Americans Abroad Wrap
There was plenty of action this past week for Americans playing abroad with a hat trick for Jozy Altidore, a loan move for Maurice Edu, a potential move to the English Premier League for Brek Shea, a return to action for long-time injured American Stuart Holden and a last-gasp goal from Clint Dempsey that helped Spurs tie Manchester United.
Additionally, there is a rumor floating around that Nigel Reo-Coker may be on his way to becoming an American citizen in an attempt to play for the USMNT.
Check it all out in this week’s edition of the Americans Abroad Wrap.
Clint Demspey and Tottenham battled Manchester United for 90 minutes on Sunday, but entering stoppage time, Spurs were still down 1-0 to the league leaders.
A Robin van Persie header opened the scoring in the 25th minute.
Before and after United's goal, Tottenham created the majority of chances but could not find the back of the net.
United's defensive effort was fantastic as they repeatedly closed Spurs down on the attack and repeatedly blocked any Tottenham shots.
Dempsey himself got in behind on a nifty combination with Mousa Dembele in the 51st minute, and although Dempsey did get a shot off, it was knocked away by a David De Gea leg save.
Dempsey again had a chance in the 66th minute, but it was from a poor angle, and the shot was again denied by De Gea, who pushed the ball wide.
Entering stoppage time, it looked like United would take all three points despite Tottenham's fantastic effort.
However, in the 93rd minute, Aaron Lennon knocked a ball back across the face of the net, and Clint Dempsey was there to put the ball away and help Spurs steal a point.
It was the second time this year that Dempsey's effort has led to lost points for United as Dempsey picked up the game-winning goal in their matchup earlier this year at Old Trafford.
Getting second billing this week is AZ Alkmaar striker Jozy Altidore, who scored a hat trick in his team’s 4-1 win over Vitesse.
Altidore now has 18 goals in all competitions this season for AZ and is tied for second in league goals in the Eredivisie.
Maurice Edu finally escaped his bench-warming days at Stoke this week with a transfer to Turkish side Bursaspor.
Edu came off the bench in his first match with his new club, playing 24 minutes in Bursaspor’s 2-1 win over Kayserispor.
A series of bizarre rumors began to circulate this weekend that Nigel Reo-Coker may be heading to Major League Soccer in a bid to gain U.S. citizenship and become eligible to play for the USMNT.
Reo-Coker’s wife is an American, and because Reo-Coker has never played at the senior level for another international side, he may be eligible to play for the U.S. should he gain citizenship.
Many USMNT fans will remember a similar situation prior to the U.S.’ doomed 1998 World Cup when French defender David Regis was naturalized one month prior to the tournament and then handed the starting spot at left-back by then-U.S. manager Steve Sampson.
Brek Shea Headed to Stoke?
Brek Shea, who had a disappointing 2012 MLS campaign after a breakout year in 2011, appears headed to England.
A move away from Dallas is not surprising considering Shea had a public falling out with FC Dallas manager Schellas Hyndman this season, but a move to England is a pretty big step up for a player who finished 2012 with three goals and two assists.
Jermaine Jones is still suspended and missed out on Schalke’s 5-4 victory over Steve Cherundolo’s Hannover. Cherundolo missed the match due to “knee pain."
Fabian Johnson played 90 minutes and Danny Williams 54 minutes in Hoffenheim’s 0-0 draw with Borussia Monchengladbach. Hoffenheim is still seven points away from safety sitting 16th in the Bundesliga.
Timmy Chandler started and went 65 minutes in Nurnberg’s 1-1 draw with Hamburger.
Michael Parkhurst made the bench for his new club Augsburg but did not play in their 3-2 win over Fortuna Dusseldorf.
Bundesliga 2 and the Americans playing there are still on winter hiatus.
Villa took the early lead on a cracker from Christian Benteke in the 12th minute and then added a second in the 31st minute on a nice counterattack finished off by Gabriel Agbonlahor.
Villa took the 2-0 lead into the second half, but WBA found their way back into the match only three minutes into the second stanza with a well-struck shot from Chris Brunt.
Villa sat in a shell for most of the second half and didn’t take advantage of repeated chances on counterattacks to put the game away.
Inviting bad karma by wasting their chances, the Villa defense eventually broke, with WBA equalizing in the 84th minute on a goal by Peter Odemwingie.
Guzan was very strong throughout much of the match, repeatedly coming out in traffic to catch or punch away dangerous services into the Villa box. However, Guzan was not without fault on WBA’s second goal.
It was Guzan who conceded the corner kick that WBA equalized on as Guzan came out to snuff out a WBA through ball. Guzan was unable to hold onto the ball and inadvertently kicked it out of bounds, and WBA made the most of the ensuing corner kick.
Eric Lichaj came on in the fifth minute of the match for an injured Nathan Baker. Lichaj was solid, if unspectacular, in the match, doing his defensive duties and playing simple in possession on the attack.
Villa currently sit one point out of the relegation zone.
Geoff Cameron and Stoke, losing to Swansea 3-1 on Saturday, are now winless in their last four league matches. Perhaps more worrying is that Stoke’s defense, widely lauded in the first half of the EPL season, has now given up 13 goals in those same four matches.
Cameron once again got the start for Stoke and was not directly responsible for any of Swansea’s three goals.
Sitting back in their preferred 4-5-1, Stoke could not break Swansea’s pressure and spent most of the game on their heels.
Swansea, on the other hand, was brilliant, scoring their three goals via a world-class run and finish from left-back Ben Davies, a fantastic free kick from Jonathan De Guzman and another top-class goal in the run of play from De Guzman.
Tim Howard and Everton play on Monday. Their game can be seen at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN Deportes.
In the English Championship
Stuart Holden was not in the squad for Bolton but did make his return to first-team action this week with a 16-minute appearance in the Wanderers' 2-0 win over Sunderland in midweek FA Cup action.
Birmingham tied Brighton 2-2. Jonathan Spector was not in the 18.
Elsewhere in Europe
Carlos Bocanegra returned to action and played 90 minutes in Santander’s 1-0 loss to Las Palmas.
Oguchi Onyewu was not in the 18 for Malaga’s 1-1 draw with Celta Vigo.
Michael Bradley and Roma take on Inter Milan in action later today.
Sacha Kljestan’s and Anderlecht’s match, scheduled for Sunday, was cancelled due to the weather.
Mix Diskerud, Josh Gatt and Alejandro Bedoya are with the USMNT’s January camp preparing for the team’s January 29 friendly against Canada.
Terrence Boyd and Rapid Vienna are still on their winter break.
The Scandinavian leagues and the Americans there are still on winter hiatus.
South of the Border
Jose Torres started his first game for his new club Tigres, playing 70 minutes in their 1-0 win over Atlas.
Herculez Gomez and Santos play Puebla later this evening.
Tijuana and its cohort of Americans in Greg Garza, Joe Corona and Edgar Castillo take on Pumas later tonight.
Also of interest to USMNT fans—there are reports that Club Tijuana will be taking on the USMNT’s January camp contingent in a closed-door scrimmage on Tuesday.
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