American Exports: Tim Howard puts up clean sheet in Everton win over Manchester United
AMSTERDAM – On a productive Easter Sunday for Americans playing in Europe, Tim Howard led the way by backstopping a 2-0 home win over former employers Manchester United. The US national team star made three saves, including a late standout stop on former Toffees striker Wayne Rooney, to post his third clean sheet victory in the last four meetings with the Red Devils.
The triumph completed Everton's first season sweep of United since 1995. More importantly, the win also allowed Everton to keep pace in the Champions League race, as they stayed a point behind fourth place Arsenal with three rounds to play.
Across the English Channel in France's Ligue 1, Alejandro Bedoya netted his fifth goal of the season as Nantes cruised to a 6-2 victory at Valenciennes. Four minutes before intermission, the US World Cup hopeful made no mistake with an area feed from the right channel for his second goal in as many games against Valenciennes. With but one defeat in their last seven games, 11th place Nantes are now a win from clinching survival with four matches to go.
In Austria, Terrence Boyd busted out of his slump with both Rapid Vienna goals in a 2-2 share at SV Grödig. The Green-Whites forward grabbed the game's first equalizer on 24 minutes, nodding home his first goal in seven league games. He then temporarily gave Rapid the lead with a penalty kick in the 41st minute, taking his overall haul for the campaign to 16. With that strike, Boyd joined Jozy Altidore as the only Americans to surpass 15 goals across all competitions in consecutive top flight seasons in Europe.
Boyd also pinged the crossbar in his bid for a hat trick winner 18 minutes from time, but the point earned was enough to leave the visitors a one-point cushion in the derby race with Austria Vienna for second place.
In Turkey, Jermaine Jones went the distance as Beşiktaş battled local visitors Fenerbahçe to a 1-1 Süper Lig draw. The midfield general, who saw yellow early in the contest, was among the culpable on the away side's 24th minute opener. Jones could have notched the winning assist with six minutes left, but his clever entry pass ended with a teammate's stray finish.
The draw nudged Beşiktaş two points ahead of Istanbul rivals Galatasaray for Turkey's lone Champions League group-phase berth with four games remaining on the schedule.