Graham Zusi

Critics' Choice

It has been a few years since Graham Zusi evolved from a basement dweller, living paycheck to paycheck, to one of the United States' best soccer players — all during his time with Sporting KC. Zusi can ply his trade as either a midfielder or a winger, best known for his ability to plant the soccer ball into the perfect spot so another player can rocket the ball into the back of the net. But sometimes Zusi can chalk up his own goals. And sometimes Zusi scores when it doesn't seem like he's trying all that hard. Prime example: Sporting traveled to Chicago on July 7 to take on the Fire for what at the time was a crucial match against a surging rival. Already up 1–0, Zusi found himself unmarked on the right side of the 18-yard box and lobbed a slow ball toward the goal. It looked to be a trademark cross to oncoming striker Kei Kamara for a headed effort on goal. Chicago's goalkeeper, at least, seemed to think it was and reacted late as the ball suddenly trailed away from him and Kamara toward the net for the game's second goal. Zusi also played a significant role in getting the U.S. national team qualified for next year's World Cup in Brazil. Look for him on the field then.

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