American Exports: Bradley bags first, historic Serie A goal
AMSTERDAM — Americans lit the lamp all over Europe on Saturday, with Chievo midfielder Michael Bradley bagging his first Serie A goal to spark a 3-2 win over Catania.
The US midfielder broke the ice after only six minutes by trailing the play to bury a cutback from 16 yards. Bradley became the first American to score in Italy's honor division since Alexi Lalas hit his third goal for Padova more than 17 years ago. The win pushed Chievo's unbeaten run to four and tentatively lifted them to within six points of a Europa League slot.
Turning to England's Premier League, Clint Dempsey continued setting new personal bests with a first-half pair of goals in Fulham's 3-0 cruise at Tim Ream's Bolton.
The "Texas tornado" opened the scoring with a curling free kick from about 30 yards at the half-hour mark, his eighth first goal of the season. Dempsey then took sole possession of fifth place in the EPL goal chart by nodding home a Damien Duff cross for his 15th next to halftime. The US star narrowly missed a late chance to claim another hat trick, leaving him for the time being with 21 goals across all competitions. Dempsey also extended his record for EPL goals by an American to 48.
Thanks to consecutive wins, Fulham returned to the table's better half, in 10th place. Despite a solid effort from Ream, 16th-place Bolton saw their three-game win streak halted.
Around the league, Brad Friedel made three saves in Tottenham's 0-0 stalemate at Sunderland. The former US netminder, whose best work occurred when he smothered a Nicklas Bendtner attempt near intermission, now has shutouts in two straight away matches. The point nudged Spurs up to third place in front of derby rivals Arsenal, who play Sunday.
Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard registered four saves in a 2-2 draw at Norwich City. The Canaries rallied from behind twice on the seventh-place Toffees, who conceded multiple goals for the first time in six matches.
Eric Lichaj has a decent day at left back in Aston Villa's 1-1 draw at Liverpool. The visitors were forced to settle for a share when Luis Suárez netted two minutes from time, stalling them in 15th.
Over in the Bundesliga, Fabian Johnson quietly worked left back and Daniel Williams was solid in defensive midfield as Hoffenheim posted a 2-1 victory at Kaiserslautern. Thanks to consecutive road wins, the visitors rose to 10th place. Andrew Wooten came on with 27 minutes remaining for the Red Devils, who remain glued to the basement.
Meanwhile, Alfredo Morales went unused in next-to-last Hertha Berlin's 0-0 draw at Borussia Mönchengladbach.
In Scotland's Premier League, Carlos Bocanegra saw yellow wearing the captain's armband and Maurice Edu put in a strong shift as Rangers won for the third straight time, 3-1 over St. Mirren. With Alejandro Bedoya watching on from the dugout, Edu won an early penalty kick that was squandered by Sone Aluko. The Light Blues are now nine points clear of third place Motherwell, who play Sunday.
Belgian playoff action saw Mikkel Diskerud contribute 72 relief minutes in midfield as Gent stayed three points shy of a Champions League berth after a 2-0 defeat at holders Genk. The Buffaloes, who lost at Cristal Arena for the second time in less than three weeks, could slip further off pace when second-place Club Brugge play on Sunday.
Finally, in the Portuguese second division, Tony Taylor hit the late capper as table-toppers Estoril downed visiting Naval 2-0. The strike was his fourth of the league season, but first for the leaders since returning from a loan spell at Atlético CP.