The United States Men’s National Team friendly against Russia is only 10 days away and because a number of the USMNT’s American-based players will be tied up with MLS action, the roster will surely contain more than a few fringe players, likely from the U.S.’ overseas contingents.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at how the top Americans playing outside the U.S. fared in this weekend’s action.
Both Brad Friedel and Clint Dempsey made the start and went the distance for Tottenham in their 1-0 loss to Wigan.
Friedel made two big stops in the 29th and 34th minutes on open chances after defensive breakdowns to keep Tottenham in the game early. Then, in the 56th minute, Friedel made the initial push while Tottenham were defending a corner kick, but William Gallas apparently thought that would be a good time to take a breather and let Ben Watson walk in unopposed to put back the rebound.
Dempsey’s day was decidedly less interesting and he made little impact on the game. In most of Dempsey’s appearances for Tottenham, he has been quiet, but it is difficult to tell why that is.
Playing as a withdrawn forward, he does well to find and sit in the little pockets in front of the opposing defense, but either doesn’t demand the ball from his teammates or is getting ignored by them as he rarely receives the ball.
With the USMNT in their recent qualifiers, Dempsey was very vocal, so it’s tough to tell if he’s just still getting used to his new teammates, or if other factors are at play.
Over his career, Dempsey has never been the most vocal player and has never been the most “active” player, even drawing calls of laziness from many USMNT fans, especially early in his career. He has always been the type of player that specializes in popping up in the right place at the right time and has done that for Tottenham multiple times this season, but was largely uninvolved in Saturday’s game.
Brad Guzan started again in the Villa net, but had little to do for most of the day. Despite Sunderland controlling the play for long stretches, the Black Cats created little in terms of real chances. Guzan had a nice push in the 53rd minute on a cross and one big save nicely stopping a deflected shot in the 84th minute to keep the score 1-0 in Villa’s favor.
Eric Lichaj started on bench as Joe Bennett retook his spot after serving a one-game suspension for last week’s red card. Lichaj is now clearly the second choice at both left and right back, but got to come into the game in the 10th minute as Bennett was injured only minutes into the match.
Lichaj treated much of the game like it was a backyard wrestling match getting called for foul after foul. While he was lucky enough to avoid a caution for a slide tackle that took out Steven Fletcher, he did get one just before the half for stupidly kicking the ball away to prevent Sunderland from taking a quick free kick after a Villa foul.
Lichaj was taken off in the 72nd minute and immediately headed down the tunnel, presumably injured.
Overall, despite the repeated fouls, Lichaj did a nice job containing the normally tricky Adam Johnson in 1 v. 1 situations on the wing.
Villa picked up all three points in the match winning 1-0.
In the seventh minute, Howard tipped a Bryan Ruiz free kick into the post and the ball ricocheted off the post, off Howard and into the net. It was officially ruled an own goal.
Everton battled back to take a 2-1 lead, but Fulham tied the match at 2-2 to split the points on a 90th minute equalizer from Steve Sidwell that Howard could do nothing about.
Howard’s bright spot in the match was a great save on Dimitar Berbatov in the 58th on a chance from six yards out.
Geoff Cameron had his best match yet for Stoke and is beginning to look more and more comfortable at the right back position.
Cameron stayed home and wide much better than he had in his earlier performances and is showing he is beginning to learn to pick and choose his moments to go forward better.
He fell in to help his center backs when needed and held his position much better than his earlier outings on the right.
Cameron went 90 minutes, but Stoke lost to Norwich 1-0.
Maurice Edu was not in the squad for Stoke.
Steve Cherundolo started and went the distance in Hannover’s 2-0 win over Augsburg.
In a battle of three Americans, Hoffenheim defeated Schalke 3-2 with Fabian Johnson, Danny Williams and Jermaine Jones all starting. Johnson and Williams went the distance with Johnson picking up an assist for Hoffenheim while Jones went 77 minutes before being withdrawn for Schalke.
Josh Gatt played 36 minutes, coming on as a substitute in Molde’s 1-1 draw with Tromso.
Sacha Kljestan started and went the distance in Anderlecht’s 4-1 dismantling of KV Mechelen.
Alejandro Bedoya played 85 minutes in Helsingborg’s 2-2 draw with Gefle.
Oguchi Onyewu did not play in Malaga’s 2-1 loss to Rayo Vallecano.
Mix Diskerud played 88 minutes as Rosenborg lost to Stromsgodset 2-1.
Terrence Boyd started and went the distance for Rapid Vienna, but could not keep up recent goalscoring form as Rapid lost 2-1 to Sturm Graz.
Jozy Altidore played 90 minutes in AZ Alkmaar’s 2-1 loss to Venlo.
Michael Parkhurst and Conor O’Brien both went the distance as Parkhurst’s Nordsjaelland got the best of O’Brien’s SonderjyskE 2-1.
Michael Bradley got the start and went the distance in Roma’s 4-1 win over Palermo.
Herculez Gomez started and played 83 minutes in Santos Laguna’s 2-1 win over Cruz Azul.
Tijuana tied San Luis 0-0. Edgar Castillo went the distance for Tijuana and Joe Corona came on at the half.
Jose Torres started for Pachuca and went the distance as they were shellacked by America 4-0.
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