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Feilhaber enjoying career year for club and country

Benny Feilhaber 1 (ISIphotos)


It has been more than two years since the signature moment of Benny Feilhaber's career, his game-winning Gold Cup Final blast vs. Mexico, and few players have endured more of a roller-coaster ride in the time since.

After a breakout year in 2007, in which he became a fixture in the U.S. team's starting lineup, Feilhaber plummeted off the national team radar last year. Poor form, due to lack of playing time with then-club Derby County, and several injuries contributed to Feilhaber's struggles and made 2008 a year to forget.

Things have changed in 2009, with Feilhaber fighting through the adversity and eventually reviving his club and national team careers after establishing himself with Danish club AGF Aarhus. Now he is playing regularly for club, and once again playing a key role for the U.S. team.

"Soccer wise, this is definitely the best year of my life, and it's been great off the field as well," said Feilhaber. "I'm feeling really good. It is nice playing with no injuries, and playing week in and week out with my club team."

For his club, Danish side AGF Aarhus, Feilhaber has provided moments of brilliance since his inception. It took Feilhaber only seconds to make an impact this season, delivering a record-breaking assist in the team's season opening 1-0 win. A week later, Feilhaber scored the first goal of his club career, netting the game-winner in a 3-2 victory.

But his big-play ability has not just been limited to the club level. Since making his return to the international scene back in June, Feilhaber has shown the same flashes of skill that he demonstrated in 2007.

Among those moments was his skillful match-clinching run in the Confederations Cup semifinals, when he drew four defenders during the build-up to Clint Dempsey's goal against top-ranked Spain (the U.S. team won the match 2-0).

"His youthfulness and excitement is good for the team. He is good on the ball, and most importantly he is playing now, consistently, and that is what we need from most of our guys," said Donovan. "When you come in you want guys that are sharp and that are playing with their club teams and he has been doing that."

While the crafty midfielder, who has started nine of 11 games for Aarhus this season, prefers to be deployed centrally, he has split time between the middle of the field and out wide for much of the past six months.

"If I play on the left, I'm pretty comfortable playing there where I can come inside. It's where I played in the Spain game. Playing in the center is my best position, but I think playing outside on the left is alright as well," said Feilhaber.

With Dempsey ruled out of Saturday's World Cup qualifier against Honduras, Feilhaber may once again be called upon to play on the outside. While midfielders Stuart Holden and Jose Francisco Torres are also options to replace Dempsey, neither provides the seasoning that Feilhaber has at the international level.

Feilhaber is sitting on a yellow card, though, and that may prevent him from starting Saturday's qualifier at Estadio Olimpico in San Pedro Sula. Whether he starts or not vs. Honduras, a World Cup-clinching victory would help serve as the latest step in Feilhaber's comeback.

"For me everything is really, really going on a good path right now," said Feilhaber. "Making the World Cup would make another step towards a really good year."


What do you think of Feilhaber? Happy to see him bounce back after his 2008 downfall? Think he should start on Saturday?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. We want him to stay here in Aarhus AGF. He´s a nice guy and a great player, so important for team and fans. Hopefully he can make Jeremiah White bettere.

  2. primoone, what happened is he didn’t go to Europe, something that seriously dented his confidence and development. The same isn’t said for Feilhaber, who’s at the top of his game, getting consistent playing time, and full of confidence.

    Feilhaber is our third best attacking midfielder behind Dempsey, and Donovan.

  3. He had a good situation going for him at HSV a couple of years ago, but he had no choice, he had to leave, because the new trainer was not going to play him. He has great talent and I still remember that incredible volley against Mexico in the Gold Cup. He’s a great player and he just needs playing time. He’s awesome.

  4. best center midfielder we have???? second best player after donovan???

    you guys are drinking some strong kool aid to be saying this stuff.

    michael bradley starts over benny for one reason, he’s better.

    Im with you Mike….lol

    I mean…he may be #3 in best attacking mid-fielder…but to be honest with you, I need to see more. I mean, at one point folks were ready to crown Sasha as our best attacking MF…look what happened to his punk a**

  5. “I like Benny A LOT. Once him and Torres get to be starters along side Bradley, we’ll have a great ball-handling central midfield.

    “Posted by: Isaac | October 09, 2009 at 03:04 PM”


    I would love to see Bradley, Feilhaber, and Torres on the field at the same time. I’m sure if there’s a good way to do it–if the US sticks to the traditional 4-4-2, either Feilhaber or Torres has to play on a wing.

    Maybe a 4-1-4-1 or 4-1-2-3 with Bradley as DM, Feilhaber and Torres as CMs, Donovan and Dempsey as wings, and Davies or Altidore up top?

  6. I think Benny brings creativity and helps our offense. He has great vision. I’ve been impressed with Holden as well. I’m glad the USA is in a position where we have to choose between two quality options when a starter gets hurt.

  7. I like Benny A LOT. Once him and Torres get to be starters along side Bradley, we’ll have a great ball-handling central midfield.

  8. Woowww, really? JFT above Edu/Bradley

    dude, Bradley starts for M’Gladbach, and Edu started for Rangers before he got injured,

    trust me I like JFT, but he plays in Mexico for Pachuca, and while he has amazing passing abilities, he still makes some very amatuer mistakes or decisions.

    Torres needs to have another great year in Mexico then head to Europe so he can finish his development

    Jose Francisco Torres can be our next Donovan

  9. best center midfielder we have???? second best player after donovan???

    you guys are drinking some strong kool aid to be saying this stuff.

    michael bradley starts over benny for one reason, he’s better.

  10. Yeah if only Benny was BB’s son… because then he would be starting for a better club team? and would have had better club success? Stop the Irrational vascillating Zac

  11. Viewing Party in Los Angeles!!

    USA vs. Honduras WC Qualifying

    Sat Oct 9, 6:30 pm
    C n’ Bull Pub
    2947 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica 90405

    This is the only place in West LA showing the game! Let’s all show up wearing the USA jersey and/or Red and support the team!

  12. He’s definitely in our best XI…

    I have not been impressed with Mike Bradley lately… not really since he left Heerenveen.

    IMO our CMFs should be ordered



    and then Bradley/Mo Edu/Clark

    and then Beckerman and the rest.

  13. Victor – it goes away at the end of the round. So basically after Costa Rica everybody gets a clean slate.

    Let’s just hope the C.R. match is a game for resting top guys/sending them back to their clubs healthy.

  14. I have a question…..How long does it take for the first yellow card to be cleared? I keep reading how many players are in yellow card danger and would miss our next match. Does it go away after 1 game or what? Thanks.

  15. Benny generally has a strong positive effect when he gets on the field lately. When he came in the first Honduras WCQ in Chicago, it seemed like the game really changed.

    I am going to see AGF Aarhus play their last game of the year, and I hope he has another strong game – I don’t want to be freezing my a@s off for nothing!

  16. Benny has great vision in attack – no one on the US team can make a killer pass in the box like he can. But in the central midfield he’s still a liability. In the last game there were several bad giveaways where he stood with his foot on the ball for a second, allowing an opponent to easily tackle it away. At the international level, you don’t get that much time to make a decision.

  17. Best center midfielder the USMNT have.

    He’s a level above the rest in terms of vision and creativity. With probably Torres (who I wish I could see more of) following close behind.

  18. Seemed like his attitude was questionable following the copa d’oro golazo. I think BB and his boss at Derby called him out and then he had injuries to deal with. Very glad to see things working out for him.


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