by GIANFRANCO PANIZO
It was a good overall weekend for American defenders in terms of playing time, but no defenders enjoyed better weekends than Jonathan Spector and Frank Simek.
The pair of American defenders returned after lengthy injury layoffs and each played a substantial amount in their respective club's games. Spector started at right back for West Ham and went 85 minutes against Bolton Wanderers while Simek played the entire game for Sheffield Wednesday in their 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace.
The defenders weren't the only Americans having fun this weekend either. Midfielder Michael Bradley and his club, Borussia Moenchengladbach, picked up a crucial 3 points against Hannover 96 on Saturday. Bradley played the entire game and was involved in the build-up to Moenchengladbach's game-winning goal. Although on the losing side, Steve Cherundolo and Sal Zizzo both entered the game for second-half cameos.
Preston Zimmerman enjoyed a solid performance with Kapfenberg SV as the team resumed its Austrian Bundesliga campaign. Zimmerman went 89 minutes against FC Karnten and scored the opening goal in the 2-1 victory.
Here is how the rest of the Americans Abroad performed this week:
Tim Howard started, played 90 minutes and made zero saves in Everton's 0-0 tie vs. Newcastle on Sunday.
Brad Friedel started, played 90 minutes and made five saves in Aston Villa's 1-0 loss vs. Chelsea on Saturday.
Brad Guzan dressed but did not play in Aston Villa's 1-0 loss vs. Chelsea on Saturday.
Clint Dempsey started and played 90 minutes in Fulham's 2-0 win vs. West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.
Jonathan Spector started and played 85 minutes in West Ham's 2-1 loss vs. Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.
COCA COLA CHAMPIONSHIP
Jay DeMerit started and played 90 minutes in Watford's 2-0 win vs. Blackpool on Saturday.
Eddie Johnson did not dress in Cardiff City's 2-2 draw vs. Wolverhampton Wandereers on Sunday.
- Frank Simek started and played 90 minutes in Sheffield Wednesday's 2-0 win vs. Crystal Palace on Saturday.
- Marcus Hahnemann dressed but did not play in Reading's 2-0 loss vs. Bristol City on Saturday.
- Jemal Johnson started and played 90 minutes in MK Don's 1-1 draw vs. Tranmere Rovers on Saturday.
- Zak Whitbread started, played 90 minutes and received a yellow card in Millwall's 1-0 loss vs. Brighton on Saturday.
- Mike Grella came off the bench and played one minute in Leeds United's 2-0 win vs. Cheltenham Town on Saturday.
- Ian Joyce dressed but did not play in Southend United's 1-0 win vs. Colchester United on Saturday.
DaMarcus Beasley did not dress in Rangers' 3-1 win vs. Kilmarnock on Saturday.
Maurice Edu dressed but did not play in Rangers' 3-1 win vs. Kilmarnock on Saturday.
- Landon Donovan came off the benach and played 45 minutes in Bayern Munich's 2-1 loss vs. FC Cologne on Saturday.
- Michael Bradley started and played 90 minutes in Borussia Moenchengladbach's 3-2 win vs. Hannover 96 on Saturday.
- Steve Cherundolo came off the bench and played 4 minutes in Hannover 96's 3-2 loss vs. Borussia Moenchengladbach on Saturday.
- Sal Zizzo came off the bench and played 28 minutes in Hannover 96's 3-2 loss vs. Borussia Moenchengladbach on Saturday.
- Heath Pearce dressed but did not play in Hansa Rostock's 3-1 loss vs. Mainz on Friday.
Gregg Berhalter came off the bench and played 71 minutes in 1860 Munich's 4-1 loss vs. MSV Duisburg on Sunday.
Luis Robles and Kaiserslautern play St Pauli on Monday.
Matt Taylor came off the bench and played 10 minutes in TUS Koblenz's 3-0 win vs. SpVgg Greuther Furth on Sunday.
David Yelldell started, played 90 minutes and made three saves in TUS Koblenz's 3-0 win vs. SpVgg Greuther Furth on Sunday.
- Grover Gibson did not dress in Ahlen's 3-1 loss vs. RW Oberhausen on Sunday.
- Jozy Altidore did not dress in Xerez's 2-1 win vs. Cordoba on Sunday.
- Danny Szetela did not dress in Brescia's 1-0 loss to Parma on Sunday.
Carlos Bocanegra started, played 90 minutes and received a yellow card in Rennes' 1-0 win vs. Nice on Saturday.
Freddy Adu did not dress in AS Monaco's 2-1 loss to Lille on Sunday.
- Quentin Westberg dressed but did not play in Troyes' 1-0 loss vs. Clermont Foot on Friday.
- Oguchi Onyewu started and played 67 minutes in Standard Liege's 4-0 win vs. Anderlecht on Sunday.
- Jared Jeffrey did not play in Club Brugge's 2-0 loss vs. KVC Westerlo on Sunday.
The Danish First Division is on winter break until March.
- Preston Zimmerman started, played 89 minutes, received a yellow card and scored a GOAL in Kapfenberg SV's 2-1 win vs. FC Karnten on Saturday.
- Jose Francisco Torres started and played 54 minutes in Pachuca's 3-0 win vs. Indios de Ciudad Juarez on Saturday.
- Michael Orozco did not dress in San Luis' 1-1 draw vs. Atlante on Saturday. He was serving a red card suspension.
Marco Vidal did not dress in Indios de Ciudad Juarez's 3-0 loss vs. Pachuca on Saturday.
Daniel Hernandez did not dress in Chiapas' 4-2 loss vs. Puebla on Saturday.
Jesus Padilla did not dress in Chivas de Guadalajara's 1-1 draw vs. Morelia on Saturday.
American-born Players Playing for Other Countries
Giuseppe Rossi (Italy) started, played 57 minutes and scored a GOAL in Villarreal's 2-1 win vs. Sporting Gijon on Saturday.
Edgar Castillo (Mexico) dressed but did not play in America's 3-2 win vs. UANL on Saturday.
- Brede Hangeland (Norway) started and played 90 minutes in Fulham's 2-0 win vs. West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.
- Boaz Myhill (Wales) and Hull City play Tottenham Hotspur on Monday.
What do you think of these performances? Eager to see what Simek and Spector can do on the national team scene again? Think Michael Bradley and Borussia Moenchengladbach are going to make it out of the relegation zone this season? Happy to see both Steve Cherundolo and Sal Zizzo find playing time? Do you see Preston Zimmerman getting a call-up to the U.S. MNT sometime this year?
Share your thoughts below.