By FRANCO PANIZO
Only five points currently separate Clint Dempsey and Fulham from Jozy Altidore and cellar dwellers Sunderland, but that will probably soon change.
Dempsey is set to make his Premiership return on Saturday a little more than five months after leaving to sign with MLS, and will do so against Altidore and the rest of the Black Cats in a match filled with relegation implications. Dempsey is coming off a 90-minute performance for the Cottagers in the FA Cup in which he showed some expected rust, but he still seems the more likely of the two Americans to receive a start in this match given that Altidore has been used a substitute in recent league matches for Sunderland.
Another match with some intrigue for U.S. fans will be Monday’s fixture between Aston Villa and league leaders Arsenal. The Villans won their last league match against Sunderland, but will probably need a fine performance from Brad Guzan in goal to have a shot at picking up a result vs. the talented Gunners.
While Aston Villa are looking to extend their winning streak, the American contingent at Club Tijuana is aiming to grab its first victory of the Liga MX Clausura campaign. Tijuana settled for a scoreless draw vs. Atlas in Week 1, and will now try to knock off Club America team that won their season opener, 3-0. That especially holds true for Edgar Castillo, who previously played for Las Aguilas.
Here is who the Americans Abroad face this weekend:
Zak Whitbread and Derby County play Leicester City.
Herculez Gomez, Joe Corona, Edgar Castillo, Greg Garza, Paul Arriola and Club Tijuana play Club America.
Tim Howard and Everton play Norwich City.
Clint Dempsey and Fulham play Jozy Altidore and Sunderland.
Cody Cropper and Southampton play West Bromwich Albion.
Brad Friedel and Tottenham Hotspur play Crystal Palace.
Gboly Ariyibi and Leeds United play Sheffield Wednesday.
Tim Ream, Stuart Holden and Bolton Wanderers play Eric Lichaj and Nottingham Forest. (Holden is out injured.)
Jonathan Spector and Birmingham City play Brighton & Hove Albion. (Spector is out injured.)
Brek Shea and Barnsley play Charlton Athletic.
Duane Holmes and Huddersfield Town play Millwall.
Danny Williams and Reading play Watford.
Oguchi Onyewu and Queens Park Rangers play Ipswich Town.
Jonathan Bornstein and Atlante play Veracruz.
Jose Torres and Tigres UANL play Pachuca.
Geoff Cameron, Maurice Edu and Stoke City play Liverpool.
Alejandro Bedoya and FC Nantes play Lorient.
DaMarcus Beasley, Michael Orozco and Puebla play Alonso Hernandez and Monterrey.
Brad Guzan and Aston Villa play Arsenal.
Which of these matches are you most looking forward to? Who do you see winning between Dempsey’s Fulham and Altidore’s Sunderland? Think Guzan and Aston Villa can pull off the upset vs. the Gunners? Already miss seeing Michael Bradley on this list?
Share your thoughts below.