AMSTERDAM – Jozy Altidore finally opened his Sunderland account in EPL play on Wednesday night, deftly striking the opener in a wild 4-3 loss against visiting Chelsea.
Fourteen minutes in, Altidore collected the carom of an Andrea Dossena free kick into the Chelsea wall before turning John Terry in quick fashion to blast his first league goal of the season past Petr Cech. It was the US striker's first EPL strike since he hit the icebreaker in a 2-1 win for Hull City over Manchester City on Feb. 6, 2010. You can check out the goal here:
Altidore showed well with a good all-around game during the first half, winning all four of his aerial challenges among several successful hold-up plays. However, Chelsea ace Eden Hazard took over, setting up Frank Lampard before striking a beauty of his own to flip the scoreline.
Sunderland pulled one back through John O'Shea, but another stunning goal from Hazard restored the visitors' lead. Black Cats defender Phil Bardsley netted at each end late in the game and Chelsea survived a frantic push from the home side to solidify their title challenge.
Around the league, Tim Howard logged six saves in shutting out defending champs Manchester United 1-0 to post his first league win at Old Trafford since he was a member of the Red Devils.
The US starter's top stops came just after the clock turned to 70 minutes. After pushing an Adnan Januzaj laser around the frame, Howard authored a point-blank denial of Patrice Evra, with Danny Welbeck nodding the rebound off the bar. In the end, the man in the No. 24 shirt notched his Premier League-best eighth clean sheet, and third straight on the road
Thanks to an 87th minute strike from Costa Rican wing back Bryan Oviedo, Everton won for the fourth time in a seven-match unbeaten streak.
Brad Guzan was also a winner, running his undefeated streak to five games in Aston Villa's 3-2 victory at Southampton. Recent US Under-20 netminder Cody Cropper served as Saints back-up for the first time, but did not appear.
The former Chivas USA star rang up seven stops with his shining moment coming when he expertly turned away a Jay Rodriguez header on 27 minutes. The Villans twice blew the lead, but took the points – and 10th place – on Fabian Delph's late winner.
Stoke City right back Geoff Cameron had a goal waved off in a 0-0 stalemate with visiting Cardiff City. The American enjoyed a solid night as the Potters rose two rungs to 14th.
Tottenham back-up Brad Friedel watched on as the visitors rallied late for a 2-1 derby win at Fulham. With their first league win in six, Spurs stand sixth.
Over in the Belgian Cup Round of 16, Sacha Kljestan and Anderlecht were knocked out by penalty shootout after a fightback 2-2 draw at Westerlo.
The US midfielder nearly cancelled out an early goal by former Chicago Fire striker Sherjill MacDonald on 26 minutes, but could not keep his shot from sailing just over. Kljestan would eventually bag Anderlecht's second spot kick in the shootout, but MacDonald had the last laugh with the 4-3 decider.
Finally, in Austrian Bundesliga action, Terrence Boyd was removed after 58 quiet minutes as Rapid Vienna fell 2-0 at SV Ried. Due to their first loss in any competition since September, the second place Green-Whites drifted 10 points away from the top.