American Exports: Tim Howard, Everton continue Champions League chase with Southampton bout
AMSTERDAM – Several Americans will be battling in European matches full of meaning this weekend, led by Tim Howard and Champions League-chasing Everton paying a visit to Southampton.
All times listed in ET.
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
Jozy Altidore – Sunderland vs. Cardiff City (Sunday, 7 am on NBCSN)
The Black Cats could climb from the basement to safety air if they defeat 18th-place Cardiff and the other two teams directly ahead of them in the table fail to win on Saturday. Fresh from earning the game-winning spot kick in the big win at Chelsea, Altidore should again work from the bench. Having badly struggled against fellow relegation fighters this season, Sunderland boast just one goal from their last six at home to clubs in the EPL bottom half. On a related topic, the Bluebirds have managed an even 1-1-3 split in their last five at the Stadium of Light.
Brad Guzan – Aston Villa at Swansea City (Saturday, 10 am on Premier League Extra Time)
The Villans goal thief, who snapped his losing streak with a shutout draw last time out, will want a first victory since March 15 to clinch survival for Sunday's visitors to Swansea. Guzan is 1-1-2 in this matchup, with a share posted on his only prior series visit to Wales. If the US netminder can post his 10th shutout of the season, he will become the first Villa man to reach double figures since Brad Friedel starred with 15 four years ago. Unfortunately, the squad still has several players in recovery bay, including Christian Benteke and Charles N'Zogbia.
Tim Howard – Everton at Southampton (Saturday, 7:45 am on NBCSN)
Playing before their prey, Howard & Co. can tentatively reclaim the last Champions League slot from Arsenal and put pressure on third place Manchester City by winning their fourth EPL road game in a row on Saturday. The Toffees have not enjoyed such a streak since 1985, when their star goalkeeper was six years old. Howard has yet to lose against the Saints for Everton, posting a shutout draw on the road to go with two home wins. Both teams have long injury lists for this contest, with the American now missing three of four regular starters in defense. Everton have earned three straight draws at St. Mary's, a stadium where they fared reasonably well over the years.
Timothy Chandler (probable) – FC Nürnberg at Mainz 05 (Saturday, 9:30 am on MyGermanTV+)
Interim boss Roger Prinzen is hoping to have Chandler as a card to play at some point in this key survival tilt. Der Club have lost eight of 11 since the US right back went down with a knee injury in February and now sit five points shy of the safety line with three games to play. A Friday night loss from Stuttgart would greatly enhance their chances to stay up automatically, but their first mission must be a weekend win at Mainz to try jumping ahead of Hamburg into the promotion-relegation playoff spot. That may be easier said than done; Nürnberg have lost seven straight away games in the series.
BELGIAN JUPILER LEAGUE
Sacha Kljestan – Anderlecht vs. Standard Liège (Sunday, noon)
With the team suddenly sputtering again, both Kljestan and Mauves captain Guillaume Gillet could find a way back into the lineup for this key derby clash. It may not be a bad idea; the American midfielder is 2-0-2 with a goal in Standard derbies at home. Four points behind their archrivals in fourth place, the champs have five championship playoff matches left to retain the crown. Anderlecht have tossed eight straight shutouts at the Constant Vanden Stock, winning seven of them. They are also unbeaten in the last five at home to Les Rouches.
Terrence Boyd – Rapid Vienna vs. Red Bull Salzburg (Saturday, 1 pm)
Fresh off a slump-busting double in his last game, Boyd will take aim at one of his favorite opponents with a chance to help his side mathematically ensure Europa League soccer for next season. The World Cup hopeful has hit four times in his last six against the already-crowned league champs. Though unbeaten in their last 14 at home across all competitions, Rapid have dropped three of the last six when Red Bull Salzburg has come to town.
BEST OF THE REST
Geoff Cameron – Stoke City vs. Tottenham, Sat. 10 am on Premier League Extra Time
John Brooks – Hertha Berlin vs. Braunschweig, Sat. 9:30 am on MyGermanTV+
Joe Gyau, Fabian Johnson – Hoffenheim vs. Eintracht Frankfurt, Sat. 9:30 am on MyGermanTV+
Juan Agudelo – FC Utrecht at Heerenveen, Sun. 8:30 am
Aron Jóhannsson – AZ Alkmaar at ADO Den Haag, Sun. 8:30 am
Mix Diskerud – Rosenborg vs. Brann, Sun. 1 pm
Michael Stephens, Coach Bob Bradley – Stabaek vs. Bodø/Glimt, Sun. noon