Its not 1943 all over again, but the Yanks are coming to London to save the day. Fulham are having a hard time of it this year. After 23 games, Fulham have only 15 points and sit firmly in the relegation zone. Fortunately for Cottager fans, the American calvary seems to be on the way.
Two of the four Americans that are already on the roster, striker Brian McBride and keeper Kasey Keller, have spent much of the season on the injury list. Both are on the mend and are likely to return in the near term to bolster the efforts of regulars Clint Dempsey and Carlos Bocanegra. With the addition of Johnson, the mercurial and talented young American, Fulham’s near term future in the Premiership is heavily in American hands.
The Americans at Fulham have 15 games to prove that they’re worthy of staying in the Premiership. If they’re unable to do it, with five of America’s best on their roster, it would be a massive setback not only for Fulham, but for soccer in America.
Meanwhile, in Holland
Fulham have two and a half strikers on their roster (I still don’t consider Dempsey a striker). Combined however, they’re not doing nearly as much damage as Michael Bradley is doing in the midfield for Dutch club Heerenveen.
Bradley, the twenty year old son of U.S. skipper Bob Bradley, is quietly putting together what in the end may be the best season ever put together by an American. Heerenveen currently sit in third place in the Eredivisie, in no small part thanks to the exploits of Bradley.
Bradley is primarily a defensive midfielder, a position he’s played since he broke in with MetroStars as an 18 year-old. With his father as coach of the MetroStars and now the U.S., Bradley has often been subject to cries of nepotism. His recent play has squelched those cries.
With two goals in his last game against De Graafschap (yeah, don’t ask me how to pronounce that either), Bradley has notched 15 goals in his last 24 games for Heerenveen. With 12 games left in the season, he’s more than within shouting distance of Earnie Stewart’s American record of 17 goals scored for Willem II in 1991. Earnie could probably hear him at a loud whisper.
Wow. If a defensive midfielder is about to set the single season scoring record for an American it would appear that, even if Fulham is relegated, there is hope for American soccer after all.