AMSTERDAM – It was an unbeaten Saturday for Americans playing along the North Sea, highlighted by a Jozy Altidore brace in AZ Alkmaar's sorely needed 2-1 victory at FC Zwolle.
The US striker opened the scoring just two minutes in, snapping a four-game goal drought in the process. Altidore outraced a defender to fetch a long ball before eventually rounding the 'keeper to bag his 10th of the Eredivisie season.
The power forward added on in the 33rd minute, applying a simple redirection finish to a low Roy Beerens cross. With Altidore taking his total across all competitions to 13, the Cheese Farmers halted a five-game winless slide.
Across the water in England's Premier League, Brad Guzan rang up seven saves and Eric Lichaj pitched in with a strong outing at left wingback as Aston Villa scored a 3-1 victory at Liverpool.
The former Chivas USA netminder was at his best with twin stops on Luis Suárez and Stewart Downing just after intermission. The Villans ran their unbeaten streak to five EPL matches while jumping clear of the drop zone.
Elsewhere, Tim Howard and Everton were pegged back by Kenwyne Jones' second-half strike in a 1-1 draw at Stoke City.
Geoff Cameron worked a uneven shift for the ninth place Potters, who remained without a loss for seven games. Everton, meanwhile, failed to move clear of the pack set to play Sunday for fourth place by posting a 1-1 share for the fourth time in the last five games.
A floor down in the Championship, Leicester City defender Zak Whitbread went the distance in a tough 1-0 loss at former employers Millwall. With one win in their last four, the Foxes held firm in fifth.
Tim Ream watched on as Bolton vaulted five spots to 13th place with a 2-0 win over visiting Charlton.
Over in the Bundesliga, Hannover 96 skipper Steve Cherundolo was beaten on the opener in a 2-1 defeat at Fortuna Düsseldorf.
The right back misjudged a cross near halftime, allowing Dani Schahin to score at the back post. Despite dropping their third straight league game away from home, the Reds tentatively held firm in 11th place.
One league below, John Anthony Brooks and red-hot Hertha Berlin at least temporarily moved to the top of the table with a 2-1 win at FSV Frankfurt.
The center back's foul facilitated the road team's opener in the 55th minute, but the Blue-Whites rallied to extend their win streak to three and their unbeaten run to 17. Hertha now hold first place by a point over Sunday combatants Braunschweig.
Joseph Gyau came on for the final 13 minutes of St. Pauli's 0-0 stalemate at Ingolstadt. The Pirates slipped a spot to 13th with the draw.
Next door in Austria, Terrence Boyd was not rewarded for his efforts in Rapid Vienna's 1-0 loss at Wiener Neustadt.
The US forward went close near the start of each half, and then again in the waning moments. In the end, third-place Rapid surrendered a four-game win streak.