American Exports: Jozy Altidore's goalscoring run just the icing on banner year for Americans in Europe
AMSTERDAM – With just a handful of games remaining for traditional fall-to-spring European leagues, we're nearing the conclusion of a hugely memorable season for American Exports in Europe. Records, milestones and achievements are falling at a record pace, and there could be more before the season is done. Here's the honor roll.
With two Eredivisie games and the KNVB Cup final left, the powerful forward can continue building on several milestones hit during this campaign.
With two more goals in a win over Heerenveen on Friday, Altidore is up to 23 tallies in the league and 30 across all competitions, both extended records for Americans playing in Europe. He also logged his 11th career multi-goal game overseas, tying AZ technical director Earnie Stewart's career mark for American players.
Previously, Altidore became the first US international to hit the 20-goal mark in a league season while hitting a hat-trick against FC Utrecht two weekends back. He also became just the fourth American to net 50 overall European goals a few weeks earlier against Ajax. In fact, the AZ forward has raced into third place on the all-time American exports scoring chart with 56 strikes. He's also third in the running for the Eredivisie golden boot, seven back of Vitesse Arnhem's Wilifried Bony.
In cup contests, domestic competitions and UEFA play, Altidore is now tops among countrymen with 10 career goals. With seven in this year's KNVB Cup, barring a wild turn of events, he'll be the first American to ever lead a European domestic cup in scoring.
Like Altidore, the Rapid Vienna forward has a good deal of time left to pad records he's already set this term. With six games left on the schedule, Boyd has already eclipsed the American standards for goals during a debut top-division campaign in Europe.
His 12 Austrian Bundesliga tallies passed the nine hit by Saarbrücken's Eric Wynalda in 1992-93, while the 16 goals across all competitions has pushed aside the dozen bagged by DaMarcus Beasley in his first PSV campaign.
The Hannover 96 skipper watched from the bench on Friday night, but his next appearance will break the club record of 298 Bundesliga games. He now shares the mark with Jürgen Bandura, a Reds left back in the 1960s and '70s. Of course, the following time out, he can then become only the fourth active player to ring up 300 German league games.
Though he will not raise his overall strike total for the sixth straight year, Dempsey can still become the first American to hit double digits in league goals for three straight seasons if he hits four times in the last four EPL games. Netting that many would also give him 75 total goals for his European career.
The Texas tornado currently has 56 career EPL goals, a sum that has him level in 62nd place all-time with New York Red Bulls attacker Tim Cahill. While Dempsey can make an assault on the top 50 in that chart next season, this was the one when he quietly set a couple of specific records.
His two-goal game in Spurs' Europa League ouster at Basel was his 10th knockout round appearance in UEFA tournament play, tops among all Americans. What's more, Dempsey's assist in a January FA Cup win over Coventry City gave him a total of 29 in top divisions and cups, also the most for any Yank.
Back in October, the big man's EPL record for consecutive starts was set in ink for chasing at 310. Friedel also moved up to 13th place in the all-time Premier League game standings with 447.
Beyond that, he passed Peter Schmeichel for seventh place on the all-time EPL clean sheet count with 132, and extended intimidating American player career records for EPL shutouts (143), overall shutouts (187) and overall goalkeeper victories in Europe (272).
The Everton star was unfortunately stopped two short of setting a new club record for consecutive starts thanks to injury, but he set some other marks. Howard posted his 100th EPL shutout at Arsenal on April 16, good for 12th on the all-time Premier League list. He also registered his 300th league appearance in a win over QPR two weeks ago.
With two assists in Champions League qualifying and another pair in the group stage, the Anderlecht mainstay established a new American record for European play. The year's haul gave Kljestan eight career helpers, one more than Tottenham's Clint Dempsey.
The big prize, however, will come if Anderlecht can rally late (they are one point out of first with five games to play) to make Kljestan just the fifth American to repeat as a top-flight European champion (following DaMarcus Beasley, Maurice Edu, Josh Gatt and Oguchi Onyewu).
By most measures, it was not a great season for Gooch at Málaga, but he did manage a few achievements. Two Copa del Rey goals pushed his record for American defenders in Europe up to 21. Onyewu also became the first American to appear in the Champions League for three different clubs and in European cup action for five.
It was completed way back at the start of the season, but let's not forget that the Augsburg man worked a 656-minute shutout streak while still at FC Nordsjælland, the stingiest ever run by an American defender in Europe.