American Exports: Altidore hits No. 20 amid controversy
AMSTERDAM – It was an eventful Tuesday night for Jozy Altidore, who ignored some racist abuse from the stands to notch a goal and an assist in AZ Alkmaar's 5-0 KNVB Cup cruise through a nine-man Den Bosch outfit.
Though the Cheese Farmers reached the semifinals for the first time since winning it all in 2007, the night's story was Altidore. Mere moments after the match was temporarily halted because of monkey chants from a group of home supporters, the US striker won and converted a 39th-minute penalty.
Den Bosch defender Jelle De Bock was sent off for bear-hugging the American to the ground in the area, and No. 17 shirt coolly deposited the resulting spot kick for AZ's fourth. Altidore then used a cheeky touch to set up Adam Maher for the 60th-minute capper.
The US power forward, who now leads all tourney scorers with five goals, also set a new career-best with his 20th across all competitions. Altidore also has eight goals in his last six games. Though badly slumping before the winter pause, AZ have emerged from it by winning three straight games by a 13-2 combined count.
Across the North Sea in England's Premier League, Geoff Cameron was strong before the break, but a bit more troubled after it as Stoke City blew a two-goal lead in a 2-2 home draw with Wigan.
With Potters transfer target Brek Shea looking on from the stands, Cameron opened as part of a three-man backline before a formation shift put him at right back. The former Houston Dynamo man picked out Peter Crouch for a late shot at the winner, only to have the striker fan on the finish.
Though 10th-place Stoke were able to snap a three-game losing slide, they remained winless in five EPL matches.
Elsewhere, the home woes of Brad Guzan and Aston Villa continued in a 2-1 defeat to Newcastle. While Eric Lichaj went unused by the hosts, the US netminder warmed up with a good early stop on Davide Santon. However, Guzan was beaten between the legs on a Papiss Cissé break-in and left no chance by a stunning Yohan Cabaye strike as Villa tumbled back into the relegation zone with their fourth straight home loss in EPL play.
Over in Turkish Cup group play, Maurice Edu worked a solid shift in defensive midfield as Bursaspor settled for a 0-0 draw at second flight 1461 Trabzon. The point gained was just enough to keep their slim quarterfinal hopes alive for now, but Sivasspor can oust them by avoiding home defeat to Fenerbahçe on Wednesday.