American Exports: Howard, Guzan settle for tie in goalfest
AMSTERDAM – It was a busy Saturday for Americans employed in Europe, with Tim Howard's Everton clawing back more than once for a 3-3 deadlock against Brad Guzan and Aston Villa at Goodison Park.
While neither US keeper was at his sharpest, their defenses were to blame for the goal shower. Guzan made the only five saves of the game, including a big one to deny Nikica Jelavić a moment before Marouane Fellaini knotted matters to stay with a stoppage-time restart header.
The result tentatively lifted Everton level on points with fourth-place Tottenham and extended Howard's unbeaten run across all competitions to seven games. At the same time, Villa slipped a rung to 19th place by remaining winless in their last eight EPL matches.
Earlier, Geoff Cameron experienced a key bit of bad luck in his shift back to midfield as Stoke City succumbed late in a 1-0 loss at Arsenal.
The former Houston Dynamo man's misfortune came in the 78th minute, when Lukas Podolski's free kick from just above the area deflected in off the inside of his foot. Cameron was removed for a striker scant moments later.
One level down in the Championship, Tim Ream was culpable on the equalizer as Bolton blew a lead to lose 2-1 at Watford.
Shortly after Wanderers pulled ahead on 32 minutes, the US center back lost his footing and was turned by Matej Vydra for the tying goal. Bolton fell two spots to 20th with the defeat, which kept them without a victory in 2013.
Stuart Holden did not dress after suffering a rough tackle in Friday's reserve game. The club has yet to offer an official update, but reported that the midfielder walked off the knock after being removed in the 31st minute.
Conor Doyle was an unused sub in Derby County's 3-0 win over guests Huddersfield Town. The ninth-place Rams pulled to within six points of the last promotion playoff spot.
Over in the Bundesliga, Fabian Johnson returned from injury as Hoffenheim snapped a nine-game win drought by fighting back for a 2-1 triumph over visiting Freiburg.
The left back went the distance, while club and country mate Daniel Williams came on for the final quarter-hour to help protect the points. The win, their first at home in three months, lifted Hoffenheim out of the bottom two and to within five points of escaping the relegation mire altogether.
Around the league, Jermaine Jones made his comeback from suspension with an 82-minute outing in Schalke's shocking last-gasp 2-1 home defeat to basement side Greuther Fürth.
The US midfielder twice went close to scoring from Jefferson Farfán crosses. Jones had a header cleared off the line with the game scoreless midway through the opening frame, and then nodded just wide of a potential winner in the 70th minute.
The Miners, who held firm in sixth place, have now won just one of their six overall matches at home.
Michael Parkhurst remains in wait of his Augburg debut after cooling it in the dugout during a 1-1 draw at Wolfsburg. Despite nudging to within seven points of the safety zone, the survival fighters slipped two points behind the relegation playoff slot held by Hoffenheim.
Next door in the Eredivisie, Jozy Altidore saw late yellow on a frustrating evening as 10-man AZ Alkmaar dropped their first game since the winter break, 1-0 at home to Groningen.
The Kaasboeren top gun could have put his side up in the opening moments, only to be surprised enough that the cross bounced through to screw his attempt over from the doorstep. Altidore went on to complete a solid shift, but was unable to find much quality service despite the home side's large possession advantage and 16 corner kicks.
Turning to Turkey's Süper Lig, Maurice Edu pitched in with a composed midfield display as Bursaspor held invading league-leading Galatasaray to a 1-1 draw. The Green Crocodiles stayed put in seventh place after their league-high 10th share in 20 games.
Finally, in Spain's second flight, Carlos Bocanegra highlighted a strong game with the late equalizing assist as Racing Santander got well with a 2-1 rally win at Sporting Gijón.
The US skipper, who was also booked in the second half, helped the visitors get on the board with 13 minutes to play. Bocanegra's goal-bound corner-kick header was given a final nudge by teen winger Jairo.
Thanks to their first win in four, cellar-dwellers Racing moved to within three points of climbing out of the drop zone.