American Exports preview: Trophies at stake in Europe
AMSTERDAM – This weekend, there will be several European matches involving Americans that decide everything from titles to promotions to Europa League berths. All times listed in ET.
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
Aston Villa vs. Tottenham (Sunday, 9 am on ESPN3)
Americans: Brad Friedel (Spurs), Brad Guzan, Eric Lichaj (AV) – The former Villans netminder will set up in the away goal as Tottenham try to hang onto England's fourth and final Champions League slot.
Lichaj and his rising form will start at left back for the hosts while Guzan serves as Shay GIven's backup. Villa, who need a point to ensure EPL safety, are winless on Tottenham's last three visits and in six series games overall.
Hannover 96 vs. Kaiserslautern (Saturday, 9:30 am on My Sports Germany)
Americans: Steve Cherundolo (H96), Andrew Wooten (FCK) – It's very simple: if 'Dolo and Hannover win on closing day against the already-relegated Red Devils, they return to the Europa League. If they do not, archrivals Wolfsburg can snatch the invite with a victory at Stuttgart.
Cherundolo will want to help cut the supply line to K-Town No. 9 Wooten, who may be in the mood to celebrate his contract extension. The Reds are attempting to stand as the lone unbeaten home side for the season, which would be a club first.
AZ Alkmaar vs. FC Groningen (Sunday, 8:30 am on Eredivisie.tv)
American: Jozy Altidore (AZ) – With AZ still trying to nail down a Europa League place on the season's final day, the bruised US striker has personally upgraded himself from doubtful to probable.
Appearing would offer Altidore the chance to crack the 20-goal mark across all competitions, but he's surely more concerned with helping his team avoid the playoff route to Europe by beating Groningen. Historically a timid visitor, Gang Green have only dropped one of the last four clashes in Alkmaar.
BELGIAN JUPILER LEAGUE
Anderlecht vs. Club Brugge (Sunday, 8:30 am)
American: Sacha Kljestan (AND) – Holding a seven-point cushion with three games left, Anderlecht can celebrate their 31st Belgian crown with a home derby win over second-place Club Brugge.
With skipper Lucas Biglia doubtful, Kljestan should return to the lineup. The boys from Brugge fell on their last Constant Vanden Stock visit, but had posted draws in the three prior to that.
PORTUGUESE LIGA ZON SAGRES
Porto vs. Sporting Lisbon (Saturday, 3:30 pm on ESPN3/Sport TV Americas)
American: Oguchi Onyewu (SCP) – With Gooch a yellow away from suspension ahead of what Sporting hope will be a decisive final day contest with Braga, it remains to be seen if the American will start.
The Lions need a victory at Porto, preferably by a large margin, if they want to reach closing day with a shot at Portugal's third Champions League berth. Small problem: Porto are in the mood to celebrate their 26th Primeira Liga title and have won four straight derby meetings at home.
Lyngby vs. FC Nordsjælland (Saturday, 11 am)
American: Michael Parkhurst (FCN) – It may only last about 27 hours, but the Wild Tigers can go level at the top with three points at Lyngby. Parkhurst has started the last two matches in central defense and it's a good bet he's there again this weekend.
Winners of four straight, Nordsjælland will be seeking revenge for a home loss to Lyngby in October. However, they have zero goals and one point from three lifetime top flight games there.
BEST OF THE REST
Bolton (Tim Ream) vs. West Bromwich Albion – Sun. 9 am on Fox Soccer 2Go
Fulham (Clint Dempsey) vs. Sunderland – Sun. 9 am on Fox Soccer 2Go
Wolverhampton vs. Everton (Tim Howard) – Sun. 9 am on Fox Soccer 2Go
Blackpool vs. Birmingham City (Jonathan Spector) – Fri 2:45 pm on Fox Soccer 2Go
Hertha Berlin vs. Hoffenheim (Joseph Gyau, Fabian Johnson) – Sat. 9:30 am on My Sports Germany
Werder Bremen vs. Schalke (Jermaine Jones) – Sat. 9:30 am on My Sports Germany
St. Pauli vs. Paderborn (Matt Taylor) – Sun. 7:30 am on My Sports Germany
Palermo vs. Chievo (Michael Bradley) – Sun. 9 am
Gent (Mikkel Diskerud) vs. Kortrijk – Sat. noon
Rangers (Carlos Bocanegra) vs. Motherwell – Sat. 7:45 am on Fox Soccer Plus
Aalborg BK vs. Brøndby (Clarence Goodson) – Sun. 10 am
Sandnes vs. Hønefoss (Steve Clark) – Sun. noon
Molde FK (Josh Gatt) vs. Aalesunds FK – Sun 2 pm
Maccabi Netanya (Leo Krupnick) vs. Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona (Bryan Gerzicich) – Sat. 10 a.m