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Three Americans were on the field for the full 90 in this matchup with Brad Guzan, Geoff Cameron and Eric Lichaj taking their places in their respective team’s lineups.
Cameron started off as a left-back for Stoke, but was moved to right center-back as Stoke manager Tony Pulis changed to a three-back formation to counter Villa’s three-back 15 minutes into the match.
Cameron struggled a bit, especially in the first half against Villa forward Christian Benteke, who both outmuscled Cameron and beat him repeatedly on the dribble.
Eric Lichaj played as a right wing-back in Villa’s 3-5-2 and got forward a few times with mixed results.
Late in the first half Lichaj put an absolutely gorgeous ball across the face of the net, but no one got on the end of it. He had at least one nice service from the flank in the second half as well, but also blasted a shot attempt so wide that it went out of bounds.
If Jurgen Klinsmann is looking for a “nastier” outside back, a term he alluded to this summer, Lichaj may be his man. In the 53rd minute, Lichaj absolutely wasted Ryan Shotton on the touchline in retaliation for a foul on one of Lichaj’s Villa teammates.
Guzan had little to do in this offensive snoozefest that ended 0-0.
Maurice Edu did not make the 18 for Stoke.