This week's salute (as though there have been previous salutes) was rather easy. Even if other Americans playing in the Premier League or anywhere else in Europe had done anything impressive, it would still have been tough to beat out this week's winner. So maybe it's good they didn't have any impact since they wouldn't want to have an impressive performance yet still not win this illustrious prize/recognition. Here are the three finalists, all happen to be goalies:
3rd place: Marcus Hahnemann - Wolverhampton Wanderers. I didn't see this game so I'm not entirely sure of his overall impact. The Wolves won, but they beat Bolton. Not much of an accomplishment since Bolton is in second to last. But hey, a win's a win. Plus, he did play the entire 90 minutes and also received a yellow card late in the game. So at least he made the score sheet. A nice consolation.
2nd place: Brad Friedel - Aston Villa. Shutout victory is always commendable for a goalie. However it did come against Hull City, not exactly a tough foe.
The Winner: Tim Howard - Everton. Tim Howard was brilliant this weekend. Everton has had a disappointing season. They were hosting third place Tottenham Hotspurs who nursed a 2-0 lead late into the game. Everton clawed it's way back and scored in the 78th minute and then scored the equalizer eight minutes later in the 86th minute. The fans were going crazy. They had been greatly rewarded for coming out in the pouring rain and supporting their team. Then, in stoppage time, the referee rewards Tottenham with a penalty when an Everton player body checked a Spurs player in the box. Everton fans have had little to cheer about this year and finally when they seem to get a break, the ref gives Tottenham the late penalty. Talk about a heart breaker...good thing they had an American in goal. An no, it wasn't Stallone. Granted, the penalty by Defoe isn't the best I've ever seen. He clearly tries to go down the middle and if he gets the ball off the ground he probably scores. But he doesn't and Howard makes a brilliant save. It really is an impressive block. The fans go wild. Howard goes wild and practically breaks his hands punching the pole. Everton goes on to seal the tie and the dramatic comeback. The American saved the day. Doesn't always happen in the Premier League, so when it does, it's a no-brainer that Tim Howard gets our salute this week. Thanks for serving and making us proud.
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