American Exports: Premier League season kicks off with clash of USMNT World Cup teammates
AMSTERDAM – The coming weekend brings action for several Americans with the start of the new Premier League season, as well as the strong likelihood of club debuts for the Fabian Johnson and Rubio Rubin.
All times listed in ET.
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
Jozy Altidore – Sunderland at West Bromwich Albion (Saturday, 10 am on Premier League Extra Time)
The US striker will likely start this contest from the bench as he begins the take two on his Black Cats career. While Altidore continues his return from a World Cup hamstring injury, Sunderland are still without playmaker Emanuele Giaccherini. The Black Cats have dropped their last five games at the Hawthorns by a combined 13-1 count.
Geoff Cameron – Stoke City vs. Brad Guzan – Aston Villa (Saturday, 10 am on Premier League Extra Time)
Though Brek Shea will probably sit this one out while he explores European loan options, there should still be a clash of USMNT mates at the Britannia. Cameron (above) will likely take up the right-back position for the Potters, while Guzan (who conceded six times in last season's Stoke sweep) backstops a Villa side much deeper than they were at the end of last season. Still, new signings Joe Cole and Ron Vlaar are in doubt through injuries, and top strike choices Christian Benteke and Libor Kozák remain sidelined.
Tim Howard – Everton at Leicester City (Saturday, 10 am on NBCSN)
Fresh off his Matrix-like World Cup performances (and a beer with Ted Lasso), Howard will try to continue the road mastery that saw him win four of five away at the end of last season. The US star has only faced the Foxes once, posting a 4-1 road victory in September of 2003. Everton have not seen this opponent for 10 years, but hold a four-game draw streak in Leicester. The Toffees will go without Costa Rica wingback Bryan Oviedo, while Belgium goal hunters Romelu Lukaku and Kevin Mirallas face late fitness checks.
Rubio Rubin – FC Utrecht vs. Willem II (Sun. 8:30 am)
With the home side shorthanded, Rubin is expected to start against the promoted Tricolores on his Eredivisie debut. The Galgenwaard crew will essentially go without a starting frontline as Ruud Boymans, Edouard Duplan and Tommy Oar rest in recovery bay. Utrecht have won three straight league games at home and four of an unbeaten five. They have also topped Willem II six straight times in the friendly confines.
Fabian Johnson – Borussia Mönchengladbach at Homburg (Saturday, 9:30 am)
Also returning from a World Cup injury setback is Johnson, who should see his Foals debut in some manner against their fourth-division cup hosts. The teams have not met met since 1990, when 'Gladbach stayed unbeaten in Homburg with a 3-1 decision. This first-round tilt comes a little too soon for World Cup winner Christoph Kramer, while 12-goal forward Max Kruse also sits out.
BEST OF THE REST
John Anthony Brooks – Hertha Berlin at Viktoria Köln, Sat. 9:30 am
Timothy Chandler – Eintracht Frankfurt at FC Viktoria 1889 Berlin, Sat. 2:30 pm
Julian Green – Bayern Munich at Preussen Muenster, Sun. 10 am on WatchESPN
Caleb Stanko – Freiburg at Eintracht Trier. Sun. 10 am
Bobby Wood – 1860 Munich at Holstein Kiel, Sun. 8:30 am
Alejandro Bedoya – Nantes at Metz, Sat. 2 pm
Conor O'Brien – Wiener Neustadt at SV Grödig, Sat. 1 pm
Mikkel Diskerud – Rosenborg at Brann, Sun. noon
Andrew Jacobson, Michael Stephens – Stabaek vs. Odds BK, Sun. 8:30 am
Freddy Adu – FK Jagodina at Red Star Belgrade, Sat. 1 pm