by Dru Boyer
The season is back, and I’m late. How was your summer? The start of European football brings with it all things good in this world…soccer, NFL, college football, and here in the Bluegrass State, college basketball preseason. I’m really looking to adopt an EPL side this season, I’ve remained neutral for too long. Suggestions? Our Yanks Abroad are off and running and I like Jozy Altidore for my player of the week. It was nice to see him net a pair of goals. Well-deserved shout-out to Jonathan Spector as well, who, after featuring in both Europa League play and league action this week, is off to a fine start with his new club Birmingham City. Spector was well-received by his manager and teammates after an industrious ninety minutes of Europa League action in Portugal against CD National de Madeira. The game ended nil-nil but Birmingham can take heart in a fine performance. Spector then played ninety minutes in a loss to resurgent Middlesbrough three days later.
Brad Guzan spent the weekend on the pine, but was in the starting 11 in Villa’s Carling Cup match with Hereford United. Guzan made three saves while recording a clean sheet. The other half of the dynamic duo, Eric Lichaj scored an 80th minute goal and drew a yellow. Lichaj didn’t participate in the 3-1 victory over the weekend against Blackburn at Villa Park either.
QPR managed a single shot on goal in their match-up with Tim Howard’s Everton squad. That shot proved to be the difference as the most frustrating pre-Christmas team in the EPL took the loss 1-0. The Toffees shot 14 times and put 4 on goal, but came away broken hearted and empty handed in their season opener.
Sacha Kljestan went 90 in a 2-1 Europa defeat of Bursaspor (yes, the former home of Altidore), return leg on Thursday at home. Really, Kljestan deserves player of the week discussion as well, as his fine play in the midfield (reminiscent of the Gold Cup) propelled Anderlecht to a fine comeback. Everyone has always known Kljestan is a capable intermediate passer who can help move the ball quicker and break down defenses. That said, his time in Europe has made him a run of play passing threat as well, and this weekend, he proved it throughout, including passes like the fine assist linked below.Anderlecht recorded a 2-2 draw over the weekend with Sacha assisting on one of the goals. (around 4:45) That was dirty.
Clint Dempsey and Fulham hosted Dnipro at the Cottage in an Europa League match last week. Deuce ended the first half with a goal and headed in a second to begin the second half as Fulham cruised to a 3-0 victory. The return leg is on Thursday. Dempsey put in 90 uninspired minutes in a 2-0 loss over the weekend at Wolves. Deuce looked like he may have taken a pregame nap or he was still recovering from the Europa domination
Zak Whitbread started Norwich City’s Carling Cup contest with MK Dons on Tuesday…that’s the good news. The Canaries were defeathered (too much?) 4-0, by the League One squad. At home. Embarrassing. Whitbread did not appear in the 1-1 draw with Stoke over the weekend.
Brad Friedel made 11 saves for Tottenham in a 3-0 loss to Man U at Old Trafford. But with 14 shots on goal, can one man be expected to maintain a clean sheet? All 3 goals came in the second half, 2 of which occurred in the last 15 minutes…the Farve of Villa Park White Hart Lane was worn out. Friedel observed the 5-0 thrashing of Hearts in the first leg of their Europa League contest. The home leg (at Spurs) will go down on the 25th. Friedel just plays to win the game. Herm Edwards can appreciate that.
Mo Edu and one of his newest teammates, Carlos Bocanegra both went 90 minutes in the Rangers’ last minute loss to NK Maribor in their Europa League match. Edu didn’t play in the Gers’ 3-0 rebound victory over Motherwell. Boca and the additionally freshly acquired, Alejandro Bedoya did not obtain their visas in time for the match. Carlos is now cleared and ready to play, Bedoya expects to secure his visa in Stockholm imminently.
Captain Steve Cherundolo put in a solid 90 for Hannover in a 2-1 victory Sevilla in the Europa League. Steve put in another 90 as in the 1-1 draw with Hertha Berlin on Sunday.
Timmy Chandler went 90 minutes in Nurnberg’s visit to Dortmund, a 2-0 loss.
Jozy Altidore came on in the 75th minute of a 2-1 defeat at Aalesund in Europa League play. When Alkmarr returned to league play, Jozy bagged a brace (goal 1 at 4:04, goal 2 at 7:00) in a 4-0 drubbing of NEC. In other news, Emile Heskey scored this weekend for Aston Villa. It was the first time Altidore and Heskey, who are often compared to one another on this blog, have scored on the same weekend in three years.
Robbie Findley played 115 minutes and scored a goal for Nottingham Forest in a 4-1 Carling Cup romp.
Dru Boyer is a Senior Writer for The Yanks Are Coming. Feel free to ask me anything about anything below and I promise to provide an honest answer, maybe. Or publicly assassinate my character, on twitter @SwampJankins. Otherwise, see you back next week. Between Dirk, Klinsmann, and the upcoming Oktoberfest in Cincinnati its a good time to be German.