American Exports: European spots up for grabs for Sacha Kljestan, Michael Bradley, others
AMSTERDAM – The weekend menu offers several key clashes in the race for Europe involving Americans, with Sacha Kljestan and Anderlecht aiming to regain the Belgian penthouse in an away derby. All times listed in ET.
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
Tim Howard – Everton vs. Fulham (Saturday, 10 am on Fox Soccer Plus)
While the Toffees' Champions League chances dimmed with last week's lethargic loss at Sunderland, their US netminder is playing his best soccer of the season these days. Howard, who has beaten Fulham more times than any other team on the planet (11), has allowed just three goals in his last five outings. The Cottagers have managed only a pair of draws in the last six meetinsgs with Everton and have never bested the American at Goodison.
Clint Dempsey – Tottenham Hotspur at Wigan (Saturday, 10 am on Fox Soccer)
The man called Deuce has three goals in his last two games, which seems a bad sign for Wigan. The Latics hate to see Dempsey coming, as he's already notched six goals and two assists in 11 meetings. Spurs lost the early season clash, their first defeat in the series since 2009, but have lost just once in the last eight away tilts between the two. Brad Friedel should remain a spectator in the home dugout.
Jermaine Jones – Schalke vs. Hamburg (Sunday, 11:30 am on GolTV)
While Schalke still have Champions League qualification in their own hands with four games left, the grip has been shaky the last two times out. They hold a one-point edge for that fourth big ticket as HSV come to town, which makes it a great time for both Jones and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (who has four goals in the last three against Hamburg) to make returns to the line-up. The Miners slightly trail in the all-time series, but have taken two of the last three.
ITALIAN SERIE A
Michael Bradley – AS Roma vs. Siena (Sunday, 9 am)
Just shy of a Europa League place which would not even be needed if they win Coppa Italia, Bradley & Co. need another win streak to have any shot of grabbing the preferred Champions League pass. Roma are seven points behind suddenly scuffling AC Milan with five matches remaining, including a head-to-head at San Siro. Siena have recently given the Giallorossi all they can handle, but haven't won at Stadio Olimpico in more than five years.
BELGIAN JUPILER LEAGUE
Sacha Kljestan – Anderlecht at Club Brugge (Sunday, 8:30 am)
Having held first place since February, the defending champs suddenly became chasers with last week's loss to Zulte Waregem. Thanks to just one victory over the first five games of Belgium's championship hexagonal, Kljestan and his teammates must get back on track away to an arch nemesis. The former Chivas USA ace has yet to lose to Club in 10 games, while Anderlecht have three wins and two draws to show for the last six derbies in Brugge.
BEST OF THE REST
Geoff Cameron, Brek Shea – Stoke City vs. Norwich City, Saturday 10 am on Fox Soccer 2Go
Timothy Chandler (FCN), Fabian Johnson (H'heim) – Hoffenheim vs. FC Nürnberg, Sat. 9:30 am
Michael Parkhurst – Augsburg vs. Stuttgart, Sat. 9:30 am
Terrence Boyd – Rapid Vienna vs. Red Bull Salzburg, Sat. 12:30 pm
Maurice Edu (questionable) – Bursaspor vs. Akhisar Belediyespor, Sat. 1 pm
Mikkel Diskerud – Rosenborg vs. Sandnes Ulf, Sun. noon
Josh Gatt – Molde FK vs. Strømsgodset, Sun. 1 pm
Alejandro Bedoya – Helsingborg vs. Gefle, Sat. 10 am