American Exports: Tim Howard, Everton in 9-goal thriller; John Brooks starts in Hertha loss
AMSTERDAM – It was a rough day at the home office for Tim Howard and Everton, who were on the wrong end of a 6-3 beating administered by Chelsea.
Beset by some major errors at the back, the Toffees backstop was largely helpless to stop Chelsea from notching more tallies than they'd accumulated in their last five meetings with the American. Howard did manage three saves, including a good second half stop on Diego Costa.
Jozy Altidore and Sunderland suffered their first defeat of the young Premier League season on Saturday afternoon, with the US striker on for the final 10 minutes of a dreary 1-0 loss at Queens Park Rangers. The American carved out one chance to fire on goal near time, but a pair of QPR defenders hustled out to block away his low 25-yard rocket. The Black Cats are now winless in four league games, dating back to last season.
One flight down in the Championship, Eric Lichaj was sturdy in his return to left back as Nottingham Forest stayed in first place thanks to a 1-0 victory at Sheffield Wednesday. The Illinois native pitched in with eight clearances on a day when Wednesday made busy shipping crosses. The Reds are unbeaten in five overall road matches this season, with four wins.
Elsewhere, Emerson Hyndman returned to the Fulham line-up in style, helping the home side gain their first point of the season with a 1-1 share against Cardiff City. The USMNT call-up moved the ball well throughout his full shift, and buzzed the frame with a shot from distance near the half-hour mark.
Despite a solid left back outing from Tim Ream, Bolton's early-season woes continued in a 1-0 defeat at Leeds United. The defender rang up a game-best four pass interceptions and passed incisively, but it was all for naught as winless Wanderers lost for the fourth time in five.
It was also a rough day for Jonathan Spector and Birmingham City, who were handed a 4-0 lesson at Wigan. Though he led his side with four tackles, the veteran handyman was partially to blame on the Latics' ninth minute opener and his turnover started the break that resulted in their second moments before intermission.
Zak Whitbread went unused in seventh place Derby County's 1-1 draw with guests Ipswich Town.
Across the channel in Ligue 1, Alejandro Bedoya provided 82 solid minutes of right wing industry as Nantes climbed to fourth place with a 1-0 defeat of visiting Montpellier. The US attacker nearly earned an assist near the quarter hour, only to have Vincent Bessat chip his fine combo set-up just wide. Bedoya then was denied a chance to get on the score sheet himself when away netminder Geoffrey Jourdren managed to push his drive around the post on 31 minutes.
Over in the Dutch Eredivisie, Rubio Rubin went 57 minutes up top in FC Utrecht's 2-0 loss at Heerenveen. The youngster, who was called up for next week's US national team friendly in Prague, passed the ball efficiently, with one set-up ending in Yassin Ayoub ringing the Heerenveen post. Rubin also drew two saves from Frisians netminder Kristoffer Nordfeldt, with his 42nd minute effort from interplay with Tommy Oar cruelly tipped around.
Turning focus to the Bundesliga, while rumors swirled about a possible imminent loan to Hamburg, Julian Green was an unused sub in Bayern Munich's 1-1 share at Schalke.
John Brooks made his first start of the term in a 4-2 loss away to early league leaders Bayer Leverkusen. The visitors switched to a 5-4-1 set and were punished for it despite twice taking the lead during the opening hour. Brooks registered a game-high three shot blocks, but was among the culpable on Leverkusen's winner after being pulled out of position in their build.
Timothy Chandler worked 34 minutes on right wing as Eintracht Frankfurt battled to a 2-2 draw at Wolfsburg. The promoted side fell behind with 11 minutes to go, but rallied late on a Vaclav Kadlec strike to remain unbeaten.
Finally, Conor O'Brien's Wiener Neustadt hit late to score a 1-0 victory at RZ Pellets WAC. The midfielder, who enjoyed a solid all-around outing, started off their winning play with a short corner feed into the box. The visitors won for the second straight week to leap from the basement to seventh place.