Americans in Europe
Goals, Saves, and More from USMNTers Abroad
While this past weekend wasn’t a particularly good one for American players in Europe, the midweek games were a completely different story. Brian Sciaretta with the top four performers.
December 05, 2013
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4. Danny Williams
The midfielder was solid on Saturday in his return to Reading’s starting lineup following a foot injury. On Tuesday, he was even better in a 1-0 win over Charlton. In the first half, he forced a turnover with a steal and promptly assisted on Billy Sharp’s goal, which would be all that Reading needed for the win.
After being relegated last year, Reading look poised to make a push for promotion. Williams will play an important role. If American fans are looking for someone to emerge late in the cycle to make a trip to Brazil, Williams could be that guy.
3. Tim Howard
There is little question that Everton have been one of the biggest surprises in England this year. It was a mystery how the club would respond under new coach Roberto Martinez after David Moyes left for Manchester United. Nearly four months into the season, Everton are surprisingly better off under the Spaniard.
On Wednesday, they exacted revenge on Moyes and United with a 1-0 win at Old Trafford. Tim Howard was stellar in the game against his former club. It was his eighth shutout of the season and his fifth in six games. Everton have conceded just 13 goals in 14 games.
2. Jozy Altidore
Not much was expected of last place Sunderland as it hosted second place Chelsea on Wednesday. Sunderland has struggled this entire year and Altidore had yet to find the back of the net. That surprisingly changed in the 14th minute when the U.S international made a nice turn on John Terry and beat Peter Cech with a well-placed left footed shot.
In the end, Sunderland lost a 4-3 game but its offense looked sharp and perhaps the goal will jumpstart Altidore and ease the growing pressure. If Sunderland is to avoid relegation this year, it will need to find a way to score goals regularly. Will this be the start of a shift in the right direction? We will see on Saturday when Sunderland host Tottenham.
1) Alejandro Bedoya
In an important game for Nantes on Tuesday against Valenciennes, Alejandro Bedoya came up big again. At the time, Nantes had lost two straight and were in danger of falling out of the top ten in Ligue 1 Bedoya scored the equalizer in the 59th minute when he cut in from the right side and finished with his left foot with a low shot from 20 yards (his goal is at 0:10 of the video below). Minutes later he set up his teammate who was fouled in the box and awarded a penalty. Nantes would fail to convert the penalty but would find the winner later in the game.
Bedoya has played well this year for a Nantes team that now sits in sixth place and is just one point away from fifth, which would qualify it from Europe.