Americans Abroad Wrap
There was plenty to be excited about for United States Men’s National Team fans this weekend, as several Americans shined in action for their respective clubs.
Of course, there were also a shocking number of Americans who failed to see the field at all.
Let’s take a look at who played well and who left something to be desired in this week’s edition of the Americans abroad wrap-up.
The Aston Villa Boys
Brad Guzan got the start again over Shay Given and if he continues to play like he did on Saturday, Given won’t be getting the gloves back anytime soon.
Guzan made a sensational foot save in the 22nd minute on an open chance to keep the score 0-0.
He protected his penalty area well throughout the match with punches in the 31st, 72nd and 73rd minutes.
Guzan had a nice shoulder save in the 64th minute, coming off his line to stop an open look and, to top the day off, he stoned Norwich striker Grant Holt on a breakaway in the 77th minute.
In the 52nd minute, Aston Villa fullback Joe Bennett picked up his second yellow card, leaving the Villans to play shorthanded for most of the second half.
American Eric Lichaj was brought in in the 54th to restore Aston Villa to four in the back, but failed to take advantage of his opportunity.
On two separate occasions, Lichaj was beat on the dribble and, on two others, he let his mark get goal-side of him for chances that were wasted by Norwich.
Lichaj also struggled badly in multiple aerial battles, including a Norwich corner in the 78th minute, which Norwich used to level the game on a header which goalkeeper Brad Guzan could do nothing about.
USMNT fans have been very vocal about U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s national team call-ups snub of Lichaj, but based on Lichaj’s performances of late, that call may be a long way off.
The game ended 1-1.
The Stoke City Americans
Geoff Cameron got what is starting to be his customary start at right-back for Stoke, who was playing Sunderland. Cameron also looked to be much more comfortable in his role on the right, maintaining his position wide much better than in his earlier performances.
Obviously, it still is not an ideal position for Cameron, who still gets caught out of position and relies on his center-backs fairly heavily to cover when he is caught out, but it was much better than his performance against Manchester United a week ago.
Overall, it was a snoozer between the two teams, ending 0-0 in a game completely bereft of attacking flair.
Maurice Edu did not make the 18 for Stoke.
Back on the Scoresheet
Terrence Boyd got back among the goals with a nice headed effort, as Rapid Vienna beat Salzburg 2-0.
Go to the 1:29 mark of the attached clip to see his goal.
Danny Williams and Fabian Johnson took their usual starting roles for Hoffenheim and lost 3-0 to Mainz.
Williams and Johnson were rated the two worst players on the pitch by whoscored.com
Schalke beat Nurnberg 1-0; Jermaine Jones went the distance.
Steve Cherundolo did not play in Hannover’s 3-2 loss to Borussia Monchengladbach.
The English Championship Group
Zak Whitbread and Tim Ream both started and played 90 minutes. Both teams also lost 2-1.
Jonathan Spector made a stoppage-time appearance for Birmingham and Will Packwood did not play.
Elsewhere in Europe
Michael Parkhurst, who was named to this week’s Champions League Team of the Week, got the weekend off, as Nordsjaelland beat AaB 1-0.
Molde beat Rosenborg 2-0. Josh Gatt did not play for Molde, but Mix Diskerud went 90 minutes in the loss for Rosenborg.
Oguchi Onyewu did not play in Malaga’s 0-0 draw with Espanyol.
Helsingborg beat Gais 3-1; Alejandro Bedoya went 78 minutes in the win.
Conor O’Brien went the distance in SonderjyskE’s 2-1 win over Esbjerg.
Carlos Bocanegra played the full 90 in Racing Santander’s 1-0 loss.
Clarence Goodson played 90 minutes in Brondby’s 1-1 tie with Midtjylland
Michael Bradley did not play in Roma’s 3-2 loss to Udinese.
Jozy Altidore got the start and went the distance in AZ Alkmaar’s 2-1 win over Vitesse.
Sacha Kljestan did not play in Anderlecht’s 2-0 loss.
South of the Border
Herculez Gomez scored for the second time in two games, getting the 85th-minute game-winner in a 3-2 battle with Monterrey.
The goal is at the 2:24 mark of the attached clip.
Jose Torres’ Pachuca beat Tigres 1-0. Torres went the distance.
Edgar Castillo and Joe Corona both played in Tijuana’s 1-1 draw with Morelia. Castillo got the start and went 79 minutes, Corona came on as a 63rd-minute substitute.
The Tottenham Two
Both Brad Friedel and Clint Dempsey got the start for Spurs in their match against Southampton.
With Gareth Bale back in the lineup and Gylfi Sigurdsson scoring midweek, Dempsey’s spot in the first XI was not a guarantee.
However, Dempsey did not disappoint, picking up the eventual game-winner with a nice follow-up effort in the 39th minute.
The goal was typical Dempsey: pouncing on a loose ball in the box after Aaron Lennon and Jermaine Defoe had hooked up a great counterattack. Defoe’s shot was cleared off the line, but Dempsey followed up the chance and put the rebound in.
Brad Friedel also had a solid game with a great punch in the 59th minute and a nice save in the 66th minute.
His defense didn’t do him any favors on Southampton’s goal, as Friedel made the initial save, doing well to get a hand on the shot, but the rebound was put back in, as all the Spurs players nearby simply watched.
Tottenham picked up the win 2-1.
Howard was involved in arguably the most controversial game of the weekend, although to be fair, Chelsea fans have more than a few things to complain about as well.
The first goal against Howard, in the 14th minute, was a Leighton Baines own goal as Baines redirected a Luis Suarez shot into his own net.
In the 20th minute, Suarez came in completely unmarked on a Steven Gerrard free kick to head it past Howard, an attempt Howard could do little about.
In the 58th minute, Howard did well to deny Gerrard on a nasty low driven free kick through traffic.
In the 94th minute, Howard was beaten for a third time by Suarez, but the linesman’s flag went up (incorrectly) to keep the score 2-2, which is where the game finished.
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