5. Tim Ream (Fulham)
Fulham closed out a disappointing season on a high note over the weekend. Having staved off a relegation battle after flirting way too closely with the red line, FFC concluded its campaign with a 1-0 win vs. relegated Bolton Wanderers. U.S. defender Tim Ream helped anchor the clean sheet against his former club with a tidy 89% passing efficiency on the day.
Fulham ends the 2016-17 season in 20th place in the English Championship. In the end, a comfortable 11 points clear of relegation. As for Ream, he'll look to carry a strong performance into the summer, where he's among the more likely candidates to land a spot on the Copa America roster.
4. William Yarbrough (León)
One name very conspicuously absent from Klinsmann's 40-man roster was William Yarbrough.
Yarbrough has been, almost inarguably, the best goalkeeper in Liga MX this season. On Saturday night he posted his second consecutive clean sheet in a 1-0 win at Dorados (full match highlights below). It marked his sixth clean sheet of the Clausura season, which places him alone with most in Liga MX.
Yarbrough has also been heavily tested throughout the season. He's both faced the most shots on goal (83) and made the most saves (64) while starting all 17 games. That's a combination of statistics more readily associated with a struggling club, yet Yarbrough has backstopped Leon to a third place finish.
Leon opens the Liguilla quarterfinals with a first leg visit to Morelia on Wednesday night.
3. Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes)
A player perhaps finding form in time for Copa America is midfielder Alejandro Bedoya, who is wrapping up an impressive season in France. Last weekend he scored his 3rd goal in Ligue 1 this year, his 5th across all competitions. Trailing 2-0 vs. Caen, Bedoya took advantage of some questionable marking in the 78th minute to finish off a nice feed into the box:
Meanwhile his club, FC Nantes, continues to struggle down the stretch with just one win in its last seven. Long gone are the heady thoughts of UCL or even UEL qualification that FCN flirted with this spring. It won't get any easier before the end: Nantes concludes the regular season with a trip to Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday.
2. Romain Gall (Nyköpings BIS)
A career on the rebound in Scandinavia? That just may be the case for 21-year-old midfielder Romain Gall. Released by the Columbus Crew in February, Gall has caught on with Swedish third-tier side Nykopings. He's settled in quickly in his new surroundings, starting all four games on the young season.
On Sunday, Gall scored for the second time in three games. This time, a gorgeous 33rd minute eventual game-winner (h/t @babynatsabroad) from 25 yards out found the upper right corner:
@RomainGall continues his self-imposed ban on scoring from inside the box with the winner for Nykopings in Sweden pic.twitter.com/Apn66H8eGT— Baby Nats Abroad (@babynatsabroad) May 9, 2016
It's a very promising start for the U.S. youth international, who hopes to earn his way back into USYNT call-ups. His club is finding early success as well, unbeaten thru four games (2-2-0) in 4th place on the Division 1 Norra table.
1. DeAndre Yedlin (Sunderland)
If Sunderland ultimately survives in the Premier League again this season, this past weekend's result will go down as a major turning point. Fighting relegation all season, the Black Cats earned a thrilling 3-2 upset victory at home vs. Chelsea. American fullback DeAndre Yedlin was front and center in the key moment.
With the score level at 2-2 in the 70th minute, Yedlin surged down the right wing and lofted a hopeful cross into the six-yard box:
Jermain Defoe's goal may have saved Sunderland from the relegation zone. Presented by @Scottrade https://t.co/6xWRnDwifV— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) May 8, 2016
A fortuitous deflection helped the ball find the foot of Jermain Defoe, who did the rest, recording a massive game-winning assist for Yedlin. (And yes, as a matter of fact, the Premier League did officially credit an assist, thank you very much.) The full three points moved Sunderland above the red line, and in the driver's seat over relegation foes Newcastle and Norwich. SAFC could officially clinch survival with a home win vs. Everton on Wednesday.