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Americans Abroad: A Look Ahead

Sacha Kljestan 1 (Reuters)

 

By FRANCO PANIZO

The chase for hardware in Europe continues this weekend, and a handful of Americans are still in the mix.

Sacha Kljestan and RSC Anderlecht are three points behind first-place Racing Genk in the Belgian playoffs, but they can close the gap with a win against the league leaders on Saturday. Kljestan is likely to get the nod against Genk as he's started in three of Anderlecht's last four matches, a stretch that began when Kljestan assisted on an insurance goal when Anderlecht last faced Genk.

Oguchi Onyewu is also in the hunt for hardware, with FC Twente facing Ajax in the Dutch Cup final. Twente and Ajax are also set to square off for the league title next weekend, so Onyewu could end his spell on the bench with a start on Sunday.

Europe isn't the only place where Americans are vying for championships. Jonathan Bornstein and no. 1 seed Tigres UANL are vying for the Mexican crown, and their playoff campaign continues versus Chivas de Guadalajara in the second leg of the home-and-away series. Bornstein and Tigres UANL will have to bounce back from a 3-1 loss in the first leg if they hope to advance.

Here is a rundown of who the Americans Abroad play this weekend:

FRIDAY

Quentin Westberg and Evian Thonon Gaillard play Grenoble.

Sacha Kljestan and RSC Anderlecht play Racing Genk in the playoffs.

Marcus Tracy, Chris Rolfe and Aalborg BK play Lyngby. (Tracy is out injured.)

Alejandro Bedoya and Orebro SK play Kalmar.

SATURDAY

Brad Friedel, Brad Guzan, Michael Bradley and Aston Villa play Wigan Athletic.

Stuart Holden and Bolton Wanderers play Sunderland. (Holden is out injured)

Tim Howard and Everton play Manchester City.

Jonathan Spector and West Ham United play Jermaine Jones and Blackburn Rovers.

Robbie Findley and Nottingham Forest play Crystal Palace.

Zak Whitbread and Norwich City play Coventry City.

Eddie Johnson and Preston North End play Watford.

Mike Grella, Eric Lichaj and Leeds United play Queens Park Rangers.

Conor Doyle and Derby County play Reading.

Frank Simek and Carlisle United play Yeovil Town.

Anton Peterlin and Plymouth Argyle play Leyton Orient.

Maurice Edu and Rangers play Heart of Midlothian.

Daniel Williams and SC Freiburg play Borussia Moenchengladbach.

Ricardo Clark and Eintracht Frankfurt play FC Cologne.

Timmy Chandler and FC Nurnberg play TSG Hoffenheim.

Steve Cherundolo, DaMarcus Beasley and Hannover 96 play VfB Stuttgart.

Carlos Bocanegra and St Etienne play Arles.

Jozy Altidore and Bursaspor play Besiktas.

Gale Agbossoumonde and Djurgardens IF play Ryan Miller and Halmstads BK.

Jonathan Bornstein and Tigres UANL play Chivas de Guadalajara.

Sonny Guadarrama and Atlante play Cruz Azul.

SUNDAY

Marcus Hahnemann and Wolverhampton Wanderers play West Bromwich Albion.

Dominic Cervi and Celtic play Kilmarnock.

Luis Robles and Karlsruhe play Arminia Bielefeld.

Alfredo Morales and Hertha Berlin play FC Erzgebirge Aue.

David Yelldell and MSV Duisburg play SC Paderborn 07.

Bobby Wood and TSV 1860 Munich play Amaechi Igwe, Edson Buddle and FC Ingolstadt 04. (Wood and Igwe are out injured.)

Oguchi Onyewu and Twente Enschede play Ajax in the Dutch Cup.

Freddy Adu and Caykur Rizespor play Tavsanli Linyitspor.

Michael Parkhurst and FC Nordsjaelland play Esbjerg. (Parkhurst is out injured.)

Clarence Goodson and Brondby IF play FC Copenhagen.

Mixx Diskerud and Stabaek IF play Haugesund.

Josh Gatt, Sean Cunningham and Molde FK play Rosenborg.

MONDAY

Clint Dempsey and Fulham play Liverpool.

Quentin Westberg and Evian Thonon Gaillard play Stade Laval.

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Which matches are you most looking forward to? Think Kljestan and Anderlecht will defeat Genk? Do you see Onyewu starting against Ajax in the Dutch Cup final? Hoping Bornstein can reclaim his starting role and put together a string of solid performances before the Gold Cup?

Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. Apparently the rules to break a tie have changed over the years–it was once away goals.

    Presumably the current idea is to reward a good regular season, and I view that as having some merit. However, the highest seed has rarely done well in the liguilla in the era of the 2 semester system(torneos cortos). In fact they call it the curse of the Superlider to go in top of table.

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  2. The rosters having been announced yet so why don’t you wait until they are?

    Gomez was not worthless in MLS. His problems came from being hurt and being played out of position in midfield. It took a move to Mexico to get his mojo back.

    Rodgers was brought to Red Bull because Backe was his former boss at Notts County. Presumably, Backe knows enough about MLS and Notts County to know whether Rodgers would succeed. Besides what did Backe have to lose by bringing the guy in? If he didn’t work out so what? National teams are different. The camp for the Gold Cup won’t be a “try out” camp like the camp the US generally holds in January. They will have very little time to waste on working in new guys.

    If Taylor is so good let some higher level BL club pick him up and he will prove himself at a higher level.

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  3. Thanks for all the info! I watch a lot of the Mexican League but my Spanish isn’t good enough to understand anything especially detailed (I just started learning it last year, I’ve only done Elementary I and II so far). I could understand the announcers saying the game was being stopped to rehydrate the players but either they didn’t elaborate further or I just wasn’t able to follow it.

    I’m looking forward to the partidos de vuelta este fin de semana, even though I still think it’s bizarre that a tied aggregate advances the higher seed.

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  4. And a correction, Pumas gave up 13 goals in the Clausura, still 2nd best. (I wanted to forget those 2 goals sent in by América).

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  5. Oops, I see from reading Mexican press they’ve gone to scheduled rather than discretionary hydration breaks, as you mentioned.

    And that the criticism about the commercials and the breaks themselves have led Televisa to say they’ll stop airing commercials during the breaks.

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  6. I think that they may have had a player have health issues with the heat a year or two back–on a hot day–so they leave it up to the ref’s discretion. I do agree they often do it when the sideline reporters are saying the temperature is pretty reasonable.

    By the way, this weekend’s games are the return legs of the quarters.

    Number 1 seed Tigres are down 1-3 to Chivas, so must win by 2 or more in Monterrey to advance.

    Number 4 seed Atlante are down 1-2 to Cruz Azul, so any win in Cancún will put them through.

    The only higher seed to win the away leg was Morelia, defeating América 2-1.

    The two stingiest defenses in the Clausura, Tigres(9 let in 17 games) and Pumas(11) both gave up 3 goals in their away matches.

    Remember, first two rounds highest position in the regular season table advances on aggregate tie, finals extra time then penalties if tied on aggregate.

    Oh, and all rounds home and home, usually Wed-Sat and/or Thurs/Sun.

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  7. German football vs. American a/o Mexican… history, tradition, passion (well maybe the Mexicans have both beat after urinating in bags and tossing them at Yanks in WC Qualifying–now that’s CLASS), determintation, and most of all skill.

    Have you been to a 3.BL match, Ives. I have, and that is what I am basing it off, to include the history of football.

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  8. Since there are some AA’s in Mexico, this is probably the most relevant place to ask:

    anyone know what’s up with the refs stopping FMF games ~25 minutes into each half for ~2 minutes for the players to rehydrate? The first time I saw it it was 103 F so I figured it was for health/safety reasons, but the temps were much more reasonable last night and they stopped the game then too.

    I did a search and only found some guy on a forum ranting about it bringing in more ad money during the playoffs, but the first game I saw it happen was before the playoffs. So is this a new permanent thing or what?

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  9. Have you actually ever watched Bornstein play for the USMNT? Other than scoring that relatively meaningless goal to eliminate Costa Rica from WC contention, he hasn’t done anything. Actually, he has led to numerous goals and chances for the opposition. He’s a bum.

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  10. A lot of fringe spots depend on fitness – chandler is recovering from a knock, as is whitbread.

    I hope whitbread gets in and gets a cap – he’ll be our only CB in the EPL next year.

    Then, theres always a shot Bradley makes a crazy decision for a spot (Brings 2 keepers and a player like Dax McCarty or Brek Shea). Bob always has a surprise or two up his sleeve, especially with selection, so we’ll see pretty soon what he has decided on

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  11. Patrick – Not related at all. But have seen him play on numerous occassions while he was at TuS Koblenz. He’s a solid player, who puts himself in goal scoring situations and converts them. Go watch him for yourself. And what do you say about Luke Rodgers rise from 4th Division England? Unlike Taylor, Rodgers is surrounded by star power. Taylor is not and lighting up the nets around Germany. A number of BL clubs are seeking his services this summer.

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  12. Ives – thanks for responding. And Luke Rodgers comes to the MLS from 4th Division in England and is on fire-Why? He is surrounded by quality players. Taylor, on the other hand, plays and scores on an everage 3.BL team, that have played in the Bundesliga before, and could easily beat any mid-level MLS or Mexican club. The logic is that Gomez was worthless in the MLS and somehow turned on his engines prior to the World Cup. All i am saying is that Taylor is hot too, and using that same logic, he deserves a look in camp this summer.

    (SBI-So a Bundesliga 3 side can “easily beat any mid-level MLS or Mexican club.” Really? What exactly are you basing that on? I’d love to know.)

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  13. Bornstein is good, and has provided quality service to the Nats. Maybe he is not the best LB in the entire world, but why hate? As to the post above, H. Gomez was joint top scorer of one of, if not, the best leagues in North and South America. How can you compare that to a third division? Maybe Taylor deserves some attention from the American media, but he’s hardly in contention for the national team. That said, best of luck to him, but I think Ives does a good job with this Amers. Abroad section.

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  14. Good link, which tells you more than anything else why he’s playing over there. That’s about 4x the amount MLS offered him. Can’t blame him for playing there, his money will go a little further there too.

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  15. I agree that Diskerud wasn’t as affective against Chile as the playmaker, but I don’t think he was necessarily awful. He didn’t slice open any defenses, but perhaps throwing the playmaker nickname on him this early is a mistake. He still showed plenty of positives.

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  16. He’s 20 so no he can’t. Where was I hyping him up? I just said he had a chance to make the Gold Cup roster. He’ll probably at least get picked for the 30 man preliminary squad.

    He was good against South Africa, and I saw him in person against Chile and I wasn’t very impressed. Lots of turnovers. He definitely still has some things to work on and I don’t think he’ll end up getting picked for the final 23.

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  17. Wait, did I detect optimism regarding Bornstein in this post? The guy is a loser and belongs on the bench with every team that is not a weekend pick-up rec league team.

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  18. No, Disk was awful vs Chile…Looked a a boy among men. No strength on the ball and only willing to pass back. This stifles the attack. Maybe in 5 years….But this kid needs to learn how to play professionally first. Nowhere near International Quality at this point.

    Hopefully Kljestan is progressing…

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  19. Oh ok. I was just making sure you weren’t forgetting about him. Honestly I’m not sure if there is room on the final Gold Cup roster for Feilhaber AND Kljestan/Diskerud. Given that Jones, Bradley and Edu are absolute shoo-ins for the 23 man roster and whoever out of those 3 doesn’t start will almost certainly be on the bench, and assuming Feilhaber reprises his World Cup super-sub role, I don’t think there is really a need for Kljestan or Diskerud.

    If they do make the final roster they’ll be one of the last guys to make it, so it’ll come down to positional breakdown questions like:

    – Does Bob take 4 strikers out of the group of (Jozy, Agudelo, Gomez, Buddle, Teal & Davies) or does he only take 3?

    – Besides Boca does he take another left footed back like Pearce or Bornstein?

    – In addition to Dolo, how many does Bob take of the following players: Chandler, Lichaj, and Spector.

    – Assuming Boca starts at LB, does Bob take 4 or 5 of the following players: Gooch, Goodson, DeMerit, Ream, Whitbread, Marshall, etc.

    Also, since Diskerud and Kljestan can play on the wing as well, they could possibly beat out Bedoya for that back up left winger spot if they out perform him in the friendly against Spain or camp

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  20. christ, you push the kid so much its almost like you’re related to him. Hes playing in the THIRD DIVISION of Germany. You know who else doesn’t get covered on here? Lee Nguyen. Wanna know why? Because his league sucks too

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  21. Ives – Once again, you elected to leave off the hottest Yank goal scorer in Europe, Matthew Taylor with 15 goals in 26 3.BL matches (5th place).

    Matthew Taylor looks to increase his tally when Rot Weiss Ahlen takes on Rot Weiss Erfurt in Ahlen.

    You were behind an unproven MLS prodigy when Gomez’s streak in Mexico leading up to the World Cup. Why not Taylor? I just want to hear your logic for continuing to leave him out of the picture.

    (SBI-We don’t cover EVERY league in the world. We stop at Bundesliga 2. You’re more than welcome to keep reminding us about Taylor, but we need to draw the line somewhere. As for the “unproven MLS prodigy”, Gomez worked his magic in the Mexican FIRST division, which we cover for Americans Abroad.There are a hundred leagues in the world. We can’t get them all.)

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  22. The kid had a slump. He’s out of it now and is getting minutes for his club. He’s done pretty well for his first season arriving at a pretty good club.

    People hold Sacha’s HUGE slump in form and confidence against him, even though he’s out of it. He’s not back to the pre-slump form he had, but he’s been working his way back and has shown the Sacha we fell in love more and more frequently.

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  23. They are not that close.

    One in up and coming (Mixx).

    One is…or should be…down for the count.

    Kljestan is just not (quite) USMNT quality; imho.

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  24. Feilhaber is unique in that he’s already sort of a shoo-in for a spot, not just because he can play the Donovan/Dempsey role ( albeit off the bench), he can play in the central midfield if need be, tactical, injury, booking or otherwise.

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  25. Time for Eddie Johnson, Hahneman, Beasley, and Buddle to come home.

    It would be nice to see Guzan transfer out again too- he has a ton of talent but Friedel might last another couple of years.

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  26. I think, based on form, there is going to be a race between Kljestan and Diskerud for the back-up attacking midfield role( the roles Donovan and Dempsey play in the 4-4-2/4-2-2-2). Diskerud definitely showed us some things against South Africa and Chile. Both provide raw creativity and play pretty much the EXACT same role. It’s just a matter of form. They’re VERY close right now.

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  27. I think (at least I hope) he’ll get some playing time in at least one of their last 3 games. They’re 6 points from the drop, so they’re not mathematically safe, but more than likely they are.

    Reply

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