American Exports: Altidore scores but AZ title hopes dented
Jozy Altidore’s highlight-reel strike against PSV was the lone bright spot on a Saturday filled with disappointment for Americans across the pond.
Altidore scored his 14th goal of the league campaign and 18th overall for AZ Alkmaar to even the score at one against PSV Eindhoven, driving a blistering shot into the top corner from outside the penalty area in the 24th minute.
AZ took a 2-1 lead 10 minutes later through Roy Beerens, a result that would have tied them with Ajax at the top of the table had it held. That wasn’t to be, however, as the Cheese Farmers coughed up two late goals after Altidore exited in the 63rd minute, wasting a prime opportunity to pull even with Ajax, who now hold a three-point lead with a game in hand.
Across the North Sea at Wembley, Tim Howard and Everton found themselves knocked out of the FA Cup, dropping a semifinal match against archrivals Liverpool by a 2-1 scoreline after Andy Carroll scored with three-minutes remaining.
The Toffees took an early lead through Nikica Jelavic before Luis Suarez evened the score a quarter of an hour into the second half, with both goals the result of defensive errors. The knockout blow from the burly striker came from a free kick just outside the penalty area, as Craig Bellamy whipped in a free kick in the 87th minute and Carroll rose above the Everton defense to flick a header past a helpless Howard in net.
Liverpool will play the winner of Sunday’s semifinal between Tottenham, led by another American goalkeeper in Brad Friedel, and Chelsea.
In English Premier League action, Zak Whitbread failed to make the bench as Manchester City and Carlos Tevez took Norwich City to task. Tevez scored a hat trick and Sergio Aguero added two goals of his own as the Citizens ran out to a 6-1 victory.
Down a level in the Championship, Robbie Rogers started for Leeds United against Peterborough United, but left after 12 minutes because of an ankle injury. Leeds went on to win 4-1, and remain safely in mid-table.
USMNT midfielder Jermaine Jones couldn't help Schalke 04 avoid a 2-1 home defeat to Borussia Dortmund, who took a decisive step toward repeating as Bundesliga champs. Jones, who picked up a Bundesliga-leading 12th yellow card in the 83rd minute, went the distance for Schalke, who are still clinging to the third automatic UEFA Champions League berth with a four-point lead over fourth-place Borussia Monchengladbach.
American fullback Timothy Chandler played 90 minutes for FC Nurnberg in a big 2-0 road win at last-place FC Kaiserslautern, which virtually ensures Bundesliga safety for Nurnberg while practically condemning the home team to relegation. Chandler, who struck the post inside the first 10 minutes, also picked up an early 33rd-minute caution in the match.
Staying in Germany, Steve Cherundolo had a hand in allowing Son Heung-Min's goal as Hanover dropped a 1-0 result at HSV Hamburg. The American right back played the entire match as Hanover remain in seventh place, occupying the final Europa League qualification spot with Werder Bremen breathing down their necks, two points away.
In Belgium, Sacha Kljestan and Anderlecht saw a 16-match undefeated streak in league play come crashing to an end to the tune of a 3-1 home loss to Genk, which could see Anderlecht's lead atop the playoff table reduced to a single point if FC Brugges win their game in hand. With his club down 2-0 at the break, the American midfielder came off at halftime in favor of Milan Jovanovic, who failed to convert a penalty kick with 10 minutes remaining.