By FRANCO PANIZO
The U.S. national team has yet to find an ideal solution for its problematic situation at left back, but Jonathan Spector's latest performance for West Ham might be a sign that he is the answer.
For the third consecutive game, Spector started at left back and helped relegation-threatened West Ham post a cleansheet in its 0-0 draw with Blackburn. Spector and the Hammers' shutout was their second in the past three games, and brings their goals conceded total to one during that stretch.
Despite much speculation about his immediate future with Stade Rennes, fellow defender Carlos Bocanegra also enjoyed a strong showing this weekend. Bocanegra, who has now started in four of Rennes' last five games, played 90 minutes as the club posted a 4-0 victory over Grenoble.
While the performances by Spector and Bocanegra bode well for an ailing U.S. team backline, the most interesting game may have come on the offensive side of the ball. Freddy Adu made his Aris Salonika debut in a 2-1 defeat to FC Xanthi, but provided an assist to forward Eddie Johnson, whose goal was his first for the Greek club and first since April 8 of last year.
Here is how the Americans Abroad performed this weekend:
- Landon Donovan started and played 75 minutes in Everton's 1-0 win vs. Wigan Athletic on Saturday.
- Tim Howard started, played 90 minutes and made two saves in Everton's 1-0 win vs. Wigan Athletic on Saturday.
- Jozy Altidore started, played 68 minutes, had an ASSIST and drew a penalty kick in Hull City 's 2-2 draw vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday.
- Clint Dempsey did not dress in Fulham's 2-0 loss vs. Aston Villa on Saturday. He is recovering from a knee injury.
- Jonathan Spector started and played 90 minutes in West Ham's 0-0 draw vs. Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.
- Brad Friedel started, played 90 minutes and made four saves in Aston Villa's 2-0 win vs. Fulham on Saturday.
Brad Guzan dressed but did not play in Aston Villa's 2-0 win vs. Fulham on Saturday.
Marcus Hahnemann started, played 90 minutes and made three saves in Wolverhampton Wanderers' 2-2 draw vs. Hull City on Saturday.
Stuart Holden did not dress in Bolton Wanderers' 2-0 loss vs. Liverpool on Sunday.
COCA COLA CHAMPIONSHIP
- Jay DeMerit and Watford's match vs. Swansea City on Saturday was postponed.
- Frank Simek came off the bench and played 24 minutes in Sheffield Wednesday's 2-1 win vs. Plymouth Argyle on Saturday.
- Kenny Cooper did not dress in Plymouth Argyle's 2-1 loss vs. Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.
- Ian Joyce did not dress in Southend United's 2-2 draw vs. Swindon Town on Saturday.
- Zak Whitbread dressed but did not play in Norwich City's 2-1 win vs. Hartlepool United on Saturday.
- Mike Grella dressed but did not play in Leeds United's 2-0 win vs. Colchester United on Saturday.
- Jemal Johnson started and played 90 minutes in Stockport County's 2-0 loss vs. Southampton on Saturday.
- Jon-Paul Pittman came off the bench and played 9 minutes in Wycombe Wanderers' 3-2 win vs. Bristole Rovers on Saturday.
- Maurice Edu did not dress in Rangers' 3-0 win vs. Falkirk on Saturday. He is recovering from an ankle injury.
- DaMarcus Beasley did not dress in Rangers' 3-0 win vs. Falkirk on Saturday. He is recovering from a thigh injury.
- Dominic Cervi did not dress in Celtic's 1-0 win vs. Hamilton Academical on Saturday.
- Oguchi Onyewu did not dress in AC Milan's 1-1 draw vs. Livorno on Sunday. He is recovering from a knee injury.
- Michael Bradley started and played 90 minutes in Borussia Moenchengladbach's 4-3 win vs. Werder Bremen on Saturday.
- Steve Cherundolo did not dress in Hannover 96's 3-1 loss vs. Nurnberg on Saturday. He is recovering from a shoulder injury.
- Sal Zizzo did not dress in Hannover 96's 3-1 loss vs. Nurnberg on Saturday. He is recovering from a knee injury.
- Jermaine Jones did not dress in Schalke 04's 2-0 win vs. TSG Hoffenheim on Saturday. He is recovering from a leg injury.
- Ricardo Clark did not dress in Eintracht Frankfurt's 2-1 loss vs. FC Cologne on Saturday.
- Luis Robles and Kaiserslautern play Alemania Aachen on Monday.
- Matt Taylor did not dress in FSV Frankfurt's 2-0 loss vs. SC Paderborn 07 on Sunday.
- David Yeldell did not dress in TUS Koblenz's 1-0 win vs. Fortuna Dusseldorf on Friday. He is recovering from a leg injury.
- Carlos Bocanegra started and played 90 minutes in Stade Rennes' 4-0 win vs. Grenoble on Saturday.
- Charlie Davies did not dress in Sochaux's 1-1 draw vs. Valenciennes on Sunday. He is recovering from multiple injuries.
- Kamani Hill did not dress in Vitoria de Guimaraes' 3-1 loss vs. Benfica.
- Freddy Adu came off the bench, played 26 minutes and had an ASSIST in Aris Salonika's 2-1 loss vs. FC Xanthi on Sunday.
- Eddie Johnson came off the bench, played 20 minutes, received a yellow card and scored a GOAL in Aris Salonika's 2-1 loss vs. FC Xanthi on Sunday.
- Jose Francisco Torres started and played 66 minutes in Pachuca's 5-1 win vs. Atlante on Saturday.
- Edgar Castillo did not dress in Tigres UANL's 3-1 loss vs. Guadalajara on Saturday.
- Marco Vidal and Indios de Ciudad Juarez play America on Sunday evening.
- Herculez Gomez came off the bench and played 20 minutes in Puebla's 2-1 loss vs. Queretaro on Sunday.
What do you think of these performances? Is Spector is the solution at left back? How happy are you to see Bocanegra getting back in the mix with Rennes? Do you see Adu and Johnson continuing to wreak havoc on defenses?
Share your thoughts below.