By FRANCO PANIZO
Jozy Altidore may have capped a dream summer with the U.S. Men’s National Team with as impressive a performance as can be imagined, but he still has no time to rest on his laurels.
After all, Altidore is set to make his much-anticipated return to the Premiership on Saturday.
Three years removed from an ugly last game in England’s top flight in which he was sent off, Altidore will attempt to help his new club, Sunderland, get off to a flying start in the new campaign by taking all three points vs. Fulham. Altidore is surely riding a wave of confidence after his three-goal, one-assist performance in the Americans’ historic 4-3 victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina on Wednesday, and that spells nothing but trouble for the visiting Cottagers.
Another Premiership match that will likely be attracting a lot of eyeballs in the United States is Aston Villa’s road game against Arsenal. The Saturday match will mark the start of what Brad Guzan is hoping is his second year as the Villans’ full-time starter, and he will have his hands full against the likes of Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla.
FC Nantes might not be opening their new season this weekend like all the Premiership clubs are, but their match vs. Lorient on Sunday could see Alejandro Bedoya make his debut for the Canaries. Bedoya is coming off a 63-minute outing vs. Bosnia in which he showed some positive signs on both sides of the ball, so he may be deemed ready enough to either start or come off the bench for Nantes.
Here is who the Americans Abroad battle this weekend:
Jose Torres, Jonathan Bornstein and Tigres UANL play Santos Laguna.
Geoff Cameron, Maurice Edu, Brek Shea and Stoke City play Liverpool. (Shea is out injured.)
Brad Guzan and Aston Villa play Arsenal.
Tim Howard and Everton play Norwich City.
Jozy Altidore and Sunderland play Fulham.
Jonathan Spector, Will Packwood and Birmingham City play Brighton & Hove Albion. (Spector and Packwood are out injured.)
Zak Whitbread and Leicester City play Derby County.
Eric Lichaj and Nottingham Forest play Tim Ream, Stuart Holden and Bolton Wanderers. (Holden is out injured.)
Danny Williams and Reading play Watford.
Fabian Johnson, Joe Gyau and TSG Hoffenheim play Hamburg SV.
Jermaine Jones and Schalke 04 play VfL Wolfsburg.
Michael Parkhurst and FC Augsburg play Werder Bremen.
Steve Cherundolo and Hannover 96 play Borussia Moenchengladbach. (Cherundolo is out injured.)
Andrew Wooten and Kaiserslautern play FC Erzgebirge Aue.
Aron Johannsson and AZ Alkmaar play RKC Waalwijk.
Conor O’Brien and FC Nordsjaelland play Aalborg BK.
Josh Gatt, Ethan Horvath and Molde FK play Odd. (Gatt is out injured.)
Mix Diskerud and Rosenborg BK play Valerenga.
Alonso Hernandez and Monterrey play Herculez Gomez, Joe Corona, Edgar Castillo, Greg Garza, Paul Arriola and Club Tijuana. (Gomez is out injured.)
Brad Friedel and Tottenham Hotspur play Crystal Palace.
Timmy Chandler and FC Nurnberg play John Anthony Brooks and Hertha Berlin.
Bobby Wood and TSV 1860 Munich play Alfredo Morales and FC Ingolstadt 04.
Alejandro Bedoya and FC Nantes play Lorient.
Eugene Starikov and FK Tom’ Tomsk play PFK Samara Kryliya Sovetov.
Sacha Kljestan and RSC Anderlect play Waasland-Beveren.
Terrence Boyd and Rapid Vienna play FC Trenkwalder Admira.
Brian Span and Djurgarden IF play BK Hacken.
Steve Clark and Honefoss BK play Sandnes Ulf.
DaMarcus Beasley, Michael Orozco and Puebla play Chivas de Guadalajara.
Freddy Adu and Bahia play Santos FC.
Which of these matches are you most looking forward to? Think Altidore will start his time with Sunderland with a goal-scoring performance? How do you see Guzan and the Villans faring vs. Arsenal?
Share your thoughts below.