American Exports: Stuart Holden on track for recovery; Mix Diskerud offers crosstown rivals cash
AMSTERDAM – As we like to do every so often, let's clean out the scratch pad full of notes involving Americans playing in Europe.
Gotta Know When to Holden
News dropped early this week that Bolton ace Stuart Holden is on recovery course from a knee injury, putting him on schedule for a return to first team workouts in early 2014. The Wanderers midfielder suffered a torn right ACL during the US national team's Gold Cup final victory over Panama in late July.
"I'm in contact with Stuart and he's doing well," Dougie Freedman told the official club website. "We're expecting to see him just before Christmas.
"He's going to spend a month or so with us, so that we can make sure that the rehabilitation is being done in the right way ... Then when he's at a good level, hopefully we can look at reintroducing him to training into the early part of the year."
Stir It Up
As Norway's Tippeligaen gets set for a photo finish to the title race, always entertaining Rosenborg midfielder Mix Diskerud has turned heads over his recent comments made to out-of-town newspaper Haugesunds Avis.
The US international publicly offered local boys FK Haugesund the reward of divvying up his championship payday if they provide RBK the necessary help for snatching the title out from under league leaders Strømsgodset in Sunday's final round of play. In fact, he even offered to provide general training assistance to the third-place side during the week.
"If FKH takes points from Strømsgodset, and we beat Lillestrøm, we become champions," Diskerud explained. "Then I will donate most of the gold medal bonus to FKH players. It is no more than right and fair that we share it when we fail to do the job ourselves."
The surface reaction at Strømsgodset, meanwhile, has mostly been of amusement at Diskerud's antics. The team's top scorer, Ola Kamara, a good pal and former Stabæk teammate of Diskerud's, quickly fired back with some media ribbing.
"I am not surprised, [Rosenborg players] have enough money they can be called Norwegian 'Premier League' boys," Kamara, who has plans to spend the winter holidays in America with his friendly rival, cracked to TV2. "[Diskerud] can save the silver medal bonus to buy Christmas gifts for me in Arizona."
PKing of England
Everton netminder Tim Howard stopped two Premier League spot kicks in October, putting him alone atop the chart for penalty saves by an American in top-tier English competition.
Counting the EPL, FA Cup and League Cup, Howard now has 10 penalty stops, putting him two past Tottenham veteran Brad Friedel. Aston Villa star Brad Guzan and Seattle Sounders netminder Marcus Hahnemann are the only others with as many as five.
Howard has made all of his PK saves with Everton, eight of them coming in league play. Six of the 10 occurred on the road, and his season-high to date was four in 2011-12.
The Toffees backstop is also bearing down on another milestone, the top 10 for all-time Premier League shutouts. With five clean sheets in the first 10 games this season, Howard has moved to 12th place, seven behind 10th-place Shay Given.
Rare Air for Kljestan
Though he must first worry about Tuesday Champions League hosts Paris Saint-Germain, suddenly goal-crazy Anderlecht midfielder Sacha Kljestan can join a short list by scoring another at Genk this weekend.
Having hit in three straight Jupiler League games, the former Chivas USA man can become just the fifth American to log a four-match scoring streak in a European top flight by finding the Buffaloes net on Sunday.
Michael Bradley set the standard with strikes in six straight Eredivisie games for Heerenveen back in early 2008, with eventual US teammate Aron Jóhannsson matching the feat for AGF Aarhus late last year. Charlie Davies once lit the lamp in five straight at Hammarby, while Jozy Altidore managed a four-game streak for AZ Alkmaar in the spring of 2012.