American Exports: Champions league spots, a league title on the line as European season nears end
AMSTERDAM – Americans are getting set for closing day in several leagues around Europe, with Sacha Kljestan and Belgian champs Anderlecht hosting a title showdown with second place guests Zulte Waregem. All times in ET.
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
Tim Howard – Everton at Chelsea (Sunday, 11 am)
Already assured of a sixth-place finish, Everton will try to catch the Blues on a Europa League hangover. A win at Stamford Bridge on Sunday would give the Toffees their highest EPL point total since 1988. Howard lost at Chelsea last season, but had posted five straight draws at Stamford Bridge before then. The hosts may need to go without Eden Hazard and John Terry.
Clint Dempsey, Brad Friedel – Tottenham vs. Sunderland (Sunday, 11 am, Fox Soccer)
Spurs must win and get some help from Newcastle if they are to accomplish their season-long goal of getting back to the Champions League. Dempsey, who has four goals in the last month, will likely start. Sunderland were once among Tottenham's least favorite guests, but they have only one victory in the last 11 at White Hart Lane.
Fabian Johnson, Daniel Williams – Hoffenheim at Borussia Dortmund (Saturday, 9:30 am)
Johnson should start at left back, while Williams could possibly make his return from injury. The visitors have the unenviable task of rescuing their Bundesliga membership away to the Champions league finalists. Hoffenheim, who've yet win in five tries at Dortmund, need a victory and some Saturday help – but if both Augsburg and Fortuna Düsseldorf lose, a win pulls them out of the relegation fray altogether.
Jermaine Jones – Schalke at Freiburg (Saturday, 9:30 am)
Jones & Co. can claim a Champions League ticket with a victory over their closest table rivals, but a draw leaves them susceptible to sixth-place Eintracht Frankfurt, who are only two points back. The Miners have a .500 all-time record at Freiburg, but have dropped two straight against them overall. The American midfielder, however, has never lost to the final-day opponents, going 2-0-1.
BELGIAN JUPILER LEAGUE
Sacha Kljestan – Anderlecht vs. Zulte-Waregem (Sunday, 8:30 am)
It all comes down to the last day of the season in Belgium, where Anderlecht can clinch a title repeat with a draw against their second-place visitors. Another championship would make Kljestan just the sixth American to celebrate back-to-back championships in a European top flight. The Mauves may need to do it without nicked top scorer Dieumerci Mbokani, who will face a late fitness test to determine his availability.
BEST OF THE REST
Geoff Cameron, Brek Shea – Stoke City at Southampton, Sun. 11 am on Fox Soccer 2Go
Brad Guzan, Eric Lichaj – Aston Villa at Wigan, Sun. 11 am on Fox Soccer 2Go
Michael Bradley – AS Roma vs. Napoli, Sun. 2:45 pm
Steve Cherundolo – Hannover 96 vs. Fortuna Düsseldorf, Sat. 9:30 am
Tony Taylor – Estoril at Gil Vicente, Sun. 1:30 pm
Maurice Edu – Bursaspor at Gençlerbirliği, Sun. 9 am
Terrence Boyd – Rapid Vienna at Mattersburg, Sat 12:30 pm
Carlos Bocanegra – Racing Santander at Sabadell, Sun. 3 pm
Charles Kazlauskas – Helmond Sport at Sparta Rotterdam, Sun 8:30 am
Greg Seltzer covers Americans based in Europe for MLSsoccer.com.