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Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

Alejandro Bedoya FC Nantes 29

Rumors of Alejandro Bedoya’s future at FC Nantes have been swirling ever since the MLS Draft, but he did something for the French club this weekend that he had not done in over a month: Start a game.

Getting the nod for the first time since Dec. 19, Bedoya went the distance as Nantes picked up a 2-2 road draw vs. Guingamp on Saturday. Bedoya was deployed in the hole for his side, and helped it pull off the two-goal, second-half comeback that extended its current unbeaten run to seven games. Nantes currently sits in 11th place, but are just five points shy of Ligue 1’s lone UEFA Europa League spot.

Two American defenders who just got their seasons underway also enjoyed 90-minute shifts, but they did so in victories. Omar Gonzalez and Jorge Villafana each played from whistle to whistle for their respective clubs, and each of the teams posted 1-0 wins. Gonzalez did so at centerback in Pachuca’s triumph over Queretaro on Saturday, while Villafana played at left back in Friday’s shutout win against Jaguares de Chiapas.

It was a less-than-memorable weekend for one player based  in England. Brad Guzan was left on the bench for the second straight game in Aston Villa’s bout with Leicester City on Saturday. The relegation-threatened Villans mustered only a 1-1 draw, and remain in last place in the English Premier League standings.

Here are how the Americans Abroad performed this weekend:



  • Tim Howard started, played 90 minutes, and made four save in Everton’s 3-3 draw vs. Chelsea on Saturday.
  • Brad Guzan dressed but did not play in Aston Villa’s 1-1 draw vs. Leicester City on Saturday.
  • Geoff Cameron did not dress in Stoke City’s 0-0 draw vs. Arsenal on Sunday.
  • DeAndre Yedlin did not dress in Sunderland’s 4-1 loss vs. Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.


  • Jonathan Spector dressed but did not play in Birmingham City’s 2-1 win vs. Brentford on Saturday.
  • Eric Lichaj started and played 90 minutes in Nottingham Forest’s 3-0 win vs. Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.
  • Danny Williams started, played 90 minutes, and received a yellow card in Reading’s 1-0 loss vs. Milton Keynes Dons on Saturday.
  • Emerson Hyndman started and played 45 minutes in Fulham’s 1-1 draw vs. Huddersfield Town on Saturday.
  • Tim Ream dressed but did not play for Fulham.
  • Cody Cropper dressed but did not play in Milton Keynes Dons’ 1-0 win vs. Reading on Saturday.
  • Duane Holmes came off the bench and played 11 minutes in Huddersfield Town’s 1-1 draw vs. Fulham on Saturday.


  • Gedion Zelalem came off the bench and played 22 minutes in Rangers’ 4-1 win vs. Livingston on Saturday.


  • Alejandro Bedoya started and played 90 minutes in FC Nantes’ 2-2 draw vs. Guingamp on Saturday.


  • Rubio Rubin did not dress in FC Utrecht’s 4-1 win vs. FC Groningen on Sunday.
  • Desevio Payne started and played 56 minutes in FC Groningen’s 4-1 loss vs. FC Utrecht on Sunday.


  • Michael Orozco dressed but did not play in Club Tijuana’s 1-0 win vs. Dorados de Sinaloa on Saturday.
  • Paul Arriola dressed but did not play for Club Tijuana.
  • Greg Garza did not dress for Club Tijuana.
  • Alejandro Guido did not dress for Club Tijuana.
  • Edgar Castillo and Monterrey play Puebla on Sunday evening.
  • Jose Torres dressed but did not play in Tigres UANL’s 2-0 win vs. Morelia on Saturday.
  • Luis Silva did not dress for Tigres UANL.
  • Joe Corona came off the bench and played 24 minutes in Dorados de Sinaloa’s 1-0 loss vs. Club Tijuana on Saturday.
  • Ventura Alvarado started and played 90 minutes in Club America’s 3-0 win vs. Atlas on Saturday.
  • Jonathan Bornstein dressed but did not play in Queretaro’s 1-0 loss vs. Pachuca on Saturday.
  • William Yarbrough started, played 90 minutes, made two saves, and received a yellow card in Club Leon’s 3-1 win vs. Veracruz on Friday.
  • Miguel Ibarra dressed but did not play for Club Leon.
  • Omar Gonzalez started and played 90 minutes in Pachuca’s 1-0 win vs. Queretaro on Saturday.
  • Jorge Villafana started and played 90 minutes in Santos Laguna’s 1-0 win vs. Jaguares de Chiapas on Friday.
  • Gabriel Farfan did not dress in Jaguares de Chiapas’ 1-0 loss vs. Santos Laguna on Friday.


What do you think of these performances? See Bedoya putting together a string of starts for Nantes? Impressed to see Gonzalez and Villafana both starting for their new clubs so soon?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. How about a “Fulbright Scholarship” for young coaches! They would have their salaries paid by US Soccer for a year or two and would work with teams from Germany or Spain. Or maybe a South American Fulbright in Brazil or Argentina? Naaah! We can’t learn anything from those guys! We’re American coaches!!!

    • Great idea, my only criticism, is you are very limited in what you can learn in 1-2 years. Its like going to junior college and getting you Associates, versus investing your time and getiing a Master’s degree. Beneficial, yes, going over and seeing how certain clubs run and develop for a year or 2, but we really need our young coaches to just go through the process, and work/learn/develop their way up to a first-team, premier league level.

    • About a decade or so ago, there was discussion about this in MLS/US Soccer circles. There are a number of roadblocks however. MLS clubs didn’t want to pay for coaches on loan, especially because they are on the hook for all coaching salaries, not the league. Coaches themselves were reluctant to go as they wouldn’t be in Europe long enough to build networks, yet they would be out of MLS long enough for networks to go stale. At the time, MLS didn’t have networks with enough coaches and clubs in Europe to “place” prospects.

  2. How about adding to the end of this list Coaches Abroad? Let us know if they won or lost, the score, to who and their place in the table…

    • Bob Bradley and Le Havre picked up a big win this weekend. The next month of the season will tell the tale for coach Bradley’s team. They have a tough schedule over the next month, playing all the teams ranked second, through sixth place. Le Havre is in third, and clairmont, who are just behind, host them next week. If Bradley gets through next weekend with a win, it will be huge.

      I’m still not sure if three teams or two teams are going to gain promotion from France’s second division.

      David Wagner and Huddersfield town are creeping up the table, 13 points shy of the last playoff spot.

      • You know jack, when USL tries to tell MLS how to run their league, MLS is not going to be to happy about it. Le Havre does have the fact that they are one of the bigger teams with a larger stadium in the second division going for them. So the first division in France might see the sense in taking three teams up for promotion. If they do well over the next month, than second is a real possibility. I’d want my team to be in at least second place come the end of the season.

  3. If I read it correctly looks like Omar Gonzalez is playing in a 3 defender backline in a 3-6-1 formation. You watching Klinsmann??

    I’d like to see Klinsmann try that 3-5-2 again but not give up on it so quickly, and not throw a midfielder that had never played CB before into the formation and then throw him under the bus when it didn’t work. A backline of Brooks, Cameron, Gonzalez (you also have Ream, Besler, Orozco you can throw in) should be able to get the job done. That allows the U.S. to use three CM (our deepest position) and still have 2 forwards and 2 wingers.

    • Monterrey played a 3 man back line for several years and when their coach moved on (can’t remember his name) he employed it again at another club. Outside of that, what other team employs a 3 man back line? It is very seldom used, and probably with good reason. I don’t understand your fascination with this formation.

      • It’s not as uncommon as you say, the USMNT under JK has even played 3-5-2 once or twice I believe. Brazil won a world cup in 2002 playing that formation.

      • The US using it once and a Brazilian team in 2002 is hardly a lot of examples. Is there anyone currently using it? I cannot remember any team in the EPL using a 3 man back line in the last dozen years or so and I can’t remember ever seeing a European club team using it. Now I admit I don’t watch a majority of the games in the top 5 leagues, nor even a majority of the European league games on TV, but over the years I have seen probably hundreds of games in Europe, including European national teams, and can’t recall one 3 man back line. Also, as I remember it, when that Monterrey team, which won the CONCACAF Champions League, went to the international club championship, they got hammered with that 3 man back line.

      • Gary, a 3 man backline is very common, especially in Mexico and Spain, but other countries as well. Herrera used a 3 man backline for both America and the Mexican national team, and the Mexican national team still uses it. Chile’s national team uses it on and off with Sampaoli. Etc. etc.

        Bottom line you are incorrect in thinking it is ultra-rare. I like it for the USMNT because of our player-pool. It would fit out pool nicely with our reliance on center-midfielders that aren’t exactly #10 type playmakers.

      • Gary, I forgot to mention that Pep Guardiola often uses a 3-man backline. There goes at least one European team (Bayern Minich) off the top off my head. But I know I am forgetting many, especially in La Liga and Portugal.

      • 3-5-2/5-3-2 (basically the same system) is not as uncommon as you say. Costa Rica used it at the last WC to great effect. Several Italian teams, notably Juventus, employ it to great success.

        However, it is an incredibly difficult system to learn; if a flat 4-4-2 is the easiest to tactically employ, the 3-5-2 is the opposite end of the spectrum. The system has very specific roles for each and every player. The transitions in this system, from defense to offense, and the shape of the team (positional awareness and discipline) are also extremely difficult to execute appropriately, and not leave yourself open to counter.

        Several people on here criticize, to a correct degree, JK’s tactical limitations; what do you think will happen if we try to implement this long-term (kudos to JK for trying, but bailing early when he realized this). This isn’t a system you can just throw together, because (temporarily) your best players seem appropriate for it.

        Also, we/JK are building long-term, and we really need to create continuity throughout the levels of our national team.

      • Those were a couple of examples quickly off the top of my head. UBG provided more. It’s not as common as a four man back line of course but it’s not at all uncommon or rare. It could make some sense for the USMNT. It also allows the fullbacks/wingbacks a little more freedom to go forward which fits with Yedlin’s game anyway. Also FJ if he’s not in midfield.

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