Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY
The top American player is...Tim Howard!
The U.S. has a knack for consistently having great goalkeepers, even several of them at a time. Brad Guzan and Nick Rimando would also do very well as National Team No. 1s. (I think Dan Kennedy would do a good job also, but tell me what you think about that in the comments).
So, now I have to defend my choice. Tim Howard is, simply, a fantastic goalkeeper. He has 91 caps for the USMNT. He's one of the most reliable goalkeepers in the world. If a ball gets past him, it's very likely no one in the world could have stopped it.
He seems to always come up with one huge same every game. In one-on-one situations he makes himself big and closes down angles, making scoring against him very difficult. He never shies away. He makes himself the biggest man on the pitch when balls are whipped into the box, and if he comes out to get a ball, he will get that ball.
Howard also started arguably the greatest goal in U.S. history.
In the game against Algeria in the 2010 World Cup, Howard made a stop, then threw the ball almost to midfield—and Donovan picked it up before scoring the goal that secured the USMNT's qualification to the Round of 16.
Club-wise, he's been a fixture at Everton for years with over 100 clean sheets. He also showed his goal-scoring prowess against Bolton Wanderers, but that's another story.
All in all, Tim Howard is a top-class leader, competitor and footballer. Let's hope he has five more great years in him. He's 34, but goalkeepers tend to have longevity, so who knows.