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Americans Abroad could receive much-needed boost with return of veteran quartet

AronJohannssonAZAlkmaar5 (Getty)



It hasn’t been a season to write home about for the Americans Abroad contingent, but that could soon change as four veterans have made their way back to training for their respective clubs.

Geoff Cameron, Aron Johannsson, Terrence Boyd and Danny Williams all returned to practice in recent days after dealing with varying injuries. The quartet were among the more successful Americans in Europe during the 2013-14 season, and could provide a much-needed boost to a campaign that has not started out all that spectacularly.

While it could still be at least a couple of weeks before they reach top fitness again, the news of their returns – Boyd was the most recent, saying he was cleared on Tuesday – to training will be welcome by many fans who are tired off seeing a good portion of the Americans Abroad sitting on the bench or not dressing entirely.

All four of them will have to put in the work in the coming days and weeks to try and break back into their club’s lineups, but Johannsson is the player who seems to have the easiest road ahead of him. Johannsson was AZ Alkmaar’s top scorer last year, and should be able to get back to having a regular with the team so long as he proves he is fully recovered and healthy after undergoing two surgeries following his appearance at the World Cup.

Williams also appears to have a good shot at making it back into games in the near future. The midfielder was a key contributor for Reading down the stretch of his initial season in England, even scoring a few goals, but the club just fell shy of a promotion play-off place while he finished the year on the sidelines because of his knee issue.

Boyd is in a bit of a trickier situation. After a strong campaign at Rapid Vienna, Boyd joined RB Leipzig this offseason and looked to be a key part of the 2. Bundesliga’s plans until he suffered an injury in the final preseason game. Now, he will have to prove himself again to head coach Alexander Zorniger.

Things appear to be even tougher for Cameron, who was failing to dress for Stoke City before his recent knock took him out of action. Cameron has fallen out of favor despite his impressive campaign in 2013-14, and will now need to make a serious statement in training in order to earn his first league appearance of the season.


What do you make of the returns of Johannsson, Williams, Boyd and Cameron? Which of them do you see having the biggest season? Who has his work cut out for him?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. no kidding the yanks abroad dept. is lacking..

    these four will certainly boost the cause. similar idea who is the next the move abroad?

    Yedlin is on his way to London
    obviously Agudelo might happen sometime..
    id say Hamid is ready, and it would be good to have another keeper over there.
    I doubt LA let Gonzalez leave.. and i doubt Gil would draw much interest right now.

    MLS internationals:
    i could see European clubs going after Plata, Henry, Dwyer, BWP or Luke Moore

    • Agudelo is nuts, he’s just sitting around becoming irrelevant to the NT and becoming more Adu every day. Unless he gets an EU passport, he is not getting in England, because his work permit situation is only deteriorating from a spot where he was already denied.

      Hamid is playing himself into a 2018 roster role, he starts routinely for DC, I don’t know why he’d risk his trajectory and leave.

      Henry is going to play a half or full season at Arsenal and retire there. I could see Plata getting interest in Latin America or Europe. I could see Dwyer or BWP going back to England.

      • I feel like in 10 years or so those could be one of those things Juan comes to regret, regardless how it turns out.

      • Both him and Shea. But Shea managed to get in England and is in a somewhat firmer position being someone’s contract player getting loaned out and played a little. I think they’d both benefit from Holland/Scandinavia. But the green light at the end of the dock beckons.

      • “Hamid is playing himself into a 2018 roster role, he starts routinely for DC, I don’t know why he’d risk his trajectory and leave.”

        The same reason any good player leaves…money, prestige, the desire to play at the highest level.
        US keepers have good reputations…doubtless Hamid is being watched by some top teams. The time to leave would be now, so he could adjust before a new Wold Cup cycle really starts.

      • Except, depending what happens with Howard and Rimando this cycle — both are pretty old and Howard is explicitly taking a break — this GK competition may open up a lot, and in preparation for that competition, it would be good to be in a stable club situation.

        Stays put he might be as high as #2 when it all shakes out. f he gets club ambitions and lands in the wrong spot, he could sit around and fall off the NT pecking order right when 2 of the top 3 might retire or fall apart.

        He’s 23 now and would still be pretty young for a keeper later in the cycle or in 2018, when he could make a move from a promoted strength position rather than risking his slot altogether.

      • If the WC was in 2015, I’d agree with you. But to essentially put your career on hold for four years solely to try and cement a spot (most likely not starting) in 2018 seems like far too much of a stretch. The only chance he has of being the starter in 18 is to go to a top team now and improve.

      • Guzan is going to be tough enough to surpass where my immediate goal in the cycle would be pushing into the top 3. That is best achieved staying put or choosing right abroad.

        But if he chooses wrong abroad at this stage, he risks being out in the cold on both fronts, right when it was going to open up for him.

        I’d secure the US spot, which will help with the work permit if necessary, and only then make the move abroad.

        FWIW, Gonzo, Shea, Adu, and Agudelo took your advice, moving abroad before cementing their NT status. Look where it got them.

      • There is no such thing as “securing as spot”. If Hamid plays great in MLS for the next four years, he can still be beaten out by someone in better form. Plus, if I’m JK, I don’t want anyone on my team that is content to be the #3. Hamid should strive to be #1, before someone like Cody Cropper surpasses him. The only way he does that is in a better league.

      • Matt:
        Hamid is being groomed for one of the top 3 spots. Cropper may be coming up behind him but they don’t have to be mutually exclusive to make a 23.

        There are a lot of ifs in your argument, if he goes to a better team that plays him, if he improves, if he wants to be #1. I don’t see any of that playing out this cycle short of an injury fluke. He is steadily improving at DC and playing there routinely. Demand a raise but stay put.

        If he puts on a show in some tournament after he makes the core of the NT, then he can ask DC to sell from a point of strength. But what you’re arguing is the Shea/Agudelo dream, where the move abroad fixes everything. It often leaves them beached…..and with 1 keeper that’s not a good pine position.

      • “FWIW, Gonzo, Shea, Adu, and Agudelo took your advice, moving abroad before cementing their NT status. Look where it got them”

        Gonzo got hurt two seconds into his move abroad, that could have happened anywhere. Otherwise he might now be a BL regular somewhere

        Shea now seems to be getting PT with Birmingham and is a lot richer. Granted he may have blown a shot at 2014 WC but that was hardly a given, even if he had stayed in MLS.

        Adu and Agudelo were hardly looking like guaranteed USMNT regulars before their moves abroad and you should know that there is no such thing as a guaranteed regular in any case especially under JK.

      • Agreed. What decent player has ever just randomly taken a year off of playing which is essentially what Agudelo is showing here. What would possess him not to at least get a loan for a few months?

        Sitting around all day is better how? If I was a manager, I’d ignore him. Who does he think he is? There are guys killing themselves in the lower leagues who are showing more determination than Juan.

        I was a huge supporter of his. I thought he should have left MLS years ago. Sadly, it hasn’t worked out.

      • Well he can’t get a loan since he’s not actually signed anywhere, but I know what you mean. 🙂
        Would love to hear JK address this.

    • I’d like to see Zardes get a lot of USMNT minutes and then go to Europe. I have believed for some time he has all the tools and now he is finishing at a very high level.

  2. awesome news. this is a big boost but i want each of them to take it easy and not rush back into anything and re-injury themselves.

  3. The time is now and the door is wide open for either Aron or Terrance to make a case for the starting spot, Jozy’s situation is making it increasingly difficult to continue to start him. It seems odd that when Jozy was scoring goals like mad in the Dutch league J/K snubbed him on few call ups, now J/K seems to call him in regardless.

    • I don’t think it’s odd at all. There was a period when Jozy was doing well for AZ but looked indifferent or ineffective for the US. Then he went on that summer tear. JK treated him accordingly. He was sent a message in the spring, responded in the summer, and was earning the desired country respect. Then he went to Sunderland, started getting hurt, and then pulled the hammy in Brazil.

      In this case, I think it’s in JK’s interests to get him the playing time Sunderland is not. When he was with AZ, he was getting the time and fitness, just not performing with us. So JK shook things up a little. But when he’s not playing, and we don’t have a ton of healthy options, OK, we’ll give you a runout. If there were a bunch of healthy stud strikers, Jozy might not get this favor.

  4. Of those, I’m really interested to see what Boyd and Williams do.

    Boyd is at a place now where if he scores goals, people will take notice. It’s easy to dismiss someone scoring goals in Austria, but now is Boyd’s chance to take over Jozy’s spot.

    Reading should have gotten promoted last season. This season I’m sure they will be in the fight. So I’m excited to see Williams start for them. I think he’s Jones’ natural successor: tough in the tackle, decent passing range, a nice long-range shot, hard as nails.

    Aron should get back to scoring so I just expect more of the same. With Jozy having a horrible time for club, Aron, like Boyd, should finally get a chance. However, I don’t think Aron is a lead-the-line striker. I think he’s Dempsey’s successor.

    Either way, November’s friendly will have a close to healthy 23.

    • I think Boyd has the raw tools to be better than Jozy. He has better touch and more athletic ability. He just has had bad luck in terms of chances to shine — always seems to get hurt around when the tournaments are held where he could get extended training and multiple games in. He also has not yet shown Jozy’s nose for pure poaching. But his backheel against Mexico in Azteca hints at promise, even though some other games he ends up anonymous.

      I generally agree that DM is going to be a need position. Jones and Beckerman will age out and I’m not sure Bradley has the wheels for the position either. But Williams showed me none of the characteristics of a DM, no crunching, no quietly reliable distribution (much less virtuoso setup work), gets burned. I think he got an extended look and did not like what I saw. If he gets much consideration we have a central midfield problem.

      • You obviously haven’t watched him much at Reading. He was arguably their best player last season, on a side that just missed promotion to the Premier League. I suggest you watch him more regularly, as he possess the exact characteristics you claim are requisite for a DM.

      • Imperative – the depth at DM and/or Box-to-Box CM in the upcoming cycle will be a strenght of the US Squad. Jones & Beckerman will be available into the 2015 GC. Bradley, Edu, Torres, Williams will all be in contension based on their play & the opponent. Younger options are emerging in Morales, Trapp, Kitchen, Hyndman, Canouse, Stanko, etc…
        What we are lacking are the Creative/Atacking midfielders to control the game, break down a defense with the perfect pass, and threaten defenders 1 v 1. Diskerud, Green, Gyau, & Gil may have the ability but they aren’t consistent at this time. Would also be nice to have more than 4 potentail players fighting for that type of roll.
        And no I don’t consider Zusi or Bedoya that type of player. Both are good team guys who put in the work, but neither has the ability to really scare a defense.

      • A lot of the attacking players save Dempsey and Bradley are young. I’m not worried about that.

        Jones and Beckerman will age out and it would be foolish to use them much at a time when you are trying to see who will work for 2018. You could do it now but then in 2 years when they fall apart you would be back trialing DMs. Better to work on it now, when games don’t matter.

        Bradley underperformed this year and you see that as solid foundation next time? He may be getting too old also. Obviously will get his chance but not a lock anymore.

        Edu, Torres, and Williams couldn’t even make this team. If you are suggesting they are the future, our team is going to deteriorate.

        So what you’re saying sounds nice, but then I think that most of these people couldn’t make the team or even disappeared from the pool like Torres.

        At which point it’s like, OK, perhaps someone young will surprise us and step into the vaccuum. If they are ready. If not…….

      • Seems odd to write off the country’s #5 all time goal scorer at age 24. Especially for Boyd, who is only 15 months younger than Altidore, and couldn’t even beat out Wondo for a spot on the World Cup squad…

    • Can’t agree more but do you really think JK is going to give Aron meaningful meeting? I doubt it, JK is Jozy daddy and no matter how bad he is playing, JK will continue to give him all the chances in the world to “get better”

    • “I think he’s Jones’ natural successor: tough in the tackle, decent passing range, a nice long-range shot, hard as nails.”

      The question is does Danny or any of these successor candidates have Jones’ mental make up which is what separates him from any other US player, even Clint and alleged tough guy Mikey. Jones took over games, intimidated the other side and bossed the midfield.


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