By FRANCO PANIZO
Brad Guzan is currently locked in a battle with Nick Rimando for the starting goalkeeper spot on the U.S. Men’s National Team, but this weekend he takes on the player who left that position vacant.
In one of the more intriguing matches involving Americans Abroad this weekend, Guzan and Aston Villa visit Tim Howard and Everton. The Villans enter the game in need of a win after having lost their last three matches by a combined score of 8-0, but Howard and the Toffees will be looking to put an end to a skid of their own that has seen go them winless in five games across all competitions.
On the other end of the spectrum, Jozy Altidore returns to Sunderland with the hopes of earning some minutes. Altidore scored an impressive goal with the U.S. in his hometown of Boca Raton, Florida, earlier this week, and that may be enough to convince Black Cats manager Gus Poyet to give the forward playing time for the first time in three league matches.
John Brooks is in a similar situation. Having been demoted to Hertha Berlin’s reserve team before the international break, Brooks will attempt to get back into the first team when Hertha take on Schalke on Saturday. U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said late last week that Brooks would make his way back into Hertha’s lineup upon returning from international duty, and now we’ll see if that was just some of Klinsmann’s trademark optimism or the truth.
Here is who the Americans Abroad take on this weekend:
Terrence Boyd and RP Leipzig play FC Nurnberg.
Joe Corona, Greg Garza, Paul Arriola, Alejandro Guido, Fernando Arce Jr, Amando Moreno, John Requejo and Club Tijuana play Jonathan Bornstein and Queretaro.
Brad Friedel and Tottenham Hotspur play Manchester City.
Tim Howard and Everton play Brad Guzan and Aston Villa.
Jozy Altidore and Sunderland play Cody Cropper and Southampton.
Eric Lichaj and Nottingham Forest play Cardiff City.
Jonathan Spector, Will Packwood, Brek Shea and Birmingham City play Tim Ream and Bolton Wanderers. (Spector is out injured.)
Emerson Hyndman and Fulham play Norwich City.
Danny Williams and Reading play Zak Whitbread and Derby County.
Joe Gyau and Borussia Dortmund play FC Cologne. (Gyau is out injured.)
Fabian Johnson and Borussia Moenchengladbach play Hannover 96.
David Yelldell and Bayer Leverkusen play VfB Stuttgart.
John Brooks and Hertha Berlin play Schalke 04.
Andrew Wooten and SV Sandhausen play FC Union Berlin.
Alejandro Bedoya and FC Nantes play Stade de Reims.
Aron Johannsson and AZ Alkmaar play PSV Eindhoven.
Sacha Kljestan and RSC Anderlecht play KV Mechelen.
Josh Gatt, Ethan Horvath and Molde FK play Haugesund. (Gatt is out injured.)
Freddy Adu and FK Jagodina play Vozdovac.
Ventura Alvarado and Club America play Alonso Hernandez and Monterrey.
Michael Orozco and Puebla play Universidad de Guadalajara.
Herculez Gomez, Jose Torres and Tigres UANL play Cruz Azul.
Edgar Castillo and Atlas play Toluca.
Gabriel Farfan and Jaguares de Chiapas play Santos Laguna.
Geoff Cameron and Stoke City play Swansea City.
Julian Green and Hamburg SV play TSG 1899 Hoffenheim.
Timmy Chandler and Eintracht Frankfurt play SC Paderborn 07.
Rubio Rubin and FC Utrecht play Dordrecht ’90.
Bobby Wood and TSV 1860 Munich play FC Erzgebirge Aue.
Alfredo Morales and FC Ingolstadt 04 play FSV Frankfurt.
Conor O’Brien and FC Magna Wiener Neustadt play SK Sturm Graz.
Jeb Brovsky and Stomsgodset play Lillestrom.
Zarek Valentin and FK Bodo/Glimt play Odd.
Michael Stephens, Andrew Jacobson and Stabaek IF play Viking. (Valentin is out injured.)
Mix Diskerud and Rosenborg BK play Valerenga.
Which of these matches are you most anticipating? Who is more likely to get out of their current funk, Guzan and the Villans or Howard and the Toffees? Do you see Altidore playing this weekend?
Share your thoughts below.