By FRANCO PANIZO
After enjoying a strong first half in his rookie season, Rubio Rubin will look to pick up where he left off when he plays his first game of 2015 on Sunday.
Rubin is one of just two foreign-based Americans set to play Sunday, as he and Utrecht resume play in the Eredivisie with a home game against Heerenveen. Rubin played in 14 of the club’s 17 matches during the opening half of the campaign, and will try to add to that number and help Utrecht move into a European spot. Utrecht is one point shy of a Europa League place, and could slide into one with a win this weekend.
The other player who could see time on Sunday is Sacha Kljestan, whose days in Europe might be coming to an end. Kljestan, a current target of multiple MLS teams, and Anderlecht return from their winter break when they serve as hosts to Lierse. Anderlecht is riding a four-game winning streak across all competitions, and will try and carry that momentum from December into this month in an effort to close the four-point gap separating it from league leaders Club Brugge.
If you’re wondering what other match might be worth keeping an eye on, look no further than Nantes’ visit to Monaco. Alejandro Bedoya and Nantes will square off with the talented and in-form French side on Saturday, and a win could see the Canaries overtake Monaco’s fifth-place positioning. Nantes will have its hands full, however, as the Red and Whites have not tasted defeat in their last nine games across all competitions.
Here is who the Americans Abroad lock horns with this weekend:
Michael Orozco, Herculez Gomez and Puebla play Veracruz.
Greg Garza, Joe Corona, Paul Arriola and Club Tijuana play Ventura Alvarado and Club America. (Corona is out injured and Arriola is with the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team.)
Brad Guzan and Aston Villa play Liverpool.
Geoff Cameron and Stoke City play Leicester City.
DeAndre Yedlin, Brad Friedel and Tottenham Hotspur play Sunderland.
Zak Whitbread and Derby County play Ipswich Town play Eric Lichaj and Nottingham Forest. (Whitbread is out injured.)
Emerson Hyndman and Fulham play Danny Williams and Reading. (Hyndman is with the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team.)
Jonathan Spector, Will Packwood and Birmingham City play Leeds United. (Packwood is out injured.)
Tim Ream and Bolton Wanderers play Sheffield Wednesday.
Oguchi Onyewu and Charlton Athletic play Watford.
Alejandro Bedoya and FC Nantes play AS Monaco.
Aron Johannsson and AZ Alkmaar play Dordrecht ’90.
Jose Torres and Tigres UANL play Club Leon.
Edgar Castillo and Atlas play Morelia.
Rubio Rubin and FC Utrecht play SC Heerenveen.
Sacha Kljestan and RSC Anderlecht play Lierse.
Tim Howard and Everton play West Bromwich Albion. (Howard is out injured.)
Which of these matches are you most anticipating? Do you see Rubin keeping up his strong season during the second part of the Eredivisie campaign? Think Kljestan has played his last game for Anderlecht?
Share your thoughts below.