American Exports: Altidore scores, but AZ out of first
AMSTERDAM – It was a fairly successful day for Americans taking the field in Europe on Sunday, with Jozy Altidore netting his team-high 11th goal as 10-man AZ Alkmaar fell off the Eredivisie perch with a 2-2 draw at Vitesse.
The US striker opened the scoring by nodding home a precise cross from Simon Poulsen, giving him a new career-best 15 across all competition this term. Shortly after Brett Holman was shown the gate with a second yellow, Altidore's fine outing ended on 70 minutes.
Across the water in England, Brad Friedel and Tottenham Hotspur got well with a 3-1 victory over Swansea City at White Hart Lane.
The American needed just one save, an early second half robbery of Gylfi Sigurdsson, to snap a five-match league win drought. Emmanuel Adebayor rewarded his netminder with a late brace to keep Spurs five points up for the EPL's final Champions League Slot.
Over in Serie A, Michael Bradley and Chievo posted their first win in five, a 2-1 smash-and-grab at Fiorentina.
As has become customary, the US midfielder was among his side's top performers, this time working from the left side of midfield. Thanks to Luca Rigoni's 88th minute strike, Chievo slipped back into the top 10 in the table.
Bundesliga action saw Steve Cherundolo captain Hannover 96 into a Europa League slot for the first time since October with a 2-1 victory over visiting Borussia Mönchengladbach. The Reds, still the only home unbeaten in Germany's honor division, vaulted three rungs to fifth.
Jermaine Jones had a busy day as Schalke rallied late for a 1-1 share with visiting Hoffenheim. Fabian Johnson patrolled left back for the hosts, who brought Daniel Williams into midfield with nine minutes remaining.
Jones both drew a yellow card and picked up a booking that will see him suspended for next weekend's clash with Hannover. The Schalke midfielder also had a 55th-minute shot cleared off the line by Johnson, but a Klaas-Jan Huntelaar spot kick kept third place Schalke unbeaten in four.
Turning to Belgium, Sacha Kljestan went 85 minutes as Anderlecht opened the championship playoff needing to rally for a 1-1 home draw against Kortrijk. The former Chivas USA man was among the complicit when the away team was allowed to open the scoring early and later missed a good chance at goal wide as the Mauves saw their league lead shaved to one point.
Heading to Denmark, Clarence Goodson and Brøndby continued their renaissance by topping guests Odense BK 1-0. Having now won three straight for the first time this season, the home side moved 13 points clear off the relegation mire and to within four of a Europa League slot.
Brad Rusin went close to scoring with a header and saw yellow in 22 relief minutes as a striker in HB Køge's 2-0 loss at FC Nordsjælland. Michael Parkhurst missed out for the victors due to a suspension.
In nearby Norway, Josh Gatt was unable to put end product with his industry as defending champs Molde FK were blanked 2-0 at FK Haugesund.
Hønefoss netminder Steve Clark made a pair of highlight-reel stops to remain bulletproof through two games with a 0-0 draw at early leaders Sogndal. The former Charleston Battery backstop was at his best to deny Stephane Badji just after intermission.
Sean Cunningham and Ricardo Clark had rough days at the office as Stabæk blew an early lead to fall 5-1 at Fredrikstad. The former was overrun along with the rest of the back line by the home side, while central park ranger Clark was robbed on a first-half long-range shot headed for the corner and later went into the book.