Spector and Birmingham City enjoying Cinderella Europa Run, and Other Yanks Abroad

He might not be an international caliber player. But then again-- he's a 90 minute fixture in a surprising Europa run for Birmingham City. And that's something.

By Dru Boyer

Welcome back again Ladies and Gents, not a very exciting week for your Yanks Abroad.  Last weekend featured a multitude of draws, no goals, and no shutouts from our men across the sea.  Additionally, the guy who has been on fire, Jozy Altidore has fallen out of favor. I guess his gaffer saw something during the international break that made him decide it wasn’t worth it to field a red-hot striker in league play. Who knows?

I’ve also included Friday and Saturday summaries from this week’s fixtures. Player of the week honors to Jon Spector, who along with his Championship mates is making the Europa league at least interesting in terms of a “Great Story”- Birmingham City are off to a flier in group stage play and would need a substantial drop in form to miss out on the knockout stages. And you thought being in England’s second division meant very little attractive football and even less European acclaim? Either way, Spector logged 90 minutes in Birmingham City’s 2-1 win over Brugge, picking up a yellow card in the 76th minute. Honorable POW mention to Sacha Kljestan, who remains cemented in the starting 11 for a suddenly hot Anderlecht.

Tim Howard and the Toffees took a trip to Stamford Bridge and returned home a 3-1 loser.  Howard made a pair of saves in Everton’s first loss at Chelsea’s home ground in their last 5 visits. Things aren’t good for the boys at Finch Farm right now and it is difficult to see how they’ll be able to avoid selling at least one of their young starlets- Jackie Rodwell and Ross Barkley—during the January window. It is hard to retain players when European football isn’t even a goal.

Dempsey went 90 minutes in a 2-0 defeat at Stoke.  Clint took 5 fouls in the match and put a shot on goal.  Thursday, Fulham travelled to Poland and lost 1-0 to Wisla midweek, a loss that prevented  back to back wins and will make the knockout stages a tougher order.  A victory would have put the Cottagers in excellent position to qualify, however Dempsey didn’t make the trip.

Friedel started, tended the net for 90 minutes, and made a pair of saves in a 2-2 draw with Newcastle.  However, the biggest impact that Friedel may be making is the introduction of his yogi to the Spurs’ squad.  Manager Harry Redknapp said he couldn’t walk for two days…sounds awesome. Friedel was rested for the Europa match—where Gomes tended net in a 1-0 Spurs victory.

Mo Edu and Carlos Bocanegra started for Rangers while Bedoya stayed out of uniform.  The AmeriGers drew St. Mirren 1-1.  Boca played all 90 minutes, Edu played all but 18 minutes.  Boca is really enjoying his experience in Scotland and the pressure that comes with wearing the Gers kit.  I love and respect the athletes that prefer the big stage and the pressure that comes with it…not all of them do.  The AmeriGers also defeated Liverpool in a friendly at Ibrox.  Bedoya got the start in that match, and the bossman thought that he looked much more comfortable with the ball at his feet.

 

After being used as a substitute in the last wave of friendlies- MB 90 felt it necessary this week to point out his US spot is secure and he's starting in Serie A. We know, Michael. Now put your head down and go to work.

MB90 put in 90 minutes and drew a yellow in a scoreless draw.  Bradley wants it to be known that he has earned his spot on the USMNT roster and intends to continue to prove his worth.  Hard to figure out why he mentioned this outside of some tough feelings about his Dad’s termination—it was already common knowledge that he’s a key USMNT piece, as anyone who has paid attention to Americans on the European continent over the past couple years already knows.  Week after week, nobody has been more valuable to his club team…except for that brief EPL stint last season.

Jermaine Jones played the second half of a 2-1 loss for Schalke.  Jones provided increased stability in the midfield and narrowly missed a goal on a rocket from about 25 yards out…which required an acrobatic save from the Kaiserslautern keeper.

Timmy “Young Frankenstein” Chandler put in 90 as Nurnberg fell 2-1 to Wolfsburg.  The game winner came off of a PK in the 82nd minute, and Nurnberg went away feeling as if they should have at least picked up a point.

Jozy Altidore played 72 minutes of AZ Alkmaar’s 2-2 draw with Ajax.  However, Jozy has fallen out of favor with Alkmaar’s boss…for reasons unknown.  Altidore began Alkmaar’s Europa League match on the bench after scoring 4 goals in the last 3 Europa matches.  I know, doesn’t make sense to me either. And it shouldn’t—given that Altidore was involved in the tying goal that prevented a disastrous home loss for Alkmaar in the Europa league game against Austria Wien. Score with Jozy on the pitch in that match—2-0. Hmm…

Onyewu played the first half of Sporting CP’s 2-0 win in the 3rd round of the Taca de Portugal.  Gooch’s recent success for Sporting led to his first USMNT start under JK…welcome back. Gooch was not in the 18, however, for Sporting’s 2-0 victory in the Europa league midweek.

 

 

A ninety minute mainstay for a red hot Anderlecht side-- Kljestan is pointing at Jurgen, who should pay attention.

Sacha Kljestan played all 90 minutes of Anderlecht’s 5-0 victory vs. Standard Liege.  After taking Standard to the woodshed, Anderlecht continued to impress, taking control their Europa League destiny with a victory at Sturm Graz. Kljestan played all ninety minutes and was involved at the front end of the build-up to both goals, further signaling his intent to battle for a starting spot in Jurgen Klinsmann’s new-look USMNT.

Mix Diskerud started went 90 minutes as Stabaek drew Lillestrom 1-1.

Steve Cherundolo was an unused substitute in a 2-0 loss for Hannover. Hannover have done their best to rest their captain intermittently this season. Captain Steve did play 90 and wear the armband for Hannover against Kobenhavn midweek- but a late goal prevented the team from gaining a critical 3 points, as they drew, 2-2.

In the Championship division, our POY (for his Europa prowess) Jon Spector didn’t play. Neither did Conor Doyle. Both dressed, as did  Robbie Findley, who has escaped from the belly of the lion that ate him in South Africa and got 14 minutes in a 1-0 loss for Nottingham Forest. Maybe he’ll score again the next time they play West Ham…

Ricardo Clark did not dress and Edson Buddle played 14 minutes in Bundesliga 2 action.

Eric Lichaj, Stu Holden and Zak Whitbread are still recovering from their hip, knee, and hamstring injuries.  Maybe they should try yoga.

What are your thoughts on Altidore’s benching and Gooch’s revival?  Is Jon Spector an international caliber guy? What will a busy Sunday hold for Yanks abroad?  Let me know your thoughts on twitter, @SwampJankins. Until next week…

Dru Boyer is a Senior Writer for The Yanks Are Coming. Follow him on the Twitter- as linked above. He’s also a Kentucky basketball fan, and really hopes that one day John Calipari will have as many national championships as William Donovan Jr.

Filed Under: FeaturedOctober 2011USMNT

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  • pc6

    I might be crazy, but I think the AZ coach might be benching Altidore intentionally.  Not because he doesn’t like Altidore’s playing, but I think he wants to stick it to Klinsmann.  The coach has been pretty upset about Klinsmann calling up Altidore, and since he’s such a stickler for playing time, Klinsmann won’t call him up.  Since the next FIFA date is in February, he can start Altidore again after November. 

    I know it’s a crazy theory, but it’s possible…

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