Am. Exports: A bevy of assists & a Guzan-led Villa win
AMSTERDAM – A host of Americans clocked in overseas on Saturday, with Brad Guzan among the stars in Aston Villa's 1-0 victory at Sunderland. The former Chivas USA man made the highlight reel by preserving the lead with an 85th-minute stop on Lee Cattermole. The win ended a five-game EPL drought for Villa, who moved clear of the trap door.
Eric Lichaj was an injury sub for the Villans in the 11th minute, but only lasted 60 minutes before being removed with a knock. During his shift, the left back picked up his fifth yellow card of the season to draw a one-game suspension.
Around the league, Tim Howard had a lukewarm day as Everton settled for a 2-2 share at Fulham. The US netminder was charged with an early own-goal when he was slow getting over to a seventh-minute free kick by Costa Rica ace Bryan Ruiz, which went in off the post and then his fingers. Howard, who logged two saves, then conceded near time to lose hold of the victory. Despite posting their fourth consecutive draw, the Toffees nudged their way up to fourth place.
They now find themselves back in front of Tottenham Hotspur, who dropped a 1-0 home decision to Wigan despite a fine effort from Sky Sports Man of the Match Brad Friedel. The Spurs 'keeper was at his best with saves on Arouna Koné and Shaun Maloney on either side of the half-hour. Clint Dempsey saw yellow during his nondescript full shift as Tottenham lost consecutive EPL matches at White Hart Lane for the first time since September of 2008.
Geoff Cameron worked right back as Stoke City fell 1-0 at Norwich City. By extending their wait for a road win to 15 games, the struggling Potters slipped to 15th place.
One league below in the Championship, Zak Whitbread was sent off with a second yellow in the waning moments of Leicester City's 2-1 defeat at Watford. The center back was shown the gate in the 83rd minute after tripping up Matej Vydra while already carrying a card. With their second straight loss, the Foxes dropped to fourth place.
Bolton defender Tim Ream came on for the final 11 minutes to help the hosts close out a 2-1 victory over table-toppers Cardiff City. Wanderers edged up to 17th by winning two straight at home for the first time since March.
Meanwhile, Will Packwood was an unused sub in Birmingham City's 1-0 home loss to Ipswich Town.
Turning to the Bundesliga, Fabian Johnson assisted on the opener and Daniel Williams matched him with a full shift as Hoffenheim scraped a 3-2 win against Jermaine Jones' visiting Schalke. Johnson's diagonal entry pass permitted Kevin Volland to bag the game's first goal in the 13th minute. By snapping a four-game winless slide, Hoffenheim pulled clear of the danger zone. Jones also had his moments in a 77-minute outing for the second place Miners, who lost for the first time in 10 games across all competition.
Elsewhere, Timothy Chandler set up the 76th-minute decider as FC Nürnberg perked up with a 1-0 triumph against visiting Wolfsburg. The raiding right back's pinpoint wedged cross allowed Timo Gebhart to kiss home for a share of the points. Der Club halted a six-game skid to climb clear of the drop zone in 15th.
Hannover 96 skipper Steve Cherundolo was solid at the back in a 2-0 victory over guests Augsburg. The Reds won a league game for the first time in more than a month to reach sixth place.
One tier down in the 2.Bundesliga, Jospeh Gyau made a late cameo as St. Pauli posted a 2-0 victory at 1860 Munich.
Over in La Liga, Oguchi Onyewu watched from the bench on as Málaga fell a spot to fourth with a galling 2-1 home loss to Rayo Vallecano.
A level down in Spain's second flight, Carlos Bocanegra and Racing Santander topped visiting Alcorcón 2-1. The US captain was culpable on the visitor's stoppage-time consolation goal, but it couldn't keep the home side from winning for the first time in six.
To the north in Belgium, Sacha Kljestan assisted on the capper in Anderlecht's 4-0 cruise through Mechelen. The midfielder slipped Tom De Sutter in alone for his hat trick just before the final whistle. The defending champs posted their third shutout win in a row at home to move clear at the top of the table.
Danish Superliga action saw Michael Parkhurst set up the equalizer as holders FC Nordsjælland held on for a 2-1 rally win over Conor O'Brien and SønderjyskE. The Wild Tigers right back provided most of the industry on a 39th-minute move that ended with him teeing up Morten Nordstrand to cancel an early deficit.
Parkhurst tied atop the league assist chart with six on the season. O'Brien nearly leveled matters late with a free kick that struck the crossbar. By dooming SønderjyskE to their seventh consecutive home defeat, Nordsjælland tentatively climbed to within a point of the league summit.
In nearby Norway, Josh Gatt saw yellow in 36 minutes of relief work as Molde FK leaked late in a 1-1 draw at Tromsø. The champs allowed the equalizer 13 minutes from time, but still inched their Tippeligaen lead to four points over Mikkel Dsikerud and Sunday combatants Rosenborg.
Finally, in Austra, Terrence Boyd's late bid for an equalizing header narrowly missed as Rapid Vienna suffered a 2-1 defeat at Sturm Graz. Having dropped two straight on the road, the Green-Whites slipped four points off the title pace.