By FRANCO PANIZO
After nearly a month of languishing on the bench, Sacha Kljestan made quite the statement in his return to Anderlecht’s starting lineup.
A hungry Kljestan showed why he may deserve more minutes than he’s been receiving lately, scoring a game-winner and assisting on an insurance goal in Anderlecht’s 2-0 triumph over RAEC Bergen Mons on Sunday, his first match since coming off the bench on Jan. 19 and first start since Dec. 10. Kljestan opened the scoring and netted his ninth goal across all competitions in the 37th minute of the match. He then set up the match’s final tally in the second half to end the club’s two-game winless streak and help his cause as he tries to earn a roster spot on the U.S. National Team’s World Cup squad this summer.
Another midfielder looking to do the same is Danny Williams, who put together a goal-scoring performance of his own on Sunday. Williams buried his second of the season and the month by hitting home the opener in the 10th minute of Reading’s 3-1 victory over Queens Park Rangers, a win that further solidified the Royals’ chances of earning a promotion playoff spot this season.
Two other players found the back of the net in a bounce-back weekend for the Americans Abroad contingent. Terrence Boyd celebrated his 23rd birthday by coming off the bench and netting his 13th of the season across all competitions late in Rapid Vienna’s 2-1 loss to FC Trenkwalder Admira on Sunday. Aron Johannsson scored his 22nd in all competitions in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Juan Agudelo and FC Utrecht.
Here is how the Americans Abroad fared this weekend:
- Jozy Altidore did not dress in Sunderland’s 1-0 win vs. Southampton on Saturday.
- Cody Cropper did not dress in Southampton’s 1-0 loss vs. Sunderland on Saturday.
- Tim Howard dressed but did not play in Everton’s 3-1 win vs. Swansea City on Sunday.
- Eric Lichaj did not dress in Nottingham Forest’s 3-1 loss vs. Sheffield United on Sunday. He is recovering from an injury.
- Oguchi Onyewu and Sheffield Wednesday’s match vs. Charlton Athletic was postponed due to a waterlogged field.
- Clint Dempsey and Fulham did not play this weekend.
- Geoff Cameron and Stoke City did not play this weekend.
- Brad Guzan and Aston Villa did not play this weekend.
- Brad Friedel and Tottenham Hotspur did not play this weekend.
- Sebastian Lletget and West Ham United did not play this weekend.
- Zak Whitbread and Derby County did not play this weekend.
- Will Packwood started and played 90 minutes in Birmingham City’s 2-1 loss vs. Huddersfield Town on Saturday.
- Jonathan Spector did not dress for Birmingham City. He is recovering from an injury.
- Tim Ream started and played 90 minutes in Bolton Wanderers’ 1-1 draw vs. Millwall on Saturday.
- Stuart Holden did not dress for Bolton Wanderers. He is recovering from a knee injury.
- Danny Williams started, played 90 minutes and scored a GOAL in Reading’s 3-1 win vs. Queens Park Rangers on Sunday. You can see the goal here.
- Brek Shea did not dress in Barnsley’s 2-2 draw vs. Doncaster Rovers on Saturday.
- Duane Holmes did not dress in Huddersfield Town’s 2-1 win vs. Birmingham City on Saturday.
- Gboly Ariyibi and Leeds United did not play this weekend.
- Steve Cherundolo did not dress in Hannover 96’s 2-0 loss vs. Mainz 05 on Friday.
- Fabian Johnson started and played 90 minutes in TSG 1899 Hoffenheim’s 4-1 win vs. VfB Stuttgart on Saturday.
- Timmy Chandler did not dress in FC Nurberg’s 1-0 win vs. FC Augsburg on Sunday. He is recovering from a knee injury.
- John Brooks dressed but did not play in Hertha Berlin’s 2-1 loss vs. VfL Wolfsburg on Sunday.
- Alfredo Morales started and played 90 minutes in FC Ingolstadt 04’s 2-0 win vs. TSV 1860 Munich on Friday.
- Bobby Wood came off the bench and played 25 minutes in TSV 1860 Munich’s 2-0 loss vs. FC Ingolstadt 04 on Friday.
- Andrew Wooten came off the bench, played 15 minutes and received a yellow card in FSV Frankfurt’s 3-2 win vs. Dynamo Dresden on Saturday.
- Alejandro Bedoya started, played 90 minutes and received a yellow card in FC Nantes’ 0-0 draw vs. Nice on Saturday.
- Aron Johannsson started, played 90 minutes and scored a GOAL in AZ Alkmaar’s 1-1 draw vs. FC Utrecht on Saturday.
- Juan Agudelo started and played 74 minutes in FC Utrecht’s 1-1 draw vs. AZ Alkmaar on Saturday.
- Jermaine Jones did not dress in Besiktas’ 1-0 win vs. Bursaspor on Sunday. He is recovering from a groin injury.
- Sacha Kljestan started, played 90 minutes, scored a GOAL and had an ASSIST in RSC Anderlecht’s 2-0 win vs. RAEC Bergen Mons on Sunday.
- Terrence Boyd came off the bench, played eight minutes and scored a GOAL in Rapid Vienna’s 2-1 loss vs. FC Trenkwalder Admira on Sunday. You can see the goal here.
- Michael Orozco started and played 90 minutes in Puebla’s 1-0 loss vs. Cruz Azul on Saturday.
- DaMarcus Beasley came off the bench and played 45 minutes for Puebla.
- Jose Torres came off the bench and played 12 minutes in Tigres UANL’s 0-0 draw vs. Jaguares de Chiapas on Saturday.
- Jonathan Bornstein came off the bench and played 17 minutes in Atlante’s 1-0 win vs. Pachuca on Saturday.
- Edgar Castillo started and played 90 minutes in Club Tijuana’s 3-2 loss vs. Santos Laguna on Friday.
- Joe Corona came off the bench and played 30 minutes for Club Tijuana.
- Herculez Gomez came off the bench and played 26 minutes for Club Tijuana.
- Greg Garza dressed but did not play Club Tijuana.
- Paul Arriola did not dress for Club Tijuana.
- Joaquin Alonso Hernandez dressed but did not play in Monterrey’s 2-0 loss vs. Club Leon on Saturday.
What do you think of these performances? Happy to see the Americans Abroad contingent bounce back from a poor weekend with four goals? Which midfielder has a better shot at reaching the World Cup, Kljestan or Williams?
Share your thoughts below.