American Exports preview: Curtain rises in England
AMSTERDAM — Another weekend means another busy slate of action for Americans in Europe, and we're here to run down the card's main events. All times are ET.
Fulham vs. Aston Villa (Saturday, 10 am on ESPN2/ESPN3.com)
Americans: Clint Dempsey (FUL), Brad Guzan, Eric Lichaj (AV)
With transfer buzz surrounding him, Deuce kicks off the new EPL season in the same old place: the Cottage lineup. Both Guzan and Lichaj are expected to begin this one on the Villa bench.
Dempsey has scored twice against Villa — including the late equalizer in their last meeting — but has never done so at home. The visitors have managed two wins and four draws from their last eight visits to Fulham.
Wigan vs. Norwich City (Saturday, 1 pm on FoxSoccer.tv)
American: Zak Whitbread (NOR)
It's been a long wait, but Whitbread will start at center back in his Premier League debut. His team will look to continue their upward mobility after becoming the first team to reach the Prem through consecutive promotions since Manchester City did it in 2000.
Amazingly, Norwich have only played the Latics five times and not since 2004, when they were last both in the top flight. The Canaries posted a draw in their only league visit to Wigan thus far and have split the two cup battles there.
FC Nürnberg vs. Hannover 96 (Saturday, 9:30 am)
Americans: Timothy Chandler (FCN), Steve Cherundolo (H96)
Both US right backs are expected to start in a duel between clubs hoping to record a second straight win to begin the season.
The Reds had only lost on one of six visits before last season, when they fell 3-1, in part due to a Cherundolo own-goal. That game came a month before Chandler's first team debut, with Hannover getting closing-day revenge by the same score in the first clash between the international teammates.
FC Twente vs. AZ Alkmaar (Saturday, 12:45 pm)
American: Jozy Altidore (AZ)
Manager Gertjan Verbeek says Altidore isn't quite ready to start, but the debut scorer could see more sub action at 2010-11 runners-up FC Twente.
As with the above contest, this tilt is between a pair of teams after a 2-0-0 beginning to the league campaign. The Cheese Farmers have won three straight against Twente, including a 2-1 Enschede win last November.
Évian vs. Nice - (Sunday, 1 pm on FoxSoccer.tv)
American: Quentin Westberg (ETG)
Despite last week's cosmic blunder, Westberg should again walk the line for promoted Évian in their home opener and the first-ever meeting between the clubs.
Though his rainy day gaffe allowed Brest their opener in a rally draw from two goals down, the American also fought back with key saves to preserve the point after halftime.
NORWEGIAN NM CUPEN
Fredrikstad vs. Molde FK (Sunday, noon)
Americans: Josh Gatt, Sean Cunningham (MFK)
The in-form Gatt will take up right wing as the league leaders pause from that chase to tackle FFK for a place in the Norwegian Cup final four. We may also see Cunningham, who has thus far been limited to three cup starts.
On a quest for their third cup crown, Molde have lost just once in the last four at Fredrikstad and have beaten their quarterfinal foe three consecutive times overall.
BEST OF THE REST
Schalke (Jermaine Jones) vs. FC Cologne - Sat. 9:30 am
Saint-Etienne (Carlos Bocanegra) vs. Nancy - Sat. 1 pm on FoxSoccer.tv
Lokeren vs. Anderlecht (Sacha Kljestan) - Sun. Noon
Inverness vs. Rangers (Maurice Edu) - Sat. 7:45 am
Aalborg BK (Chris Rolfe) vs. Odense BK - Sat. 11 am
Brøndby (Clarence Goodson) vs. SønderjyskE (Conor O'Brien) - Sun. 10 am
FC Nordsjælland (Michael Parkhurst) vs. HB Køge (Brad Rusin) - Sun. Noon
Stabæk (Mikkel Diskerud) vs. Stromsgodset - Sat. 10 am
Djurgården vs. Örebro (Alejandro Bedoya) - Sun. 1 pm
Millwall vs. Nottingham Forest (Robbie Findley) - Sat. 10 am