American Exports: Altidore nets 10th of season for AZ
AMSTERDAM — Americans were very busy across the Atlantic on Saturday, with AZ Alkmaar striker Jozy Altidore hitting Eredivisie double digits with the winner in a 3-1 home win over Heracles.
With the Cheese Farmers already up one near the break, the US striker cradled an entry pass before spinning to slam his 10th goal of the league season to the short side. Altidore's total made him the top AZ scorer on the term and slipped him up to ninth on the Eredivisie chart.
The hosts played the final 36 minutes down a man, while the American was replaced by Ruud Boymans 12 minutes from time. Not only did AZ extend their competitive home unbeaten streak to 25 games, they grabbed a tentative one-point table lead over Sunday combatants PSV Eindhoven.
Switching focus to England, Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard probably wishes for another chance to stop the quick reply equalizer in a 1-1 draw at Queens Park Rangers.
The US No. 1 logged four fine saves on the day, including a diving dazzler on Akos Buzsaky's dipping free kick with the match still goalless midway through the opening frame. Despite Bobby Zamora's close-range restart finish, Everton extended their unbeaten run across all competition to eight games.
Tim Ream gave a fair portrayal of a defensive midfielder in Bolton's 2-0 loss at EPL leaders Manchester City. Despite his efforts in an unfamiliar spot, Wanderers fell for the fourth straight time to stay mired in 19th place.
Norwich City defender Zak Whitbread put in another fine effort at the back, but Matthew Etherington's 72nd-minute strike doomed the guests to a 1-0 defeat at Stoke City. Losing consecutive EPL games for the first time since mid-November, the Canaries fell two rungs to 10th.
Meanwhile, Brad Guzan served as back-up netminder in Aston Villa's 1-1 share at Blackburn. David Dunn's strike five minutes from time kept the Villans winless in six and dropped them to 15th place.
One league below in the Championship, Jonathan Spector ably manned right back as hosts Birmingham City blew a two-goal lead at the hour mark for a 2-2 draw with Derby County. Suddenly with just one win in their last five home games, the Brums sank to sixth place.
Over in Serie A play, Michael Bradley was among the top performers in Chievo's 1-1 draw at home unbeatens Juventus. The Flying Donkeys, who have not lost in five against the Bianconeri, nudged up a spot to ninth.
In Germany, injury stand-in Matt Taylor hit twice after the break to lead promotion hunters Paderborn to a 3-0 victory at Alemannia Aachen that moved them to within a point of the 2.Bundesliga summit.
Having entered in the 12th minute for league top scorer Nick Proschwitz, the former Chivas USA and Kansas City forward deposited rebounds in the 55th and 62nd minutes to bust open a scoreless game. Taylor now has three tallies in the last three games and four for the season.
One flight up in the Bundesliga, Steve Cherundolo and Hannover 96 lost a chance to inhabit a Europa League spot through victory on a last minute spot kick, settling instead for a 2-2 draw. The skipper was not culpable on either surrendered goal as the Reds remained unbeaten at home on the league season.
Also, Andrew Wooten was denied a late debut winner by line clearance in Kaiserslautern's 0-0 draw with Wolfsburg.
The US Olympian got all of a snap side-volley of a weak clearance shortly after making his Red Devils bow in the 68th minute, only to have Wolves striker Mario Mandzukic expertly perform post-protection duties to boot away the shot. Kaiserslautern managed to halt a four-game losing slide, but remain bottom of the table and winless in 14.
Schalke midfielder Jermaine Jones saw yellow for the seventh time in eight league games in a 2-1 loss at Freiburg. With but one win in their last five, the Royal Blues have slipped to fourth place and 11 points off the Bundesliga lead of arch nemeses Borussia Dortmund.
Alfredo Morales worked 13 bring-it-home minutes at right back to help Hertha Berlin score their first league win since October, 1-0 over visiting Werder Bremen. The win helped The Old Lady cross back into the safety zone.
Denmark's Superliga resumed play after a long winter break, with Michael Parkhurst and FC Nordsjælland battling to a 1-1 deadlock at AGF Aarhus. The result inched the Wild Tigers to within three points of the summit, with leaders FC Copenhagen slated to face Chris Rolfe's Aalborg BK on Sunday.
In Scottish Premier League action, Carlos Bocanegra will sit a game after notching his fifth yellow card for Rangers in a 2-1 home loss to Hearts.
With Maurice Edu sitting out a delayed ban, Alejandro Bedoya watched the proceedings from the dugout. By dropping back-to-back Ibrox games for the first time in just shy of seven years, the Light Blues saw their title retention hopes drift to 21 points away.
Jumping across the "UEFA continent" to Israel, Bryan Gerzicich and runaway league leaders Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona temporarily saw their magic ended by a 1-0 loss at Beitar Jerusalem. A last gasp penalty conversion dealt the visitors their first defeat since last August, halting a span of 29 bulletproof games.
Leo Krupnick went the distance in defense as Maccabi Netanya vaulted into the sixth and final championship tier playoff zone with a 3-1 victory over Bnei Sakhnin.