American Exports: Tim Howard throws clean sheet at Liverpool, but Everton losing time for Europe
AMSTERDAM – Americans enjoyed a fine Sunday across the pond, led by Tim Howard's well-earned shutout in a 0-0 Merseyside derby at Liverpool.
The US star made three saves on the day, but his best action came when he kept his feet to force Reds forward Daniel Sturridge too wide to score on a breakaway just after halftime. Despite Howard's sixth clean sheet in the last eight games, the Toffees slipped five points off the EPL's Europa League invite and seven shy of the fourth Champions League slot.
Across the North Sea in the Eredivisie, Jozy Altidore was given a short day ahead of Thursday's KNVB Cup final as AZ Alkmaar secured safety with a 4-0 afternoon sail past visiting FC Zwolle.
The team's top scorer was replaced at the hour mark by Alabama-born Aron Jóhannsson, who scored the home side's third. All but certain to earn a Europa League berth regardless of the result against cup final foes PSV Eindhoven, AZ climbed to 10th place by posting consecutive league wins for the first time since January.
Next door in Belgium's Jupiler League championship hexagonal, Sacha Kljestan and defending champs Anderlecht regained the top of the hill with a 2-0 home victory over arch enemies Standard Liège.
The former Chivas USA man nearly put the Mauves ahead in the 33rd minute, only to have his header buzz the wrong side of the post. Anderlecht snapped a two-game losing slide to move two points ahead of the pack with three games to play.
Across the border in Germany's Bundesliga, Michael Parkhurst went unused as Augsburg missed a chance to rise out of the relegation mire by falling 2-0 at Freiburg.
To the north in Denmark's Superliga, Clarence Goodson returned to the lineup with one of his top outings of the season as Brøndby climbed above the trap door with a 0-0 home draw against new champions FC Copenhagen. With the American in his first league start since mid-March, the Lads from the Western Outskirts moved a point ahead of the relegation zone with three matches remaining.
Charlie Davies made a late cameo as Randers FC rebounded with a 1-0 defeat of guests AGF Aarhus. The Horses kept slim Champions League hopes alive by halting a two-game win drought in the friendly confines.
A ferry ride away in Sweden, red-hot Helsingborg playmaker Alejandro Bedoya fired the lone goal as Helsingborg moved atop the table with a 1-0 decision at Syrianska.
In the 61st minute, the US international got free on the left with a perfectly timed run before picking the far corner for his third goal in the last four Allsvenskan games. The Reds have now won four in a row to hold first place by a point through seven games.
In Norway's Tippeligaen, Steve Clark notched three saves in Hønefoss' 1-1 draw with visiting Tromsø. The Michigan native was at his best to deny a Josh Pritchard header just before the break as the hosts posted their third consecutive draw.