American Exports: Spurs, Friedel stay in Top 4 hunt
AMSTERDAM – Several Americans took to the Wednesday night lights in Europe, headlined by a crucial showdown in England, with Brad Friedel and Tottenham Hotspur traveling to face Tim Ream's Bolton.
The burly netminder recorded four saves as Spurs won 4-1, collecting three points back-to-back league matches for the first time since mid-January to stay ahead of victorious Newcastle on goal differential. A pair of late slip-ups marred what had been a good night in the Bolton defense for Ream as Wanderers stayed a single point from escaping the quicksand with two games left.
There was also plenty to talk about up in Scotland as late Rangers sub Alejandro Bedoya scored his first SPL goal in a 5-0 rout of Dundee United at Ibrox.
Having entered with a quarter-hour to go, the US international beat two defenders to poke home an assist from industrious worker Maurice Edu from the top of the box to open his Light Blues account with six minutes left. Carlos Bocanegra went the distance to marshal the Rangers backline to its first home shutout since January.
Eredivisie action saw AZ Alkmaar top scorer Jozy Altidore stretchered off in the 35th minute after a harsh blow to the head during a 1-1 draw at NEC Nijmegen. The Cheese Farmers surrendered all hopes of both the title and a Champions League pass, and must now make up two points on closing day in order to avoid needing a playoff route to the Europa League.
Over the border in Belgium, Sacha Kljestan and Mikkel Diskerud entered for opposing sides together in the 79th minute as Anderlecht moved closer to the title with a 1-0 home win over Gent.
Kljestan returned from suspension to help the Mauves close out their third consecutive victory, which lifted them seven points clear at the top with three matches remaining. Diskerud's Gent, meanwhile, slipped to fourth place, four points adrift of the second Champions League place and one back of a Europa League invite.
Next door in France's Ligue 1, Charlie Davies was an unused sub as Sochaux missed a chance to climb out of the danger zone in a 2-1 defeat at Ajaccio. Les Lionceaux remained two points from safety with three games still to play.
Finally, in Denmark, Michael Parkhurst and FC Nordsjælland sliced their deficit in the Superliga title race to three points with a 1-0 triumph over first place FC Copenhagen.
With the US defender performing admirably in the heart of defense, the Wild Tigers won for the fourth straight time. Nordsjælland, who snapped a two-game home losing streak against the champs, now need to win just one of their final four matches to clinch the club's first ever Champions League entry.