American Exports: Brad Guzan shines for Aston Villa, Jermaine Jones and Schalke handled by Bayern Munich
AMSTERDAM – Americans stationed in Europe worked another busy Saturday, with Aston Villa backstop Brad Guzan (above) stealing the show in a 1-0 triumph at Norwich City.
The Man of the Match began the contest with a sterling penalty kick stop on Robert Snodgrass after just six minutes had gone. Libor Kozák opened his Villa account to give the visitors the only goal they'd need.
Guzan remained in command as the game wore on, eventually sealing the points with a big last-minute save on Gary Hooper (below). With their first win since opening day, the visitors climbed seven rungs to 12th place.
Around the league, Everton netminder Tim Howard continuing his mastery of West Ham United in a 3-2 away victory that tentatively lifted his side into the Premier League top four.
Though the US star could not be blamed on either goal, he also was not pressed into making a single save in running his career record against the Hammers to 9-1-4. Still, the Toffees needed a pair of goals in the final seven minutes to remain unbeaten on the young season.
It wasn't all good EPL news for US internationals, though, as Jozy Altidore played the final half hour as cellar dwellers Sunderland dropped a 3-0 decision at West Bromwich Albion.
It was a decent short shift for the striker, who had a fine effort cruelly blocked shortly after entering the game. The loss leaves Sunderland With but a single point from the season's first five games.
Down one level in the Championship, Jonathan Spector shifted to right wingback for a strong outing in Birmingham City's 4-1 rout of visiting Sheffield Wednesday. The Brums snapped a five-game win drought to reach 18th place.
Elsewhere, Eric Lichaj helped set up the 81st-minute equalizer as Nottingham Forest rallied twice for a 2-2 home draw with Doncaster. The right back's cross was flicked on by Darius Henderson for Andy Reid to convert, giving the Tricky Trees the point needed to settle in sixth place.
Bolton's Tim Ream performed double duty again, switching from defensive midfield to central defense at the hour mark of a 3-1 defeat at Brighton & Hove Albion. The former Red Bulls star was among the few visiting players to have a solid day as Wanderers stayed winless at the bottom though eight rounds.
Turning focus to the Bundesliga, Timothy Chandler saw yellow in a solid showing as FC Nürnberg held visiting Borussia Dortmund to a 1-1 draw. Though they remain one of three winless clubs in the league, the point earned moved Der Club above the drop zone on goal differential.
Fabian Johnson returned to left wing in Hoffenheim's 2-1 defeat at Wolfsburg. The US international made a saving line clearance midway through the opening frame, but was eventually among the culpable on the Ivica Olić winner as the visitors slipped to 10th place.
Schalke midfielder Jermaine Jones suffered along with his teammates in a 4-0 loss to rude guests Bayern Munich. With their four-game win streak across all competitions rubbed out, the Miners dropped down to 12th place.
North of the border in Denmark, Babajide Ogunbiyi and promoted Viborg continued their impressive start to the season with a 0-0 share at FC Midtjylland. The center back executed an important line clearance after the break to help the Greens hold firm in fifth place.
Finally, in nearby Norway, Steve Clark notched three big saves as Hønefoss moved to within shouting distance of the safety zone with a 2-1 win at Lillestrøm. The away netminder, who drew a second half yellow card, preserved the important win with a huge stop on Pálmi Rafn Pálmason with 13 minutes to play.