AMSTERDAM – Hertha Berlin got a strong display from John Anthony Brooks on Sunday afternoon, but it was not enough to prevent a 2-0 Bundesliga loss to visiting Freiburg.
The US defender was beaten by the crosser on the away side's 14th-minute opener, but the loss was more a case of offensive players shining than defensive frailties on Hertha's part. Karim Guédé narrowly outraced Brooks to a bouncing ball headed for the touchline and somehow managed to hook a falling, no-look, outside-of-the-boot centering feed for Felix Klaus to nip home from a hustling run.
Hertha carried play from then on, with Brooks leading the charge from the back. The youngster completed an astounding 22 of 29 long passes, and 74 of 89 overall. He also forced the away netminder into a low save with a 30-yard drive in the 71st minute.
Next door in the Netherlands, young US international Rubio Rubin came on for the final seven minutes of FC Utrecht's 6-1 home demolition of nearby rivals Dordrecht.
On to play left wing with the hosts already up 4-1, Rubin used just a handful of touches to set up one scoring chances and win two free kicks. Thanks to their first Eredivisie win in five games, the Red-and-White Army also snapped a four-game home losing streak.
Finally, Brad Guzan remained a spectator as Aston Villa advanced into the FA Cup quarterfinals with a 2-1 home victory over Leicester City. Shay Given minded the net in Guzan's stead.
The draw for the next round of the FA Cup takes place on Monday evening, with the ties slated to begin on March 7.