Americans Abroad: Weekend Preview

Photo by ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

Geoff Cameron and Brad Guzan are two of the Americans enjoying succesful seasons and they will have a chance to further build on them this weekend. Against one another.

Cameron and Guzan are set to square off, as Stoke City visits Aston Villa in what is arguably the biggest game involving Americans on Saturday. Cameron is set for his 14th start of the season for the Potters while Guzan should again be in goal for the Villans, who could also start fellow American Eric Lichaj in a game that is sure to attract many viewers stateside.

Another of this weekend’s prominent match-ups will take place at Goodison Park, where Tim Howard and Everton will host Clint Dempsey, Brad Friedel and Tottenham on Sunday. Dempsey has recently been hitting his stride with Spurs and seems poised for another big performance, but Howard will be keen on nullifying his U.S. Men’s National Team teammate en route to ending the Toffees’ current four-game skid.

Jozy Altidore is not involved in a clash with a fellow American, but he will be aiming to end his current scoring drought when AZ Alkmaar battle Willem II Tilburg on Saturday. Altidore has not found the back of the net since Nov. 10, and a goal this weekend could go a long way in helping AZ secure their first victory in more than a month.

Here is who the Americans Abroad face off against this weekend:

FRIDAY

Fabian Johnson, Danny Williams and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim play Hamburg SV.

Andrew Wooten and SV Sandhausen play FSV Frankfurt.

Tony Taylor and Estoril Praia play Caleb Patterson-Sewell and Vitoria Setubal.

Eugene Starikov and FK Rostov play Krasnodar.

Conor O’Brien and SonderjyskE play Clarence Goodson and Brondby IF.

SATURDAY

Brad Guzan, Eric Lichaj and Aston Villa play Geoff Cameron, Maurice Edu and Stoke City.

Conor Doyle and Derby County play Leeds United. (Doyle is out injured.)

Tim Ream, Stuart Holden and Bolton Wanderers play Huddersfield Town.

Zak Whitbread and Leicester City play Barnsley.

Robbie Findley and Nottingham Forest play Burnley.

Jonathan Spector, Will Packwood and Birmingham City play Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Frank Simek and Carlisle United play Sheffield United.

Robbie Rogers and Stevenage play Hartlepool United.

Mike Grella and Scunthorpe United play AFC Bournemouth.

Oguchi Onyewu and Malaga play Granada.

Michael Bradley and AS Roma play Fiorentina.

Timmy Chandler and FC Nurnberg play Fortuna Dusseldorf.

Jermaine Jones and Schalke 04 play VfB Stuttgart.

Alfredo Morales, John Anthony Brooks and Hertha Berlin play SC Paderborn 07.

Jozy Altidore and AZ Alkmaar play Willem II Tilburg.

Sacha Kljestan and RSC Anderlecht play RAEC Bergen Mons.

Terrence Boyd and Rapid Vienna play FC Wacker Tirol.

Charlie Davies and Randers FC play Esbjerg.

SUNDAY

Tim Howard and Everton play Clint Dempsey, Brad Friedel and Tottenham Hotspur.

Sebastian Lletget and West Ham United play Liverpool.

Carlos Bocanegra and Racing Santander play Real Madrid Castilla. (Bocanegra is out injured.)

Steve Cherundolo and Hannover 96 play David Yelldell and Bayer Leverkusen.

Bobby Wood and TSV 1860 Munich play SSV Jahn Regensburg.

Joe Gyau and St Pauli play FC Erzgebirge Aue.

Michael Parkhurst and FC Nordsjaelland play FC Copenhagen.

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Which of these games are you most looking forward to? Who will win between Cameron and Stoke and Guzan and Villa? Do you see Dempsey scoring this weekend, or will Howard keep a cleansheet?

Share your thoughts below.

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32 Responses to Americans Abroad: Weekend Preview

  1. franki says:

    $12 says Dempsey scores this weekend. 5€ says Altidorr scores a brace

    • biff says:

      Dempsey looked good yesterday, seems to be improving each game and is finally getting his confidence back. What I find amazing, at this latter stage in his career, is the development the past three months in his play-making abilities. His pass yesterday to set up Abedeyor’s goal and last weekend for Defoe’s goal were both weighted perfectly, that sort of beautiful passes you see guys like Mesut Ozil making. I’m excited about this and think it will pay big dividends for the USMNT. I was almost ready to give up on AVB a couple of weeks ago after the miserable game at Lazio, but it seems his tactics are finally starting to take hold and Dempsey is learning from them.

    • Excellency says:

      On less than three day’s rest?

  2. franki says:

    really hope Yelldell enjoying those Bundesliga wages

  3. BoomBap! says:

    Demps lined up out wide w Ade and Defoe as the two strikers yesterday and was still effective, think he lines up there again? Appears AVB wants as many of his offensive threats on the field even if somewhat out of position.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      are you saying that dempsey is out of position when playing out wide?

      i thought that’s where he played most effectively when at fulham, and definitely for BB-era usmnt.

      • BoomBap! says:

        I purposefully used the word “somewhat” re where he lined up. Admittedly have seen more of Demps US matches vs Fulham, but I don’t recall much wide duty. In Bradley’s 442 did he line up as the left mid? For both club n country I thought he was more inside behind the forwards, if not a forward.

        At Spurs, has he lined up wide in prior games? Usually he’s the second forward. Either, he’s not entirely out of position, just thought it was not his typical or preferred starting spot.

        • Nate Dollars says:

          on usmnt, he would switch from left to right with donovan; almost never in the center, from what i recall.

          didn’t watch as much fulham, but at spurs i believe he’s almost always withdrawn forward.

          and my question was about whether you were referring to dempsey as out of position, or other spurs players he’s lined up with.

        • Colin says:

          Dempsey actually played the most for fulham over the course of his career on the left and then drifted in. Only more recently did he consistently play the withdrawn forward role.

  4. bgood says:

    I know that we are still a long way off from seeing him competing, but it is so nice to see Stuart Holden’s name listed without the qualifying (Holden is out injured) next to it. Regardless of his future USMNT contributions, I just want to see the guy playing again. I can’t wait to see the reception he gets when he steps back out on the field at the Reebok!

    • Nate Dollars says:

      yup. his first minutes back for the full team at bolton will be fun to watch, if only for the crowd reaction.

    • Gary Page says:

      So true. Not only has had an incredible run of bad luck, he seems like a good guy who deserves success.

  5. biff says:

    Today’s game will be Hoffenheim’s first after the firing of coach Markus Babbel. Hope Fabian and the guys can win one for the new (interim) coach. But HSV in Hamburg will be a tough, tough match, with HSV gaining a reputation in recent weeks for going all out and hitting hard.

  6. MidWest Ref says:

    Hey SBI;

    I know that college soccer is not a huge draw, but it is the weekend of the final four or college cup. How about a little preview for the semi-final games that start tonight?

  7. XPK says:

    I find it interesting that Jozy’s poor club form correlates pretty well to Klinsmann leaving him off the roster for the final games of the most recent round of WCQ. Hoping Jozy can rediscover his form from the beginning of the season.

    • franki says:

      actually he was in hot form during September. Scoring evert week. Thats why it was an outcry against him not being called up

      • XPK says:

        you are correct that he was in hot form. Since the non-call up for the WCQ he has not been in that same form. I’m just arm-chair analyzing that the non-call up could very well have shaken his confidence and mental game a bit (I believe he was red-carded in his league match right around the time the WCQ roster was going to be released for berating the referee).

        • GW says:

          XPK and Mr. dollars,

          Read this.

          link to prosoccertalk.nbcsports.com

          • Nate Dolllars says:

            well, that’s good info, but still don’t agree with him re: benching jozy.

            in his role as a national team manager, i don’t think it’s his job to teach someone a lesson when they’re not trying to improve themselves; he should play the best players at any given time (or, the players that play best together). unless, of course, that player does something that may screw up the team dynamic (such as post an insubordinate tweet), which is why i do think that jozy’s later roster exclusion was necessary.

            it just seemed that, at the beginning, jozy was jk’s whipping boy (saying that he’d have to work and create his own chances), essentially blaming him for the usmnt not scoring goals when jk had been starting 3 d-mids, and with jozy only starting (i think) 3 games in 2012. and it’s not like any other usmnt forward was on a tear.

            • GW says:

              Mr. Dollars,

              “in his role as a national team manager, i don’t think it’s his job to teach someone a lesson when they’re not trying to improve themselves”

              If Jozy wasn’t doing well enough for the US it absolutely is JK’s job to tell him the US requires more and if Jozy does not give more then it is JK’s job to find someone who can do the job.

              Otherwise you could just pick the team based on the players’ stats, which anyone can do.

              There are some national teams where all you have to do is get 11 guys, show them where the field is and then get out of the way but the USMNT isn’t one of them.
              Who said JK was using Jozy as a whipping boy? Or that JK told him to work and create his own chances? SBI bloggers said that not JK.

              JK kept calling him up in spite of that fact that most neutral observers felt Jozy did not play well for the USMNT. So all JK did was drop him to make the point that no one is exempt from having to perform and that what while good club form gets you to the USMNT , you have to play well for the USMNT to stay.

              And if you read the article, you will notice that JK said he is not shutting the door permanently on Jozy, unlike most of Jozy’s critics on SBI. In fact, JK is doing the exact same thing that Verbeek, AZ’s manager has been doing with Jozy. And the result is Jozy is having a fantastic run at AZ.

              JK’s job is to field the best TEAM he can, not play some all-star, fantasy team line up.

              And his job it get the necessary results, not play some formation that is pleasing to everyone outside the team. The US finished first in their qualifying group and they are in the Hex. So far, JK has done his job.

              You might have noticed that since JK took over we now seem to have a lot more forward options. Jozy remains the US’ most talented forward but he is not as indispensable as he was.

              • Nate Dolllars says:

                cool, didn’t know if you’d see my response.

                “If Jozy wasn’t doing well enough for the US…” that’s up for debate (since i blame the lack of scoring more on the defensive midfield than on our forwards not putting away chances).

                “Who said JK was using Jozy as a whipping boy?”

                i said that; totally my opinion.

                “Or that JK told him to work and create his own chances? SBI bloggers said that not JK.”

                no, klinsmann said that in an interview with espn. was just quoting him.

                “most neutral observers felt Jozy did not play well for the USMNT”

                very much up for debate.

                in the end, my point was not that JK didn’t have the right (or responsibility) to bench whoever he wants; but that it seemed like he was calling jozy out, when i believe his tactical and lineup decisions had more to do with our underachieving results.

              • GW says:

                Mr. dollar,

                Of course he was calling him out!
                That is the job of the manager.

                Jozy played poorly in the first Jamaica game and was subsequently dropped for the next Jamaica game, the A & B game and the Guatemala game, all wins.

                Jozy finally came back against Russia and seems to be playing better within the context of the USMNT style, which by necessity, is often different from the style many of the players are used to.

                During his absence, Gomez and EJ proved to be more adaptable to the USMNT style and worthy replacements for Jozy. To paraphrase Jozy himself, it’s up to the player to adapt to the team, not the other way around.

                Whether this mean JK was using Jozy as a scapegoat is debatable but what is not debatable is that Verbeek, his AZ manager, a noted hard case, has dropped Jozy and publicly criticized Jozy calling him “stupid” and so on in print. His “tough love” has led to Jozy having the best run of his career.

                All JK is doing is copying Verbeek, the first manager to get Jozy to consistently play to his potential. Now maybe you think the USMNT should also copy AZ’s style of play but my suspicion is we don’t have the personnel for it.

                At any rate now everybody knows what is expected of them. If Jozy doesn’t want to adapt to the US then that’s on him.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      yep. either klinsmann is a genius for seeing jozy’s poor form in advance (hi, old school!), or his benching and subsequent (deserved) exclusion from the usmnt roster has resulted in poor form at his club.

      or there’s no causal correlation at all, and he’s just going through a bad stretch. :)

    • Gary Page says:

      Alkmaar doesn’t seem as strong this season. It could be that since they don’t have as many other scoring threats, defenses have learned to concentrate on Altidore.

  8. nato says:

    so like is Wondo going to Europe nexr month?

  9. OC says:

    Can anyone talk to me about Sebastian Lletget? I remember a few years ago he was pretty highly-touted. Is he any good? Is he on Klinsmann’s radar?

    • Nate Dollars says:

      i believe he’s still trying to break into the first team as west ham.

      you’ll want to ask someone masochistic enough to watch west ham games.

    • atd says:

      Very technical two-way central midfielder. He’s either an 8 or a 10, or could play as a tucked-in outside mid (which is where he played in some of WHU’s preseason games this year). He lost some time to illness a few years back, and is still sort of catching up, i.e., he’s logged less game time than he might have at this point; but by all accounts he’s done well for a reserves side which has just steam-rolled its competition. The primary knock on him is that he lacks pace.

      • atd says:

        Additionally, N-$ raises a good point: the EPL in general and WHU in particular aren’t especially hospitable environs for a player of his sort.

  10. 2tone says:

    Some good games this weekend. I will be tuned into boith EPL games that involve Americans.