AMSTERDAM – Aston Villa netminder Brad Guzan got the new Premier League season started right on Saturday afternoon, blanking hosts Stoke City 1-0.
With US teammate Geoff Cameron left out of the Potters selection, Guzan notched two saves in snapping a six-game road losing streak in EPL play. The former Chivas USA star did his best work to deny a long-range Phil Bardsley drive.
Meanwhile, Tim Howard leaked a late equalizer as Everton kicked off their league slate with a 2-2 at promoted Leicester City. The Toffees star made one save to go with three cross captures.
Jozy Altidore came on for the last 10 minutes, helping Sunderland rally for a 2-2 share at West Bromwich Albion.
One flight down in the Championship, Jonathan Spector pitched in with a strong shift at right back as Birmingham City broke into the win column with a 1-0 decision over guests Brighton & Hove Albion. The veteran was sharp in the defensive end, ringing up game-high totals with seven pass interceptions and three tackles, while also winning four fouls at the back.
Fulham youngster Emerson Hyndman was again among his side's standouts in a 1-0 derby defeat against Millwall. The midfielder was impressive on the ball and soundly battled defensively.
Tim Ream and Bolton hosted a wild 2-2 draw with Nottingham Forest, who brought Eric Lichaj on for the final five minutes. Despite working from left back, Ream led Wanderers with seven clearances. Late entrant Lichaj gave his side a chance to win the game in the waning moments, but Matty Fryatt nodded his cross wide.
Also, Zak Whitbread went unused as Derby County posted a 0-0 draw at Sheffield Wednesday.
Across the channel in Frances Ligue 1, Alejandro Bedoya came on for the last 18 minutes of a 1-1 stalemate at Metz. Still unbeaten after two matches, the Canaries tentatively sit in fourth place.
Turning to Germany, Fabian Johnson remains in wait of his Borussia Mönchengladbach debut after going unused in a 3-0 victory at fourth-flight Homburg.
Likewise, fellow World Cup squad member Timothy Chandler stayed a spectator during his first appearance in an Eintracht Frankfurt uniform, a 2-0 victory at fourth-division underdogs FC Viktoria 1889 Berlin.
Elsewhere, John Anthony Brooks watched from the away dugout as Hertha Berlin doubled up fourth-tier FC Viktoria Köln 4-2 and young Greuther Fürth forward Jann George did likewise as the visitors advanced with a 3-0 win over amateur mites SV Waldkirch.
Finally, in Serbia, Freddy Adu dressed but did not appear as FK Jagodina remained winless through two rounds by falling 2-0 away to champs Red Star Belgrade.