by Dru Boyer
As the American’s abroad return to the USMNT for an international break, a couple of guys had a very solid week and one in particular may like to forget last weekend…but who hasn’t been there? Player of the week honors to Jozy Altidore, who bagged a brace for AZ Alkmaar in their big Europa League victory.
Tim Howard recorded 7 saves, including a stop from a penalty spot, in a 1-0 shut out of Blackburn. The Rovers put a second penalty off the post with about 5 minutes remaining. To add insult to injury, Everton scored their lone goal on a controversial extra time pk.
Jon Spector had another good week in the Championship for Birmingham City, logging 90 in a 2-2 draw at Watford and drawing a crucial free kick. He also played 90 in Birmingham’s 3-0 Europa victory, which advanced the Championship side to the group stages of the competition. No word yet on whether Birmingham City fans are still writing Arsenal thank you letters for the Carling Cup title that was gifted to them, but Spector certainly caught the eye of Jurgen Klinsmann, as he was named a late addition to the USMNT roster for the Costa Rica match.
Fabian Johnson was in the 18 for Hoffenheim this week but was not utilized. He’s switched allegiances from Germany to the United States– but is waiting, we believe, on FIFA clearance to play for the US. We say we “believe” because other players have played friendlies without the clearance before– so the whole thing is a bit confusing.
Dempsey played 80 minutes of a 1-0 defeat in Fulham’s Europa showdown with Dnipro. Despite the loss the Cottagers will move on after defeating Dnipro 3-1 on aggregate. That obviously includes Dempsey’s brace in the first match…so basically Dempsey beat Dnipro on his own. This is a troubling thing too, however—Fulham have very little to threaten you with beyond Clint Dempsey and that means a long, tiring year for Duece. Let’s see if transfer signing Ruiz helps at all. But hey- bye, bye Dnipro! Smash that, Ukraine. Over the weekend, Deuce netted another goal but it was not enough to defeat Newcastle as Fulham fell, 2-1. As the transfer deadline drew to a close, Dempsey had many suitors but will still call Craven Cottage home…for now. If he keeps this scoring pace up (3 goals in 5 games), who knows what the future may hold.
Zak Whitbread played only 30 minutes after injuring his knee in a collision with Didier “the Big Unit” Drogba, who was later knocked unconscious after a run in with the Canaries’ keeper. Norwich finished with ten men and was defeated by Chelsea 3-1.
Brad Friedel made one start this week, a 5-1 pounding at the hands of Man City. MCFCs Edin Dzeko managed to score four times on the American legend, twice in each half. Late last week, the Spurs drew 0-0 with Hearts to take a 5-0 aggregate win in the Europa league.
The Glasgow AmeriGers finished last week with an extremely disappointing 1-1 draw with Maribor to fall out of the Europa league 3-2 on aggregate. The good news was that Boca began his stint at Ibrox with a 75th minute goal, after getting caught between two attackers on Maribor’s goal. Edu also went 90 minutes in the draw. The Gers bounced back in SPL play to score a 2-0 victory over Aberdeen. Edu and Boca both went 90 again, however this time they were joined by fellow AmeriGer, Alejandro Bedoya for the final half-hour.
Steve Cherundolo put in 90 solid minutes and picked up a yellow in a 1-1 Europa league draw with Sevilla to push past on aggregate. Hannover returned to Bundesliga play over the weekend and drew 1-1 with Mainz, their 3rd consecutive 1-1 result. Captain Steve again put in 90 minutes of work.
Timmy Chandler went 90 minutes in 1-0 Nurnberg victory, to even their record at 2-2.
Jozy Altidore netted a pair of goals in AZ Alkmaar’s 6-0 Europa win over Aalesund, to avenge their 2-1 loss in the first leg. Jozy was pulled after his second goal…and Born in the USA blaring over the stadium speakers. Words really don’t express how much that rules. Jozy and Alkmaar returned to league play and remained hot with a 3-0 victory over FC Groningen. Altidore put in 75 minutes and drew a yellow.
Sacha Kljestan went all 90 as Anderlecht overcame Bursaspor 4-3 on aggregate in the Europa league. Upon return to league play, Anderlecht drew with Club Brugge 1-1. Kljestan had his pk attempt stopped by the Brugge keeper to prevent the early lead for Anderlecht.
MB90 completed a transfer to Serie A squad, Chievo Verona. Here is to hoping that Bradley’s effect on Italy is similar to that of Hernan Cortes, who is credited with bringing the tomato to Europe…and let’s face it, what would Italy be without the tomato?
What are your feelings on the Italian version of MB90? I’m hoping that he will get an opportunity to work on his distribution from the midfield, a somewhat taken for granted and yes, not so polished part of his game, while enjoying Italy. I’m on the interwebs, @SwampJankins.