ROTTERDAM, The Netherlands – He's already the first American to log a 30-goal season in one of Europe's top flights. Now Jozy Altidore can add a domestic cup triumph to his growing résumé.
Altidore fired the winning goal as AZ Alkmaar claimed their fourth KNVB Cup crown with a 2-1 victory against PSV Eindhoven at De Kuip on Thursday. The strike was his 31st across all competitions for the Dutch club, extending his record for Americans in Europe.
AMSTERDAM – Clint Dempsey and Tottenham Hotspur pulled to within a point of England's fourth and final Champions League berth by fighting back late for a 2-2 draw in a crosstown derby at Chelsea.
The US star entered with the visitors down one with 20 minutes remaining, while compatriot Brad Friedel watched from the dugout. Dempsey created a late opportunity to shoot for the winner by barging into the area on the right, only to fire straight at the Blues netminder Petr Cech.
AMSTERDAM – The Champions League charge of Michael Bradley and AS Roma officially ended on Tuesday with a late 1-0 loss to visiting Chievo that put third place in Serie A out of reach.
The US midfielder did not start against his former employers, entering a scoreless game in the 77th minute. As stoppage time began, the visitors countered from a Roma corner kick, with Cyril Théréau applying the fatal touch.
AMSTERDAM – Another traditional fall-to-spring season is winding down in Europe, meaning the Yanks employed “over there” will soon turn their thoughts to marching the US national team further down the noble path to World Cup qualification.
But before we close the book on the 2012-13 campaign, it's time to take stock of the lessons learned from the play of US internationals. With barely one year left to the World Cup, some of these indicators could prove critical to Jurgen Klinsmann's hopes of taking the US deep into Brazil 2014.
AMSTERDAM – A pair of Americans suited up for Monday night football across the pond, with Geoff Cameron working the second half at left back as Stoke City inched toward assured Premier League safety with a 1-1 draw at 10-man Sunderland.
The US international provided 45 solid minutes of defense, and was not culpable on John O'Shea's 63rd-minute equalizer. The point gained took Stoke up to 11th place, five points above the trap door.
AMSTERDAM – Americans enjoyed a fine Sunday across the pond, led by Tim Howard's well-earned shutout in a 0-0 Merseyside derby at Liverpool.
The US star made three saves on the day, but his best action came when he kept his feet to force Reds forward Daniel Sturridge too wide to score on a breakaway just after halftime. Despite Howard's sixth clean sheet in the last eight games, the Toffees slipped five points off the EPL's Europa League invite and seven shy of the fourth Champions League slot.
AMSTERDAM – It was an winning Friday for Americans playing in Europe, highlighted by Jermaine Jones and Schalke moving six points clear in the race for the Bundesliga's last Champions League slot thanks to a late 1-0 winner at nearby rivals Borussia Mönchengladbach.
The US midfielder (above) drew a yellow card during his competent full shift. Thanks to Julian Draxler's 82nd-minute strike, the fourth-place Miners stayed alive to grab Germany's third group-phase pass in their final two games.
AMSTERDAM – The weekend brings another exciting European card of big bouts involving Americans, with Everton's Tim Howard aiming to snap a five-game win drought against local nemesis Liverpool. All times listed in ET.
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
Brad Guzan, Eric Lichaj – Aston Villa at Norwich City (Saturday, 10 am on Fox Soccer)
AMSTERDAM – Birmingham City handyman Jonathan Spector is set to run out of contract in June, but MLSsoccer.com has learned chances are good the US international will be back at St. Andrews next season.
The 27-year-old, who will miss the Brums' season closer against visiting Blackburn on Saturday due to an ankle injury, can be retained for another year on a pre-agreed deal. Spector's agent expects a decision from the club next week.
Sometimes the game just isn't flowing your way, and you run out of ideas on how to change it.
It was a lesson a forlorn FC Barcelona side experienced at the ruthless hands of Bayern Munich in Wednesday's UEFA Champions League semifinal second leg, and Gus Johnson gained much the same lesson in the broadcast booth over those same 90 minutes.