American Exports: Jozy Altidore sets new US mark with 24th goal
AMSTERDAM – A pair of US internationals rang the bell in Europe on Sunday, headlined by Jozy Altidore setting a new American record for goals in a single season across the pond. His 24th goal across all competitions in AZ Alkmaar's 2-1 defeat at RKC Waalwijk vaulted him ahead of Clint Dempsey, who had 23 goals in 2011/12 with Fulham.
After having an early shot cleared off the line, the US striker capped a sharp move to knot the match in the 70th minute. Altidore was lobbed into the area on the left by Adam Maher and matched his teammate's method by going over the RKC netminder with a left-footed one-timer to bag his 17th Eredivisie goal of the campaign.
The forward now has struck seven times in the last six league games and a dozen in as many overall games. However, AZ lost for the fourth time five winless Eredivisie games to stand over the drop zone on mere goal differential.
Over in Sweden, Alejandro Bedoya returned to work by scoring the opener in Helsingborg's otherwise disappointing 1-1 draw against Svenska Cupen group-phase visitors Assyriska.
In the 41st minute, the US international charged out of midfield to pick the top corner, making it the second Reds contract in row he's kicked off with a goal. Bedoya nearly conjured a winner 10 minutes out of intermission, only to have his effort cleared in the nick of time.
Elsewhere, Brian Span earned the penalty kick for Djurgården's second as the home side started group play with a 3-0 cruise past mites Umeå. The winger worked 74 minutes as the Blue Stripes charged to the top of their pool.
Turning to Serie A, Michael Bradley's mastery of Genoa continued in AS Roma's 3-1 victory over their northwestern visitors. The midfielder entered in the 39th minute, providing solid play the rest of the way to run his personal career record against the Rossoblu to 4-0. Thanks to their third straight win, seventh place Roma stayed within four points of a Europa League slot.
In the Bundesliga, Fabian Johnson and Daniel Williams each went the full 90 as Hoffenheim were edged out 1-0 by guests Bayern Munich.
Williams had the busier afternoon, with a pair of shots that flew just off target near the quarter hour and his team-high eighth yellow card of the term. The loss, Hoffenheim's fourth in a row, dropped them five points back of the survival playoff spot.
One floor down, Joseph Gyau enjoyed his first St. Pauli start since November, going whistle to whistle in a 1-0 victory over visiting Aalen. The US wing prospect had a decent chance to add on late, only to fire directly at the goalkeeper. The Pirates' second straight victory allowed them to sail five points beyond the drop zone.
It was resumption day north of the border in Denmark, where Conor O'Brien worked an 84-minute debut in FC Nordsjælland's 1-0 win over visiting AC Horsens.
The central midfielder may have suffered from some combination of nerves and rust when his turnover allowed the away side a golden chance to score just after the opening whistle ended the holders' winter hibernation. The result kept the Wild Tigers four points clear in the race for Denmark's second Champions League ticket.
Around the Superliga, Clarence Goodson had a rough 80-minute relief outing as 10-man Brøndby dropped a 2-0 home decision to third-place Randers FC.
In addition to being robbed of a restart goal at the attack end, the US defender experienced some struggles at the back despite not being directly at fault in either goal. Charlie Davies came on for the final few minutes to help the Horses start the second half of the season how they ended the first.
Shifting to the Turkish Süper Lig, Maurice Edu returned from suspension with a solid two-way effort in Bursaspor's 1-0 defeat of guests Sivasspor. By rebounding from last week's loss, the Green Crocodiles held firm in fourth place.
In Austria's Bundesliga, Terrence Boyd went the distance as Rapid Vienna blew an early lead to lose 2-1 at nine-man RZ Pellets WAC. The forward fired his best chance of the day just wide shortly after halftime as the Green-Whites suffered a five-game win drought in league play for the first time since August 2011.
Top-flight Portuguese action saw Tony Taylor make a late cameo in Estoril's 2-0 triumph at Rio Ave. The seventh-place surprise package has won three of four.
In England's Premier League, Brad Friedel served as backup netminder for Tottenham's 2-1 derby win over Arsenal. Now unbeaten in 12 league contests, Spurs notched their fourth consecutive EPL victory to keep hold of third place.
Also, Carlos Bocanegra went unused as Racing Santander fell 2-0 at Numancia.