American Exports: Altidore bags a brace in first start
AMSTERDAM — It was a heavy Sunday card for Americans in Europe, with Jozy Altidore supplying the two-goal knockout punch in AZ Alkmaar's 4-0 rout of NEC Nijmegen.
Making his first Eredivisie start for the Cheese Farmers, the US striker nodded home the winner nine minutes into the second half after a bit of area pinball. The visitors were soon relegated to 10 men, and Altidore added his second of the day by slotting home a through ball with no hesitation in the 73rd minute.
With three goals in his first 137 minutes of play for fifth-place AZ, Altidore has already topped his league goal output for the last two full seasons with Hull City, Villarreal and Bursaspor.
Next door in the Jupiler League, Sacha Kljestan notched an assist to help kick-start 10-man Anderlecht's rally for a 2-2 draw with RAEC Mons.
With the home side down two in the 69th minute, the former Chivas USA man ignited the comeback by picking out teen striker Nathan Kabasele for the youngster's first career goal. The result saw Anderlecht drift two points off the top through four games.
In English Premier League action, Clint Dempsey worked a quiet 90 minutes as Fulham fell 2-0 at Wolverhampton.
One flight down in the Championship, Jonathan Spector went 72 minutes on his Birmingham City league debut, a 3-1 defeat at Middlesbrough. The Chicago native had a hand in the Brums' first half goal, as they earned what would be a successful spot kick in the chase for the rebound of his blistering drive.
Bundesliga play saw Steve Cherundolo and Hannover 96 remain in second through three matches despite settling for a 1-1 draw with Hertha Berlin. With young defensive handyman Alfredo Morales cheering on from the visitors’ dugout, promoted Hertha clawed back to knot the game seven minutes from time.
Likewise, Jermaine Jones remained a spectator as Schalke fought back from two down to win 4-2 at Mainz 05.
Elsewhere, Rangers wrested the Scottish Premier League perch away from hosts Motherwell with a 3-0 victory merely watched by their hat trick of Americans. Maurice Edu was serving a ban for the champs, while newcomers Alejandro Bedoya and Carlos Bocanegra are still awaiting registration clearance.
Heading to Denmark's SAS Liga, Clarence Goodson marshaled the back for Brøndby in a 0-0 stalemate at AGF Aarhus. The early strugglers now have just six points in as many games to start the season.
One point above them in sixth place are FC Nordsjælland, who had Michael Parkhurst back in central defense for a full shift in their tough luck 2-1 loss at FC Midtjylland.
Nearby in Norway's Tippeligaen, Mikkel Diskerud and Stabæk surrendered their four-game win streak, but still rallied for a 1-1 share with SK Brann.