Americans Abroad: A Look Ahead

Stuart Holden 1 (Getty Images)

By FRANCO PANIZO

FA Cup action resumes this weekend, and with it could come a tasty match-up involving two American midfielders who are both in the midst of strong seasons.

Clint Dempsey and Stuart Holden could square off as Fulham hosts Bolton Wanderers with a spot in the quarterfinals on the line. Both players will not only be looking to further their strong campaigns, but also forget about their club's most recent matches. Dempsey is coming off of missing a potential game-winning, and historic, penalty kick against Chelsea, while Holden did not make Bolton's matchday roster for the FA Cup clash against Wigan Athletic on Wednesday.

It's highly unlikely that we'll see another American duel when Rangers faces Celtic, but Maurice Edu could make his way back into the Blues' starting lineup after coming off the bench last week. Edu and Rangers need a win in the Old Firm derby to help close the gap on first-place Celtic, which employs American keeper Dominic Cervi.

Wondering what other match might be worth watching? Look no further than Carlos Bocanegra and St Etienne's fixture against Marseille. St Etienne is still within striking distance of a spot in Europe, so an upset will be needed if it hopes not to fall out of that picture.

Here is a rundown of who the Americans Abroad play this weekend:

FRIDAY

Timothy Chandler and FC Nurnberg play Ricardo Clark and Eintracht Frankfurt. (Clark is out injured.)

Amaechi Igwe, Edson Buddle and FC Ingolstadt 04 play SpVgg Greuther Furth. (Igwe is out injured.)

Bobby Wood and TSV 1860 Munich play FC Augsburg.

Quentin Westberg and Evian Thonon Gaillard play AC Ajaccio.

Sammy Ochoa and Estudiantes Tecos U.A. de G. play Sonny Guadarrama and Atlante.

SATURDAY

Tim Howard and Everton play Chelsea in the FA Cup.

Brad Guzan and Hull City play Ipswich Town.

Mike Grella, Eric Lichaj and Leeds United play Zak Whitbread and Norwich City.

Robbie Findley and Nottingham Forest play Cardiff City. (Findley is out injured.)

Eddie Johnson and Preston North End Queens Park Rangers.

Conor Doyle and Derby County play Scunthorpe United.

Frank Simek and Carlisle United play Swindon Town.

Steve Cherundolo, DaMarcus Beasley and Hannover 96 play Kaiserslautern.

Daniel Williams and SC Freiburg play VfL Wolfsburg. (Williams is out injured.)

David Yelldell and MSV Duisburg FC Union Berlin.

Carlos Bocanegra and St Etienne play Marseille.

Jozy Altidore and Bursaspor play Gaziantepspor.

Jonathan Bornstein and Tigres UANL play Monterrey.

Jose Torres, Herculez Gomez and Pachuca play Chivas de Guadalajara.

SUNDAY

Clint Dempsey and Fulham play Stuart Holden and Bolton Wanderers in the FA Cup.

Marcus Hahnemann and Wolverhampton Wanderers play West Bromwich Albion.

Maurice Edu and Rangers and play Dominic Cervi and Celtic.

Luis Robles and Karlsruhe play FSV Frankfurt.

Oguchi Onyewu and Twente Enschede play NEC Nijmegen.

Freddy Adu and Rizespor play Orduspor. (Adu is out injured.)

Sacha Kljestan and RSC Anderlecht play KVC Westerlo.

Edgar Castillo and Puebla play Chiapas.

MONDAY

Jonathan Spector and West Ham United play Burnley in the FA Cup.

Alfredo Morales and Hertha Berlin play Energie Cottbus.

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Who do see you performing better between Dempsey and Holden? Think Edu will get the nod in the Old Firm? How do you think St. Etienne and Bocanegra will fare against Marseille?

Share your thoughts below.

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44 Responses to Americans Abroad: A Look Ahead

  1. Josh D says:

    I feel bad for Grella… A hard working, skillful American lost at Leeds. Hope he manages to leave this summer.

  2. Steve C says:

    Whatever happened to the 3rd American player at Pachuca? I can’t remember his name or i’d google him, but I believe he was a defensive midfielder.

  3. Shane says:

    Agree Josh, and it’s not as if Grella hasnt done well for them.

  4. David says:

    Don’t feel to bad for him. He gets paid to play soccer, or train I guess, in England. Pretty sweet if you ask me.

  5. timber says:

    At Aston Villa, Carlos Cuellar is injured and out for four weeks, there is talk that Luke Young is back in action and might play, but do you think that they would recall Eric Lichaj from loan early to fill the spot? I know I would like to see it, but is it a real change?

  6. SD says:

    Marco Vidal. I thought he was loaned to a second division club. Anyone else with info

  7. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    Anyone know why Holden didn’t make the roster for the Wigan game?

  8. jonk says:

    If they were one injury away from starting him, he wouldn’t have been sent on loan.

  9. jonk says:

    Per his twitter account, he was being rested.

  10. Alex G says:

    He was rested, he should make the roster this weekend.

  11. Mat says:

    Our foreign legion is getting stronger by the week it seems!

  12. Josh D says:

    But the point is to play soccer – not just train every day. It’s like saying “don’t feel sorry for a boxer” because he gets paid to box. But if all he does is train and doesn’t get a fight, where’s the fun? Or a lawyer who only researches and never gets a case or a doctor who studies but doesn’t help patients.

    You work hard to earn the chance. He’s not getting that chance.

  13. timmytwoshoezzz says:

    Marseille is going to take care of business with St. Etienne this weekend before they pull off their own shocker midweek when they beat ManU. Hopefully that match is as scintillating as the UEFA matches features this past week!

  14. matt says:

    I hope you’re right, i love me some OM.

  15. argh says:

    You sir are BRILLANT.

  16. argh says:

    I honestly doubt it. Lichaj did okay in his few PL games, but he was not “experienced” enough in Houllier’s eyes. Whether that’s true or just biased, I think Lichaj will do well at Leeds and prove himself. He needs PT and he is getting that now. If he plays til the end of the season with Leeds, it’ll be good for him. He can start the pre-season fresh and challenge for a starting role with AV, hard it will be, but if not, he can be a reliable sub or head to another club.

  17. NATO says:

    Speaking of OM and St. Etienne. Bocanegra scored his 2nd league goal last weekend. Can we get a round of applause?

  18. KEVIN says:

    O/T but does anyone know when CONCACAF will release info for the Gold Cup? Will we be in Group A? I need to know ahead of time so I can book tickets to get to Dallas. I mean if we’re up against Costa Rica, then i’m definitely going. But if we’re playing like Grenada, i’ll wait to a semi-final or so.

  19. zomc says:

    what’s with all the criticism toward Dempsey? He missed a PK. It happens. Dude was uber tired. Maybe he should have left Gera take it, but I bet he thought he could still manage it. Regardless, Fulham drew. They’re lucky Torres wasn’t on FIRE otherwise it’d not have mattered. Dempsey has 9 league goals, if he scores 2 more he beats McBride’s record of 10 league goals. Bradley had 16 league goals a few years back but EPL outranks Eredivisie as we all know. Plus Dempsey currently has 30 league goals altogether and if he scores 3 more, he becomes Fulham’s top PL scorer ever. Strange huh. 10 years in the PL and McBride’s 32 are the top for Fulham

  20. Dainja says:

    Edson is starting!! (to all the Bundesliga 2 fans out there…all four of you) game starts in less than 20.

    Edson Buddle…aka the Wallabe Champ aka Ghostface Buddle aka Edson Starks.

  21. zomc says:

    starting lineup for Gold Cup?

    —————–Howard————–
    —Cherundolo–Gooch—Goodson—Bocanegra–
    ————Bradley—–Jones———
    ——-Dempsey—-Holden—–Donovan—-
    —————Altidore————

    subs- Guzan, Lichaj, Ream, Edu, Feilhaber, Torres, Buddle

  22. zomc says:

    hahahaha, you’re funny. I believe so far he has 1 goal and 1 assist in 3 games. He needs to be scoring or Ingolstadt will definitely be in the 3 Bundesliga by April.

  23. Brian S says:

    I try to find a flaw in your lineup and I can’t. I think that is our strongest team that we can field. I might would switch Spector for Torres on the subs bench with his current form but overall pretty strong

  24. jonk says:

    Unfortunately it was drowned out by the drubbing his team took.

  25. C John says:

    i’m watching the ingolstatd match now and holy crap is this hard to watch. granted they are a bottom of the table team, but there is no way 2bundesliga is better than mls in terms of quality of play.

  26. Villain-from-Texas says:

    Bradley and Jones will start, not doubt. But is Edu not in better form at the moment?

  27. zomc says:

    Bradley needs to call in Yelldell and Robles to train with the NT sometime soon. Those 2 are starters on 2 Bundesliga sides. Pretty good keepers. Surely better than Rimando and Perkins. Robles could definitely give Guzan a run for his money.

  28. zomc says:

    I would figure Edu is best as a sub. He can bring calm stability to a game such as the Slovenia match.

  29. jig says:

    30 appearances, 1 goal. If he was doing well, he’d be playing for them.

  30. offcolorcommentary says:

    Robles did not look very good last time he played for Nats… Guzan is way ahead of him

  31. John D says:

    I think that lineup definitely gives us the best chance of winning. I just wish there was a solid LB in the pipeline. Also, I know it is kind of early but I think Agudelo brings flair and a high work-rate that could really help us late in games. I know he is unproven, but I think as a sub he brings more to the table because of the pressure he puts on the opposition with his pace and dribbling. Buddle, to me, doesn’t have that super-sub quality that can change a game.

  32. Dainja says:

    yea, I watched and Buddleface didn’t have a great game. not his fault, didn’t get much service. His one somewhat good chance he headed at the goalie. Awful team he’s on. Now…onto the next Jermaine Jones, err, Timonthy Chandler! First time watching him…(in Flav voice) SHOW EM WHAT YOU GOT!

  33. FXB says:

    Timmy Chandler kind of looks like the black “Flea.” His head is massive!!!!

    link to rsc.imscouting.com

  34. Primoone says:

    I may be a novice to the blogoshpere however, maybe you can clear something up Ives…is it normal to see posts here on your blog…then jump to another blog and see the exact same piece (word for word) on another blog?

  35. Nic D "The Texas 2 Stepper" says:

    Who is Preston North End Queens Park Rangers?

    Good name but the Best Name in all of Sports is Inverness Caldonian Thistle Football Club and ARSENAL

  36. DaveW says:

    Yes, he was sent down to León in the 2nd division(Liga de Ascenso). Clausura stats: 4 starts in 5 games, 389 minutes played.

    Pachuca’s ownership acquired the club and sent a couple players down.

  37. montana matt says:

    I’ve got first row seats for the Fulham v Bolton match tomorrow at the Cottage. So pumped to watch Dempsey and Holden duke it out.

  38. TyrannicalWriters says:

    We’ll be right up in the action. Poor sightline but great atmosphere surely. But today, Millwall.

  39. GW says:

    Grella has 5 goals for Leeds overall, only one goal in League games.

    That’s one goal every 6 appearances for Leeds, not good.

    Leeds obviously thinks enough of him to keep him around and keep loaning him out instead of just cutting him.

    So either the managers are idiots (or the always popular “anti-american” answer, in which case it’s odd they moved for Lichaj) ) and don’t use him enough or properly or maybe he just isn’t good enough.

    It doesn’t seem anyone else is breaking down the doors to get him.

    It seems like he’s either going to have to suddenly score a lot of goals or get some sort of break and find a run of PT somewhere

    “You work hard to earn the chance. He’s not getting that chance.”

    Maybe he hasn’t earned it.

  40. GW says:

    That is your 18 man game day roster. What is your 23 man roster (they do carry 23 for the Gold Cup yes?)?

  41. Kyle S says:

    Breaking down the door to get him? You are totally wrong he had a loan move set up for the second half of the season to SPL team Motherwell but Fifa ruled that he cannot play for a third team in the 2010/ 2011 season. He also turned down a loan move in the beginning of the season before deciding to go to Carlisle. There are many teams that are keeping an eye on what Leeds are doing with Grella. He played very well with Carlisle (3 goals in 8 appearances 5 of them came as sub) he was a spark for Carlisle at times. He just cannot displace those in front of him at Leeds. He is a young talent that will get his chance in time. But he will have options because as I said he is a young talent. Maybe not good enough to play for the USMNT or in the EPL but he is certainly good enough to play for another team in the championship that does not have all the pressure games coming up as Leeds are trying to hold their fingertips tightly to the playoff spot. We shall see where he ends up this summer.

  42. GW says:

    My definition of breaking down the door to get him would be actually wanting him so much they would buy him. I don’t see anyone trying to do that.

    If he is as good as we hope he is it’s too bad about the Motherwell loan because the SPL is an awful league and maybe Grella could have done some damage.

    And he’s 24 which is young to Americans but old to Europeans. He has time but not a lot of it. I wish him well.

  43. Kyle S says:

    I know what you mean but in the economic times that we are in alot of teams are leaning towards loans instead of purchasing players before they have proven to work in their system. So teams working to get him on loan is breaking down the door in the modern economic times.

    SPL is not the best league but i would not down grade it to being awful. It’d certainly be better then some of the places we have top players now (Feilhaber at Aarhus).

    24 is not old by any means. 27 – 30 is prime in football. So he still has time to find the right fit.

  44. GW says:

    Kyle,

    If you are available for loan either your club is dire straits and are dumping contracts (MB and Gladbach)or you are recovering from injury (C. Davies,) or you are young and need seasoning(Lichaj).

    Guys like Fabregas and Rooney don’t get loaned out.

    Outside of the Old Firm the SPL is awful.

    The SPL is ranked 15th by UEFA ( for seeding purposes).

    Denmark is ranked #12 ( 13 is Belgium, 14 is Romania). So Benny (once he gets Aarhus back in the top division) would be in a better league, at least according to UEFA.

    As far as age. Grella is 24 and that is old because if you are the US, you compare Grella to a guy like 19 year old Conor Doyle, who could (maybe) soon surpass Grella for goals and appearances at a higher level, if he has a good year. And I haven’t even gotten to guys like Agudelo, Bunbury , Salgado, or even Wondo, etc.

    If the concern is the USMNT Grella is running out of time to impress himself into the mix.

    I hope I’m wrong but, right now,Grella just hasn’t shown much in terms of why he should be ahead of any of the guys I just mentioned.

    Of course that doesn’t mean he can’t have a fruitful career as a journeyman in the lower leagues of England. Or maybe he could come back to MLS ( or some other league ) and put on a show which would push him into the USMNT picture. Whatever, I wish him luck.