American Exports: Dempsey bags his first hat trick
AMSTERDAM — It was an FA Cup Saturday full of excitement for Americans, headlined by Clint Dempsey's first professional hat trick sparking Fulham's 4-0 third-round rout of Thames derby guests Charlton.
The US star deposited a Danny Murphy slip pass on seven minutes to open, dialed up his "CONCACAF Connection" to convert from combo play with Bryan Ruiz just past the hour and, finally, blasted a penalty kick earned by the Costa Rica attacker with nine minutes left.
Dempsey now has seven goals in his last nine outings and 12 on the campaign across all competitions — just one shy of his career-high.
Elsewhere in the 131st edition of Earth's oldest soccer tournament, Landon Donovan set up the early winner and Tim Howard registered his third shutout in five as Everton promenaded past fifth flight mites Tamworth on a 2-0 count.
Johnny Heitinga broke the ice after just five minutes by nodding home a Donovan corner kick. The loan ace nearly got himself on the board in the late going, only to have his distance effort catch the top corner of the woodwork.
Meanwhile, Howard executed one of his two saves on the day against Donovan's former LA Galaxy teammate Kyle Patterson. Fellow US backstop Marcus Hahnemann watched from the Toffees dugout as understudy.
Brad Guzan applied the exclamation point on Aston Villa's 3-1 advancement at Bristol Rovers with an excellent spot-kick save in stoppage time. In all, the former Chivas USA netminder turned away six shots to extend his perfect FA Cup lifetime record to 5-0.
Birmingham City right back Jonathan Spector enjoyed a clean outing in a 0-0 home draw with nearby rivals Wolverhampton. The Brums must now head to Molineaux on Jan. 17 for the derby replay.
Zak Whitbread saw yellow during his solid 90 minutes as Norwich City cruised to the fourth round with a 4-1 decision over visiting Burnley.
Also, Conor Doyle went unused in Derby County's 1-0 home win against Crystal Palace.
In Portugal's honor division, Oguchi Onyewu pitched in a fine effort at the back in his first derby match against defending champions Porto, a 0-0 home stalemate. The Lions remained both six points adrift of the leaders and winless in their last three "Civil War" duels against their rivals.
Over in Israel, Bryan Gerzicich worked his typical stingy shift in defensive midfield as Ligat Ha'Al darlings Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona maintained their six-point table top edge with a 2-0 win over Hapoel Ironi Rishon Lezion. The northerners now have five straight victories and a 515-minute shutout streak at home.
Leo Krupnick went the distance in defense as Maccabi Netanya conceded a late back-breaker in their 2-1 defeat at Beitar Jerusalem.