AMSTERDAM – Americans were heavily involved in Saturday action overseas, with Tim Howard staying unbeaten on the young English Premier League season with a 1-0 victory over Chelsea at Goodison Park.
The US star, who was bailed out by a line clearance from new teammate Gareth Barry after an early ballhandling mistake teed up Samuel Eto'o in front of goal, also logged six saves to extend his league shutout streak to 289 minutes. Howard made his best stop to deny Ramires on the half hour, eventually running his record to 3-1-1 in the last five EPL home tilts vs. Chelsea.
Still one of two undefeated sides in England's top-flight along with arch enemies Liverpool, the Toffees tentatively jumped up to 9th place.
Elsewhere, Jozy Altidore found himself embroiled in controversy after his potential late equalizer was cruelly waved off in Sunderland's 3-1 home defeat to Arsenal.
On 71 minutes, the US striker powered his way through a two-handed Bacary Sagna mugging to deftly beat Gunners netminder Wojciech Szczęsny with a soft curler, only to have referee pull the play back for a free kick outside the area as his shot crawled across the goal line. Altidore also tested the away 'keeper with long-distance dipper in the first half and nodded an 85th minute corner kick inches wide.
One of three remaining winless clubs in the EPL after four games, Sunderland now sit bottom in the standings.
Geoff Cameron put in a fine display to help Stoke City hold last year's EPL runners-up Manchester City to a 0-0 stalemate.
The Massachusetts-born right back supplied one of the game's best scoring chances with a tempting 49th minute cross that somehow managed to bounce through the goalmouth untouched. By notching their fifth consecutive home draw in EPL play against the Citizens, Stoke tentatively stand 7th in the table.
Brad Guzan made six saves for Aston Villa, but it was not quite enough in a 2-1 loss against guests Newcastle.
The former Chivas USA man did his best work to deny a pair of Hatem Ben Arfa drives after intermission, but was helpless as Yoann Gouffran desposited the rebound of the second Ben Arfa shot to decide the game in the 73rd minute. A third straight defeat dropped the Villans to 16th place.
Meanwhile, Brad Friedel served as back-up netminder for 2nd-place Tottenham's 2-0 win over Norwich City.
Down a flight in the Championship, Eric Lichaj held down right back as Nottingham Forest got back on track with a wild 3-2 win over visiting Barnsely.
The US international could have had an assist just past the half hour were it not for a good save from the away goalkeeper. Third place Forest won for the first time in three to climb to within three points of the summit.
Around the league, Tim Ream did double duty in his return to the Bolton line-up, a 1-0 home loss to Leeds United.
The St. Louis native started the game with a decent 60-minute shift as the lone defensive midfielder before dropping into defense in a tactical switch. In the end, a fourth straight loss kept winless Bolton pinned to 23rd place through six games.
Birmingham City midfielder Jonathan Spector had a harsh day at the office in a 1-0 defeat at Queens Park Rangers.
The American had a goal wiped out by the offside flag just after the break, and then was booked for diving 12 minutes from time when replays appeared to show he'd been tripped up beating Richard Dunne in the area.
Meanwhile, Zak Whitbread watched on as Leicester City rose to 4th place on the strength of a 2-0 home win over Wigan. The Foxes have now won three of four.
Turning to Belgium's Jupiler League, Sacha Kljestan hit his fourth goal in five games as Anderlecht eased past overwhelmed hosts Mechelen 5-0.
The midfielder got to the end of a free kick in the 18th minute to double the champs' early lead and match his best goalscoring run since he bagged four in five MLS games for Chivas USA in 2008. Thanks to their third straight home rout, the Mauves tentatively jumped into second place, three points off the top.
Over in Austria's top flight, Terrence Boyd also struck for the fourth time in five league matches as Rapid Vienna snapped a four-game win drought with a sorely-needed 4-0 cruise through FC Wacker Innsbruck.
Having narrowly missed the net in the early moments of the contest and endured having his penalty shout ignored midway though the opening period, Boyd claimed Rapid's second 10 minutes after halftime by finishing off an effective team move. For the Green-Whites, it was their first victory in five games.
Next door in Germany's Bundesliga, Jermaine Jones worked the final 21 minutes to help Schalke close out a 1-0 triumph at Mainz 05. The result conditionally lifted the suddenly-warming Miners to 8th place.
A league below, Andrew Wooten pitched in 28 industrious minutes off the bench, but it wasn't enough to keep Kaiserslautern from falling 1-0 away to his former loan employers Sandhausen. Now winless in three, the Red Devils dropped to 7th place.
Finally, French Ligue 1 action saw Alejandro Bedoya put in a solid night's work as Nantes topped visiting Sochaux 1-0.
The playmaker created a pair of good early chances for teammates and later drew a sharp-angle save before departing on 75 minutes, shortly before the Filip Đorđević winner. The Canaries flew up to 7th courtesy of their first win since opening day.
Greg Seltzer covers Americans based in Europe for MLSsoccer.com.