American Exports: Brad Guzan, Geoff Cameron clash as Aston Villa, Stoke City prep for mid-table meeting
AMSTERDAM – Another weekend of key European tilts involving Americans has arrived, with Brad Guzan and Aston Villa ready to "welcome" Geoff Cameron's Stoke City for a mid-table Premier League bout.
All times listed in ET.
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
Jozy Altidore – Sunderland at Norwich City (Saturday, 10 am on Premier League Extra Time)
The US striker is vying for a return to the lineup as Sunderland try to snap a three-game winless slide in another relegation derby. Norwich, who stand four points above their Saturday visitors, have allowed just one goal in the last five home games (2-0-3). They also tend to enjoy hosting the Black Cats, with three straight wins and six of seven in EPL play at Carrow Road. However, Sunderland will arrive having lost only one of their last seven Premier League road games.
Brad Guzan – Aston Villa vs. Geoff Cameron – Stoke City (Sunday, 11 am on NBCSN)
Stoke right back Cameron has a 1-1-1 career record against the Villans, including the winning assist back in December. However, his team has not won a road game in league play since August, losing nine of 13 away since. Guzan, who has won three of four at home, posted a shutout draw in his only home game against the Potters to date. Villa typically rules this home clash, with their last loss in it occurring back in 1965.
Tim Howard – Everton vs. Swansea City (Saturday, 10 am on Premier League Extra Time)
The US No. 1 will stare down one of his favorite EPL opponents; Swansea have scored just once in five meetings, and that was an own goal. Howard is 4-0-1 lifetime in this series and he's won five straight at Goodison Park. The American's next shutout will tie him at 115 with Shay Given for 10th on the all-time Premier League chart. Everton have yet to lose to the Swans in 19 meetings, winning 14. They will likely miss center back Phil Jagielka for this one.
Fabian Johnson – Hoffenheim at Bayer Leverkusen (Sunday, 11:30 am)
The Hoffenheim handyman looks set to remain at right back another week. Johnson has a goal in five career games against Leverkusen, but was on the short side of the result every time. The visitors will be trying to avoid having their losing streak reach three for the first time since November, and by extension, being pulled toward the relegation mire. A win for Hoffenheim would be their first in this series, managing a single point in 11 matches between the two. They may just be catching the Bayer boys at the right time, with the Champions League chasers on four straight home defeats overall.
Terrence Boyd – Rapid Vienna vs. RZ Pellets WAC (Saturday, 1 pm)
It would be a great time for Boyd to heat up. He is goalless with an 0-5-2 career record against their weekend visitors, and has but two strikes in his last 12 league outings. A Rapid victory could put them back in the final Europa League slot, while a loss would invite the Wolfsberg crew in as the fourth team in that race. The Green-Whites will wager an eight-game home unbeaten run that includes five wins and four shutouts.
BEST OF THE REST
John Anthony Brooks – Hertha Berlin at Borussia Monchengladbach, Sat. at 12:30 pm on GolTV
Alejandro Bedoya – Nantes vs. Montpellier, Sat. at 2 pm
Aron Jóhannsson – AZ Alkmaar vs. Zwolle, Sun. at 8:30 am
Jermaine Jones – Beşiktaş vs Akhisar Belediyespor, Sun. at noon
Bryan Gerzicich – Hapoel Tel Aviv at Maccabi Tel Aviv, Sun. at 1:50 pm