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Monday, July 28, 2008

Benny Feilhaber: American Theo Walcott

Feilhaber’s Goal sunk Mexico in the Gold Cup Final/SI.com

In the recent history of American Soccer no selection of a player to a major tournament squad has elicited as much controversy and quite frankly anger as last week’s selection by Peter Nowak of Benny Feilhaber to the US Men’s Olympic Team. Feilhaber performance this past year with Derby County was beyond the use of any negative adjective at my disposal and after being cut from the US team prior to the qualify tournament it was believed Feilhaber was out of the mix entirely.

But Nowak’s choice perhaps was not as much of a shock as some people may feel. Feilhaber did make Coach Bob Bradley’s initial squad for the full national team friendlies versus England, Spain and Argentina before pulling out with an injury. Additionally, Feilhaber’s technical skill and game changing ability was on display for all eyes to see last year in the Gold Cup final versus Mexico. The Derby County debacle not withstanding, how many Americans can claim to have played in a champions league match at the Emirates Stadium? Just one, and his name is Benny Feilhaber.

But many (myself included) feel Feilhaber’s selection, especially in light of the last minute addition of a similar but more versatile player, Dax McCarty to the squad is a wasted spot much like Sven Goran Eriksson’s selection of Theo Walcott prior to England’s 2006 World Cup Campaign. What are the views of our readers and listeners? This topic is sure to bring our passions from all corners. (For the record let me state I believe the selection of Feilhaber was a mistake and could be costly for Nowak and the US team.)

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