, good for our Yanks abroad. We love to see it. Just don’t start he Johnson/Whitbread/Grella call-up chants… yet.

  21. both jemal johnson and mike grella would be subs on most MLS teams maybe even in the reserves….unless its san jose or New York maybe

  22. Top Yank scorer this season abroad?

    Charlie Davies with 13 goals.

    Kenny Cooper with 10 goals.

    Clint Dempsey with 8 goals.

    Jozy Altidore with 8 goals.

    That’s what im guessing. Why isn’t Conor Casey playing abroad? Top goal scorer in MLS

  23. We definitely have depth. We should be able to call in 30 quality players not resorting to MLS players. Bradley just needs to bring in those League 1 players for depth or to the Gold Cup. He brings in C squad players for the Gold Cup, surely those in League One are as good if not better.

  24. Is Johnson what? Did you forget to type something?

    Its good to see JJ and Grella get on the score sheet this season. All of the attackers in League One have scored. I think it could be a good year for your attacker yanks in League One.

  25. I’m praying Dempsey, Davies and Altidore all scored Wednesday and for their clubs this weekend.

    Davies scored 2 as a sub in his 2nd game and is already becoming a LEGEND for his club. Maybe if he has a good season of 10-15 goals and a spectacular World Cup, he might get a transfer to PSG or Bordeaux. Would be great.

  26. Did getting that red card in the Olympics really screw up Orozco’s chances of ever getting called up for the NT?

    We have several talented Yanks in the Championship and League 1. Not bad, i’d suggest they try their hand abroad in Scandinavia. Might be more productive than waiting years to get promoted to the PL.

  27. World Cup final – Spain vs Brazil.

    I predict it now. Best final since the 1998 World Cup.

    USA, England, Denmark, Netherlands, Brazil, Spain, Australia and Ghana will all make the quarter-finals. I’m taking bets right now.


Leave a Comment