Altidore, Bradley shine in Europe

Posted by Paul Carr, ESPN Stats & Information

With the European club season nearly over, the United States' summer of friendlies, World Cup qualifiers and the Gold Cup begins tonight against Belgium (8 p.m. ET on ESPN/WatchESPN). Let's take a look at the seasons of five Americans in Europe …

• Jozy Altidore had the best scoring campaign by an American international in Europe, not just this season but ever. His 31 goals in all competitions for Dutch club AZ Alkmaar broke the Clint Dempsey’s record of 23, set a season ago. Alkmaar finished 10th in the Eredivisie and won the Dutch Cup for the fourth time, the first since 1982.

• In his first season with Tottenham, Clint Dempsey saw his minutes cut by 40 percent from the previous season with Fulham. His productivity dipped marginally, from 0.4 goals per 90 minutes to 0.3, and his shots dropped from 3.7 per 90 minutes to 3.0. He was pushed to the wings more with Spurs: 61 percent of his touches for Tottenham were on the outer thirds of the field, compared to 44 percent with Fulham.

Dempsey also fired more often from distance, taking 61 percent of his shots from outside the box, up from 42 percent last season. That resulted in an average shot distance of 22 yards, three yards longer than his final season at Craven Cottage.

• Playing primarily at right back for Stoke City, Geoff Cameron proved to be one of the most active players in the Premier League. He led Stoke with 89 tackles and 72 passes intercepted, while ranking only eighth on the team in fouls committed.

Cameron was one of three Premier League players with at least 70 tackles, 70 interceptions and 50 clearances, along with Belgian Jan Vertonghen and Aston Villa’s Matthew Lowton.

• Roma failed to qualify for European competition after finishing sixth in Serie A and runner-up to rival Lazio in Coppa Italia. But Michael Bradley proved he can perform at the highest level.

Playing largely in right central midfield, Bradley ranked third on Roma with 1,219 passes completed, and he did so at an impressive 87.8 percent clip. Among 44 Serie A midfielders who completed at least 1,000 passes, Bradley’s completion percentage ranked third, trailing only Napoli’s Valon Behrami and Inter’s Javier Zanetti.

• Fabian Johnson finished the Bundesliga season with a plus-minus of minus-25, meaning Hoffenheim was outscored by 25 goals when he was on the field. That was fifth-worst number in the league, ahead of only four Greuther Furth players.

But the note comes with a significant caveat, as Johnson played mostly at left midfield, not the left back spot he usually occupies for the United States. Plus the negative number was the result of playing the third-most minutes for the team that surrendered the most goals in the Bundesliga. Hoffenheim finished 16th but did avoid relegation after winning a playoff against Kaiserslautern.

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