By Dru Boyer
The season is rapidly coming to a close and many of our heroes abroad are aligning themselves for a run and Champion’s League or Europa League glory next season. Mo Edu, Steve Cherundolo, and Gooch certainly have some big matches forthcoming, let’s all say a prayer that Captain Steve will be able to hold off might Bayern to join the party next season. This week’s POTW…none other than the backstop extraordinaire, Tim Howard for his performance in a valiant losing cause against Man U, and his subsequent performance against Wigan where Everton earned a hard-fought draw against a desperate team. I’ve divided play into a two-week segment, so it is a decent examination of form in the build-up to the Gold Cup roster announcement. I didn’t mention fringe Gold Cup candidates Alejandro Bedoya, who remains hot in Sweden, and Zak Whitbread, who is having a fine year in England but is likely the victim of a crowded and talented depth chart.
END OF APRIL:
Tim Howard played an excellent 90 minutes for Everton, holding Man U scoreless at Old Trafford for 84 minutes. Chicarito broke through for the Red Devils off of a deflected cross…Howard had no chance. Timmy H was all over the place throughout the match and kept his side alive until the very end. The Toffees spent too much time on the defensive in the first 45 and seemed content to let Man U play on their side of the half. Howard’s 5 saves, although occasionally spectacular, was not enough to overcome Everton’s general lack of aggressiveness. However, Howard took some positives from the match and believes that the Toffees’ confidence will not waiver heading into the final stretch of the season.
Brad Friedel and the Villans dueled Stoke to a 1-1 draw at Villa Park. Friedel made a pair of saves for the home side. Discussions have begun to keep the Farve of Villa Park with the club into next season…I was hoping for an extended holdout and 24/7 news coverage highlighted by Gerard Houllier flying to the states to personally negotiate an extension, however Friedel seems to lack a flare for the dramatic penchant for wasting everyone’s time. MB0 did not appear.
Jermaine Jones went all 90 for Blackburn, helping to hold Man City scoreless for 75 minutes before eventually succumbing 1-0 to City. Jones also tied Nigel De Jong 1 to 1 in the booking battle. Jones cannot help but wonder if he made a good decision moving from Germany to England, considering his former club Schalke could achieve Champion’s League glory.
Clint Dempsey and Fulham eeked out a 1-1 draw at relegation bound Wolves via an 80th minute goal from Andrew Johnson, who is finally stepping out from Abe Lincoln’s shadow. Johnson scored almost immediately after entering the game for Deuce, who had clearly worn his defender out…thereby opening the door for the former Commander in Chief. Fulham may secure a spot in next seasons Europa League due to their Fair Play ranking.
Jon Spector put in 90 minutes and placed a shot on goal in a 3-0 loss to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Fernando Torres, the feminine one, scored his first goal for Chelsea…finally. West Ham has firmly planted themselves in the drop zone and Mr. Spector looks to be playing football in the English Championship League next season.
Mo Edu went 84 strong minutes for Rangers, who tied Celtic 0-0. Edu put a shot on goal (deflected out for a corner) and committed four fouls as the Gers managed to stay atop the SPL table in dramatic fashion. The Rangers’ keeper, Allan McGregor made 10 saves, including a PK stop in the 83rd minute.
Carlos Bocanegra went for 90 minutes as St. Etienne fell to Bordeaux, 2-0. St. Etienne are currently in a 3-way (yum, 3-way) tie for 6th place in Ligue 1.
Cpt. Steve Cherundolo logged 90 minutes of action in a 3-1 win for Hannover. Hannover remain 1 point ahead of Bayern in the Bundesliga race for the #3 spot and a chance at Champion’s League glory. Cherundolo and Hannover will next face off with M’gladbach, who you may recall as the team that Bradley, Jr. played for…back in his playing days.
Despite sitting 2 points out of the relegation zone, (even after this result) Ricardo Clark put in 90 minutes in a 1-1 draw with Bayern in order to help fellow USMNT vet Captian Steve’s Hannover squad with a shot at Champion’s League glory. The next stop on the train out of relegation runs through Mainz, best of luck Ricardo.
Timothy Chandler went all 90 in a 0-0 draw with Mainz, in a match that Nurnberg really needed to win. With this result, Nurnberg find themselves 2 points behind Mainz for the Europea League with 3 matches remaining.
Oguchi Onyewu came on for stoppage time in a 2-1 victory for FC Twente. Twente remain one point ahead of Ajax and three ahead of PSV Eindhoven for the Dutch league crown with two matches remaining, the season finale coming at Ajax. Things are shaping up for an exciting conclusion in the Dutch Eredivisie.
Sacha Kljestan went 90 minutes and picked up a yellow in a 1-1 draw with Gent in the Belgian league’s playoff.
Eric Lichaj put a shot on goal and took a pair of fouls, but Leeds fell 1-0.
Eddie Johnson didn’t do anything of importance, Preston is horrible and will be relegated.
Jozy Altidore played a couple minutes in a 2-1 win for Bursaspor.
LATE APRIL TO PRESENT:
Brad Friedel made a pair of saves and MB0 was actually in the 18 for Aston Villa, but they still fell 2-1 to 10 man West Brom. After Friedel finally resumed talks with the Villans, Schalke and Liverpool are showing serious interest in the aging, dare I say, gunslinger. The Farve of Villa Park looks to be dusting off his cleats for another run at European glory next season.
Jermaine Jones picked up a 73rd minute yellow and put a shot on goal in a 1-0 win for Blackburn over Holden’s Bolton Wanderers. Blackburn is desperate to keep Jones and he would like to stay, according to Rovers’ boss, Steve Kean. At the start of the season, I never would have predicted that Jones could end up in the EPL next season and Friedel with Jones’ former side in the Bundesliga.
Tim Howard made 7 saves in a 1-1 draw at Wigan. Leighton Baines, former Wigan man, pounded home a PK in the 78th minute to earn an away draw for the Toffees. As you may be aware (I was not) Tim Howard is the newest spokesman for Allstate Insurance, he does have good hands. Check his new ads here. He is cool, regardless of the pressure.
Clint Dempsey dropped a deuce on Bolton as Fulham cruised past the Wanderers 3-0 on Wednesday. Dempsey’s brace makes him the all-time leading scorer for the Cottagers in the EPL era…passing someone you may be familiar with, Brian McBride. Despite this feat, some believe that Dempsey is still underrated…I ask, by whom? Does any American soccer fan question his brilliance on the pitch? After all, he makes Drogba look Shite. The Cottagers have not been beaten at home in the last seven matches, while picking up 19 of a possible 21 points. Deuce sat out Fulham’s weekend match with a tweaked hammy, he is reportedly good to go next week against Liverpool.
Jon Spector went all 90 in a 2-1 loss at the hands of Man City. Spector will be joining his fellow Americans (updated below) in the Championship League next season For his part however, Jon remains positive that West Ham can somehow avoid relegation. I’m not seeing it, sorry Specs.
Mo Edu put in 90 minutes in a 5-0 victory for the Gers at Motherwell. The win put Rangers 4 points clear in the race for the SPL title. Celtic followed the Gers win with a victory of their own to cut the lead to 1 point…however they dropped a match at mid-table Inverness 3-2 on Tuesday. With 3 games remaining, two of which are at Ibrox, the Gers appear to be in a solid position to take the SPL crown, especially given their recent form. It has been reported that Turkish side, Trabzonspor, is showing some interest in acquiring Edu. All due respect to Jozy, but I hope Edu stays out of Turkey…however Trabzonspor may be heading to the Champion’s League next season.
Captain Steve and Hannover dropped a match to M’gladbach (yes that club where MB90 used to be in his playing days). Unbelievable. The loss puts Hannover 2 points behind Bayern Munich with 2 matches remaining, at Stuttgart followed by a home match with Timmy Chandler and Nurnberg. Munich is at St. Pauli and home with Stuttgart…who would’ve thought that Stuttgart would’ve played such a large role in determining a Champion’s League representative from the Bundesliga.
Ricardo Clark played 21 minutes before injuring his calf. Five minutes after Clark exited, Mainz scored their first of three goals. Coincidence? Perhaps.
Sacha Kljestan and table topping Anderlech battled to a scoreless draw with rival, Club Brugge. Anderlech remain a point ahead of Genk in the Jupiler League.
Carlos Bocanegra put a shot on goal and committed a pair of fouls in 90 minutes for St. Etienne in a 1-1 draw against Monaco.
Jozy Altidore played 25 minutes in a 1-0 loss for Bursaspor.
Eric Lichaj received a yellow a 1-0 win while contributing 90 minutes.
Eddie Johnson is MIA. What else is new ?
Gooch was not active in Twente’s 4-0 win.
Dru Boyer is a Senior Writer for The Yanks Are Coming. He can be reached at email@example.com and you can follow him on Twitter at @SwampJankins.