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Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

Brad Guzan of Aston Villa celebrates at full time


Brad Guzan may be known for his ability to make key saves, but this week a big part of the discussion will be about his timely assist.

Guzan helped Aston Villa shock Manchester City’s star-studded side on Saturday with a goal kick that wound up setting up a wild game-winner in a 3-2 come-from-behind victory for the Villans. Two minutes after Aston Villa tied the game and seconds after City looked to threaten his goal, Guzan kicked the ball upfield before it took a fortuitous bounce that sprung Andreas Weimann for the unlikeliest of goals. Guzan also contributed to the Villans’ cause with five saves.

Sacha Kljestan was another player to help set up a game-winning goal. Kljestan had the helper in RSC Anderlecht’s first goal in a 2-0 victory over Lierse SK on Sunday, a victory that saw Anderlecht bounce back from their 4-0 defeat last weekend. Kljestan started and went the distance in the home game.

Aron Johannsson also made an impact for his club and he did so with yet another goal. Johannsson netted for the fifth time in league play and tenth across all competitions on Saturday, hitting a splendid strike to lift AZ Alkmaar to a surprising 2-1 win over PSV Eindhoven and continue his torrid start to the season. Still, the victory was not enough for head coach Gertjan Verbeek to avoid getting fired on Sunday due to a “lack of chemistry” between he and the players.

Here is how the Americans Abroad fared this weekend:



  • Tim Howard and Everton play Newcastle United on Monday.
  • Jozy Altidore started and played 90 minutes in Sunderland’s 3-1 loss vs. Liverpool on Sunday.
  • Geoff Cameron started and played 90 minutes in Stoke City’s 1-0 loss vs. Norwich City on Sunday.
  • Maurice Edu did not dress for Stoke City.
  • Brek Shea did not dress for Stoke City.
  • Brad Guzan started, played 90 minutes, made five saves and had an ASSIST in Aston Villa’s 3-2 win vs. Manchester City on Saturday.
  • Brad Friedel dressed but did not play in Tottenham Hotspur’s 1-1 draw vs. Chelsea on Saturday.


  • Jonathan Spector started, played 90 minutes and received a yellow card in Birmingham City’s 2-0 loss vs. Reading on Saturday.
  • Will Packwood did not dress for Birmingham City. He is recovering from a leg injury.
  • Tim Ream started and played 90 minutes in Bolton Wanderers’ 1-1 draw vs. Yeovil Town on Saturday.
  • Stuart Holden did not dress for Bolton Wanderers. He is recovering from a knee injury.
  • Zak Whitbread did not dress in Leicester City’s 2-1 win vs. Barnsley on Saturday.
  • Eric Lichaj started and played 90 minutes in Nottingham Forest’s 1-0 win vs. Derby County on Saturday.
  • Danny Williams did not dress in Reading’s 2-0 win vs. Birmingham City on Saturday. He is recovering from a foot injury.


  • Michael Bradley did not dress in AS Roma’s 5-0 win vs. Bologna on Sunday. He is recovering from an ankle injury.



  • Fabian Johnson started and played 70 minutes in TSG 1899 Hoffenheim’s 3-3 draw vs. Schalke 04 on Saturday.
  • Joe Gyau did not dress for TSG 1899 Hoffenheim.
  • Timmy Chandler started, played 90 minutes and received a yellow card in FC Nurnberg’s 3-3 draw vs. Werder Bremen on Sunday.
  • Michael Parkhurst did not dress in FC Augsburg’s 2-2 draw vs. Borussia Moenchengladbach on Friday.
  • Jermaine Jones started and played 86 minutes in Schalke 04’s 3-3 draw vs. TSG 1899 Hoffenheim on Saturday.
  • Steve Cherundolo did not dress in Hannover 96′s 2-0 loss vs. Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday. He is recovering from a knee injury.
  • John Brooks did not dress in Hertha Berlin’s 3-1 win vs. Mainz on Sunday. He is recovering from an elbow injury.

2. Bundesliga

  • Alfredo Morales came off the bench and played 52 minutes in FC Ingolstadt 04’s 2-1 loss vs. St Pauli on Sunday.
  • Andrew Wooten did not dress in Kaiserslautern’s 3-0 win vs. TSV 1860 Munich on Sunday.
  • Bobby Wood did not dress in TSV 1860 Munich’s 3-0 loss vs. Kaiserslautern on Sunday.


  • Alejandro Bedoya came off the bench and played 66 minutes in FC Nantes’ 3-1 win vs. Stade Rennes on Sunday.


  • Aron Johannsson started, played 90 minutes and scored a GOAL in AZ Alkmaar’s 2-1 win vs. PSV Eindhoven on Saturday.


  • Eugene Starikov and FK Tom’ Tomsk play Lokomotiv Moscow on Monday.


  • Sacha Kljestan started, played 90 minutes and had an ASSIST in RSC Anderlecht’s 2-0 win vs. Lierse SK on Sunday. You can watch the assist here.


  • Conor O’Brien did not dress in Odense BK’s 1-1 draw vs. FC Midtjylland on Sunday.


  • Terrence Boyd started and played 90 minutes in Rapid Vienna’s 4-2 loss vs. Wolfsberger AC on Saturday.


  • Brian Span did not dress in Djurgarden IF’s 4-1 win vs. Halmstad on Sunday.


  • Mix Diskerud did not dress in Rosenborg BK’s 2-1 win vs. Sarpsborg 08 on Sunday.
  • Josh Gatt did not dress in Molde FK’s 1-1 draw vs. Haugesund on Sunday. He is recovering from a knee injury.
  • Ethan Horvath dressed but did not play for Molde FK.
  • Ben Spencer did not dress for Molde FK .
  • Steve Clark started, played 90 minutes and received a yellow card in Honefoss BK’s 2-2 draw vs. Viking on Saturday.


  • Michael Orozco started, played 90 minutes and received a yellow card in Puebla’s 2-0 win vs. Club Tijuana on Sunday.
  • DaMarcus Beasley started and played 90 minutes for Puebla.
  • Jose Torres started and played 45 minutes in Tigres UANL’s 2-2 draw vs. Queretaro on Friday.
  • Jonathan Bornstein did not dress for Tigres UANL.
  • Edgar Castillo started and played 90 minutes in Club Tijuana’s 2-0 loss vs. Puebla on Sunday.
  • Joe Corona started and played 45 minutes for Club Tijuana.
  • Paul Arriola came off the bench and played 45 minutes for Club Tijuana.
  • Herculez Gomez came off the bench and played 31 minutes for Club Tijuana.
  • Greg Garza did not dress for Club Tijuana.
  • Joaquin Alonso Hernandez did not dress in Monterrey’s 1-0 loss vs. Pumas UNAM on Saturday.


  • Freddy Adu did not dress in Bahia’s 0-0 draw vs. CR Vasco da Gama on Sunday.


What do you think of these performances? Did you expect Guzan to do this well during the early parts of the season? How do you see Johannsson and AZ faring without Verbeek?

Share your thoughts below.


    • Joe,

      I do agree (my comment was meant to solicit a few lulz)… but I’m curious… at what point do we acknowledge the fact that Jozy can’t perform for Sunderland) (also I’m not insinuating he can’t perform for any other premier league team.. just Sunderland).. who rely on a dump and chase sort of plan on offense

      • Kevin,

        Jozy is generally an unpopular figure on SBI .

        Notice how new boy AJ is now the next great saviour of US soccer who will soon be playing for Arsenal or some equivalent club, but when Jozy was doing pretty much exactly the same thing with exactly the same team as AJ , it was ” well, Dutch defenders are garbage, Jozy will have to prove he can repeat that in a better league”.

        This hysteria over Jozy being a fool for going to Sunderland is just SOP.

        Here’s what I take from the games I have seen so far.

        Jozy has performed as if he is at least one of Sunderland’s three to five best players. They don’t have a better target man and they don’t have anyone else who looks as if he could score goals on any sort of consistent basis. And the transfer window is closed until January.

        This team is more talented that their record suggests. They held up well against a very good Liverpool team that right now is playing about as well as any team in the Premiership. And Jozy played as good an all around game as he has in a long time.

        But Sunderland have 14 new guys who just recently came from all over the place having played in a wide variety of systems.

        “just Sunderland).. who rely on a dump and chase sort of plan on offense”.

        This is what teams whose players don’t know each other do. They are not a real “team” per se and it is obvious the players need more time together. Hopefully for them the new guy will come up with a more suitable system.

        There are 32 games left in the league season

        There are an undetermined number of cup games (FA and Capital One) left.

        It’s a little early to be jumping off the bandwagon.

      • Hear, hear.

        Regarding Altidore, specifically as to his performance so far: Watching him play for Sunderland, you can see that he’s a special player. He’s a physical beast, and the way he plays causes him to stand out on the pitch. No matter the opponent. In the Premier League, that’s saying something.

        Regarding Sunderland: You’re spot on. To those nay-sayers, go back and watch Sunderland versus Arsenal and Liverpool. They lost both 3-1, but in each game, there was a solid half-hour stretch where they looked at least a fair match to their opponent. They have more quality than several other EPL teams. If you look past the club’s recent issues, and look past the fact that it’s basically a remade team from last year, you can see real quality there.

        (And I’m an Arsenal fan.)

    • Well, Dan, as one who initially supported the Jozy-to-Sunderland move, I can say that up to this point it has been a nightmare. That said, I thought the team’s performance yesterday under a new coach was a major step in the right direction against a very good Liverpool team. Sunderland was still in the game late for a point until the explosive counter-attack and Louie’s second goal for 3-1. And if they can build on this and gel as a team and toughen up, yes, it is conceivable they can actually win a few games and maybe avoid the drop.

      As I said yesterday, I think the coach needs to make Jozy the focal point of attacks. It seemed to me he was being ignored by some of his teammates. And I am not sure about this, but there was a free kick in the first half where it appeared to me that Jozy wanted to take the shot. He was standing behind the ball after a fairly long discussion he sauntered away and the other took the shot, which was a good one that rattled the cross bar. But after seeing Jozy’s great free kick in September for the USMNT, the Sunderland coach should let him take a few shots.

  1. Is it possible that no one on the Sunderland staff scouted Jozy Altidore? The way they use him is largely as a back to the goal, target forward. They lump in blind crosses and hope for the best. The goals I saw him score last year came from the run of play, running at defenders. Did anyone even think about that when a contract was being drawn up? I believe another move will be needed in the near future

    • To be fair Jozy does play a good amount with his back to goal for the national team. Everyone is being pretty negative on what I thought was generally an improved performance against a strong side. They still lack the chemistry to create real chances but at least they were able to hold on to the ball a bit. Its still very early to write off a season.

    • Surfer,

      Did you watch the game? As a classic target man Jozy got to almost every pass sent his way and did something positive with maybe 80% of them .High level stuff.

      He had an excellent game. And this was against Liverpool who are currently playing as well as anyone in the Premiership.

      • Yes, and anyone remember him absolutely punishing Bacary Sagna (a very competent defender, imo) in the Arsenal game?

        (The play I’m remembering in particular was on the goal he scored, before it was incorrectly called back.)

  2. Terrible week for our boys. If they weren’t injured, they were benched, and the few who managed 90 minutes did so unnotably, except for Aron.

    I thought Jozy’s move to Sunderland would pay off. They were spending big and had an exciting, attack-minded manager. I admit to being wrong. How much worse can they get? They play a USMNT formation, circa 2008 with a 4-4-1-1 formation, with two deep lying CMs and two crossing wingers. Only the wingers can’t cross and when they do, one of their targets is a soccer midget. In the second half, Jozy finally began to play with fire in his belly. I hope he continues playing that way.

    • sacha kljestan – the man everyone loves to ignore. just a game winning assist. ho hum. goal or assist in 5 of last 7 league games. then again, nothing that SK has not been doing for last 2 years at anderlecht

      9 players with multiple starts in CM under JK – and sacha kljestan is not one of them.

      sadly, 99% of US fans have no issue with this…

      • With the recent injuries to Jones and Bradley, Sacha could be inline for a major role in the upcoming qualifiers. In regards to Sacha getting “ignored” you must admit his play with the USMNT has been shaky at best, yes his last start was against a very good Belgium squad but he never really showed well even against lesser opponents.

      • I’m with you on this one. I really think SK deserves to be given more opportunities in CM. Him and Bradley looked really good together against Bosnia.

      • “sadly, 99% of US fans have no issue with this…”

        That’s because Sacha is not as good as Mikey and JJ and they play all the time, when healthy.

      • This.

        When JK first came on the scene, a lot of people were calling for Sacha to get a chance. He ended up with a few garbage minutes against Italy, out of position, admittedly played poorly, and then the masses of ADHD USMNT fans were suddenly calling him the worst player ever.

        The fact is, Sacha has continually improved at the club level (and in European competition) and hasn’t gotten the credit or call ups he deserves (using other players as the benchmark).

        Worse still, he was very good against Bosnia in his 2nd half minutes, yet he’s not even called into a roster for the Costa Rica/Mexico matches where CM is suddenly thin.

        He certainly deserves a start in the upcoming Qualifiers, especially with Bradley out and Jones nursing a (minor) meniscus injury.

      • At this point Mikey seems to be the USMNT’s version of Kolo Toure.

        I’m not sure Sacha is that physical but I see Sacha as Bradley’s backup

  3. Reading recently signed former Fulham utility man and fan favorite Chris Baird on a free and have thrown him straight into the side at CM. I haven’t paid that close attention but I don’t think Danny Williams has been in the team since then. Is he injured or are the two situations related? Anyone know?

  4. Sunderland fans from my limited exposure to them seem to take an inordinate amount of pride in being the first to claim that a player is crap. There’s apparently a 1-1 relationship between screaming criticism and possessing the “true” qualities of a Sunderland supporter.

    I don’t just mean this in terms of Jozy but everybody: Ki, Cattermole, the keeper, the keeper’s mother, whoever has not scored as they am watching, Colback, Gardner, the midfield, the referee, the referee’s mum, and every other Sunderland supporter with a bit of rational perspective is apparently fecal matter unworthy of wiping the South Stand’s shoes.

  5. I was at Bahia v Vasco. Freddy also did not play in the sort of reserve game against a low level Bahian side that came first. An articlr I saw online indicated he probably would, but I think they might have turned it into a U-20 team for Bahia.

    • Clyde Frog (dig the name btw), what else does the media down there say about Adu? Is the feeling that he just isn’t good enough to get minutes? I count myself among those who were really hoping he would find success and a home at Bahia. Thx.

      • Sadly, I haven’t been reading much local media. I should, as my Portuguese is bad and I need the practice. I did read an interview with him a few weeks ago, but it was pretty much a fluff piece with nothing interesting. I imagine there was a lot more written when he first arrived, but I wasn’t here then. I do watch a fair amount of Brazilian sports TV, but mostly from the national level. I haven’t seen anything about him on TV.

        And unfortunately, I’m out of here in a couple weeks. (untol next summer, that is)

    • For how long have we heard everyone complain about Donovan not testing himself in Europe in a top league. All last season all anyone said was how awful the defending is in the Dutch league, Now that Jozy does try to test himself he should have stayed at AZ. Some people won’t be happy no matter what a player does.

      • I think that’s a misrepresentation of the argument. People are disappointed he’s on a team where he really doesn’t even have an opportunity to succeed. If he signed with a side that was feeding him the ball, getting him looks and his output was this low, then the reaction would be different. I think it’s just disappointing that he ended up transferring to a side with so little quality.

      • There is a large segment of SBI posters who will never rate Jozy.
        He tore up the Dutch league but it was just the Dutch league with crap defenses.
        Yet when AJ starts to do the same thing with the same team suddenly he is a top class striker and his goals are “better” than Jozy’s.

      • Notice that those guys who never rated jozy, always pointed that the dutch league was crap are the same guys that think the Iceman is amazing?

    • I watched the whole Sunderland v. Liverpool game and Jozy looked really impressive. Isolated nearly the whole game, he held the ball up really well and rarely lost possession. I wouldn’t write the Sunderland move off as a failure yet.

    • I’m going to beg to differ, very few people called that move a potential disaster, most everyone (especially the pundits) were calling for 15 goals this season. I remember being mocked when I simply said that it was a risky move in a season before the World Cup.

    • I still can’t process this. I thought it was a joke when someone suggested Sunderland get him for Jozy’s sake. I wonder what he did to annoy his bosses to the point of firing him.

      • Makes no sense. Beat one of the giants of Dutch football, have the team in competition for Europe, and get the sack? Yikes. Ernie, what’s up with that?

      • You only see what happens on the field .

        That is 90 minutes out of the week. The rest of the week you don’t know what happens.

        Obviously, all was not rosy behind the scenes at AZ.

      • Yep, that’s what I was thinking. He clearly has done something that doesn’t involve actually games to get himself fired. Musta have been fairly big to do it when they did.

  6. Not for nothing but Sky Sports rated Guzan a “3” for the match and said he should have done better on the goals conceded.

    Of note relative to USMNT right back saga, Parkhurst not playing and Spector and Lichaj are. Specs has been put at right back lately and center back in cup play. I’m not sure how long they should be overlooked by Klinnsy given their performance. Specs is generally considered by the the Birmingham management as one of the most important players at the club. Granted, they suck so it is a “Queen of the Pigs” situation but still…..we have right backs playing in Europe week in and week out in a decent league….

      • Joe,

        Do you really think a guy who was willing to leave out Donovan or cut out the popular Boca is worried about what anyone else thinks about him calling in Dolo or Chandler at the last minute? In fact, he has already said that he will hold out a spot for Dolo, if Dolo can ge back to fitness.

        JK is a guy who was savaged by the vicious German press, a much bigger deal in Germany, leading up to the 2006 World Cup. I doubt he’s going to be worried about what anyone thinks of his fullback choices

    • The first goal for City was kind of soft. It was hit right at Guzan and somehow he managed to miss it. A 3 is low however. IMO a 5 would have been more appropriate.

      Jozy is not getting decent service at all from Sunderland. When they do bother to pass it to him, his back is always to goal and he lays it off for someone else who then blows an opportunity. The entire match, the color guy was remarking about the quality of Liverpool’s chances even though they were massively outshot. Rarely did Sunderland look dangerous. If they can’t get the ball to Jozy, they either need to find players who can or at the least change the formation to a 4-4-2 so he has some help.


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