American Exports: Everton could turn to Tim Howard in FA Cup showdown with Arsenal
AMSTERDAM – Several Americans stationed in Europe are facing key road tests over the weekend, with all stateside eyes waiting to see if Jozy Altidore returns to the 18 for Sunderland's FA Cup quarterfinal trip to Hull City. All times listed in ET.
ENGLISH FA CUP
Jozy Altidore – Sunderland at Hull City (Sunday, 9 am on Fox Soccer Plus)
A couple days after boss Gus Poyet revealed the US striker's League Cup final snub was nothing more than a harshly-timed coach's decision, we will find out if he's now thought better of it. Hull have already swept the EPL season series, but Sunderland had won three straight away meetings before the current campaign. However, the Black Cats have won all three previous FA Cup clashes by a 9-1 combined tally. A win takes them to the semis for the first time in 10 years.
Tim Howard – Everton at Arsenal (Saturday, 7:45 am on Fox Sports 1)
Though backup Joel Robles has assumed all cup duties thus far this term, manager Roberto Martinez said on Friday he is not sure who will start this important contest for a club that last raised silver nearly 20 years ago. Though Howard has not beaten Arsenal since 2007, he has posted three straight draws against them, including two in a row at the Emirates. He is also shooting for his third FA Cup final appearance and has lost just two of his last 14 tournament starts.
Fabian Johnson – Hoffenheim at Schalke (Sunday, 9:30 am on MyGermanTV+)
After pulling USMNT double duty on the left in midweek, Johnson will likely return to right back for Hoffenheim. The flank handyman has one assist in six games against Schalke, with a 2-2-2 record. The visitors are a respectable 3-3 playing away to the Miners, including December's DfB-Pokal win. Johnson & Co. will arrive unbeaten in five league games, but winless in their last four away from home.
FRENCH LIGUE 1
Alejandro Bedoya – Nantes vs. Ajaccio (Saturday, 2 pm on Univision Deportes)
The US attacker hopped off the bench to smack the late winner earlier this season. Bedoya has not scored since early December, though, a span of nine league outings. Nantes need to stop a freefall, coming into this one with five losses during a seven-game Ligue 1 win drought. They have also not scored in 276 league minutes and just once in the last seven matches. Basement dwellers Ajaccio seem the perfect guest; the Canaries have won three straight home fixtures against them and five of seven.
Juan Agudelo – FC Utrecht at PSV Eindhoven (Saturday, 2:45 pm on GolTV)
Another US international hoping to get back in the game is Agudelo, who will get his first look at the Farmers. The visitors remain saddled by a list of injuries, particularly in attack, while PSV will do without spark plug Georginio Wijnaldum. Eindhoven has never been a happy destination for Utrecht. They have not earned a point at Philips Stadion since 1996 and they have failed to win there in 20 tries, being outscored 55-8.
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