Friday Kickoff: Chandler sidelined with hamstring injury, Iniesta hurt and more

Friday Kickoff: Chandler sidelined with hamstring injury, Iniesta hurt and more

Americans Abroad

Friday Kickoff: Chandler sidelined with hamstring injury, Iniesta hurt and more

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Photo by ISIphotos.com

All American eyes Friday are on Goodison Park, where Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey do battle in Everton and Fulham's FA Cup match, but there's another game in Europe that is of importance to Americans abroad as well.

Timmy Chandler's FC Nurnberg and Steve Cherundolo's Hannover 96 are slated to go up against one another in a Bundesliga match that should be featuring the present and future of U.S. fullbacks except for one small hiccup. Chandler won't be playing.

Fresh off a two-game red card suspension, Chandler was eligible to return for Nurnberg Friday, but he has a hamstring injury that will keep him out of the match. Both teams could use the victory. Hannover hasn't had a league victory since Oct. 23 (yet has managed to find its way to seventh place in the league table), while Nurnberg is just four points clear of the relegation zone.

On an individual level for Chandler, it has been a forgettable six weeks. On top of the straight red card he received on Dec. 10 against Hoffenheim, he also committed the challenge in Nurnberg training that left on-loan Los Angeles Galaxy centerback Omar Gonzalez with a torn ACL. He'll be shooting for a return to league play a week from Friday, when Nurnberg hosts defending champion Borussia Dortmund.

Here are a few more stories to get your Friday going:

INIESTA OUT THREE WEEKS

A bit overlooked in the drama and excitement of Barcelona and Real Madrid's Copa del Rey match on Wednesday was the fact that key Barcelona cog Andres Iniesta limped off the field in the first half with an apparent injury.

Tests have revealed a hamstring tear that will rule the Spanish playmaker out for the next three weeks.

Iniesta's injury should prevent him from playing in the Copa del Rey semifinals, and he is likely to miss the first leg of Barcelona's UEFA Champions League knockout tie against Bayer Leverkusen, which is slated for Feb. 14. 

Pedro, who came on for Iniesta and immediately impacted the game with a goal, is headed for a bigger role going forward, with Iniesta and forward Alexis Sanchez (shoulder) both injured and David Villa still on the mend with a broken leg.

WILSHERE REINJURES ANKLE

It has been a forgettable year for young Arsenal and English star Jack Wilshere, as his ankle injury has prevented him from getting on the field at all this season.

Just as he was on his way back from the injured list, Wilshere reinjured the ankle in training, and reports out of England suggest that he may have to miss the remainder of the season, and his involvement in this summer's Euro 2012 tournament is in jeopardy as well.

IVORY COAST THROUGH IN ACN

Ivory Coast sealed a place in the African Cup of Nations quarterfinals, defeating Burkina Faso 2-0 on Thursday to win its second straight group match.

Salomon Kalou scored in the first half, and Arthur Bako's cross was headed in by Burkina Faso defender Bakary Kone for an own goal to account for the scoring. 

The Elephants, which joined co-host Equatorial Guinea as teams that have clinched a place in the knockout stage, have one group match remaining, a winner-takes-the-group bout with Angola on Monday.

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Disappointed that Chandler and Cherundolo won't be going up against each other? Think Barcelona will be just fine without Iniesta? Do you think Wilshere is an important piece to the puzzle for England? How far do you see the Ivory Coast going in the Cup of Nations?

Share your thoughts below.

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