Americans Abroad: Weekend Preview

Juan Agudelo FC Utrecht (Getty Images)

By FRANCO PANIZO

Two of the most in-form Americans right now will attempt to outdo one another on Saturday.

Juan Agudelo and Aron Johannsson will go head to head for the first time in their careers as FC Utrecht pays a visit to AZ Alkmaar. Both forwards have found ways to make impacts for their respective clubs in recent weeks, and they will hope for that to be the case again as they try to raise their U.S. Men’s National Team stocks ahead of this summer’s World Cup.

Jozy Altidore is another young forward who will aim to find the back of the net. Altidore is sorely in need of a goal after failing to get on the scoresheet since Dec. 4, and he should get an opportunity to do so for the relegation-threatened Black Cats as they host Southampton in an FA Cup clash on Saturday.

For Jermaine Jones, this weekend could mark his Besiktas debut. Jones was recently dealing with a minor groin injury, but has recovered and could be deemed healthy enough to partake in Sunday’s home game vs. Bursaspor.

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

FRIDAY

Steve Cherundolo and Hannover 96 play Mainz.

Alfredo Morales and FC Ingolstadt 04 play Bobby Wood and TSV 1860 Munich.

Herculez Gomez, Joe Corona, Edgar Castillo, Greg Garza, Paul Arriola and Club Tijuana play Santos Laguna.

SATURDAY

Jonathan Spector, Will Packwood and Birmingham City play Duane Holmes and Huddersfield Town. (Spector is out injured.)

Brek Shea and Barnsley play Doncaster Rovers.

Tim Ream, Stuart Holden and Bolton Wanderers play Millwall. (Holden is out injured.)

Jozy Altidore and Sunderland play Cody Cropper and Southampton in the FA Cup.

Oguchi Onyewu and Sheffield Wednesday play Charlton Athletic in the FA Cup. (Onyewu is out injured.)

Fabian Johnson and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim play VfB Stuttgart.

Andrew Wooten and FSV Frankfurt play Dynamo Dresden.

Alejandro Bedoya and FC Nantes play Nice.

Aron Johannsson and AZ Alkmaar play Juan Agudelo and FC Utrecht.

Terrence Boyd and Rapid Vienna play FC Trenkwalder Admira.

DaMarcus Beasley, Michael Orozco and Puebla play Cruz Azul.

Alonso Hernandez and Monterrey play Club Leon.

Jonathan Bornstein and Atlante play Pachuca.

Jose Torres and Tigres UANL play Jaguares de Chiapas.

SUNDAY

Danny Williams and Reading play Queens Park Rangers.

Tim Howard and Everton play Swansea City in the FA Cup.

Eric Lichaj and Nottingham Forest play Sheffield United in the FA Cup.

Timmy Chandler and FC Nurnberg play FC Augsburg. (Chandler is out injured.)

John Brooks and Hertha Berlin play VfL Wolfsburg.

Jermaine Jones and Besiktas play Bursaspor.

Sacha Kljestan and RSC Anderlecht play RAEC Bergen Mons.

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Which of these matches are you most looking forward to? See both Agudelo and Johannsson scoring? Think Altidore will snap his scoreless streak?

Share your thoughts below.

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42 Responses to Americans Abroad: Weekend Preview

  1. bryan says:

    hopefully this weekend is a lot better than last…

    • Curtis says:

      Agreed. And by definition, it almost has to be.

      • i wonder says:

        Agreed x2

        Jozy will score. Dempsey will score.

        • i wonder says:

          okay Fulham isn’t playing so Dempsey will score in FIFA 2014

          • Dirk McQuigley says:

            Believe me he does. I put him in the hole and he just finishes every cross from the wings. Dude is deadly accurate. Not much of an assist man, but he scores a lot of goals. I’m playing with Everton and I bought him as a transfer. Also have Bradley and Donovan. I play a 4-1-2-1-1-1 with Landon playing a little behind Kone. Bradley is the CM and Baines and DeFoleau are my outside mids.

  2. TomG says:

    Poyet said he’s starting a lot of the little used guys on Saturday. I can’t wait for the explosion of ignorance on the Saturday thread when Jozys not starting is announced.

    • Dough Boy says:

      Hahaha. Or (and this is taking Poyet’s comment into consideration) the explosion if Jozy DOES start.

    • Fair Observer says:

      true indeed, TomG, they will act like he’s lost his coaches confidence, when in fact there’s generally a rotation that takes place. much like earlier this season when Jozy and Fletcher alternated games. Every club rotates, Jozy was in line to start vs Man City but it was cancelled. I belieave Jozy will sub in around the 70th, doubting that he’ll leave Scocco in for a full 90 in his first game with the club.

    • biff says:

      That is interesting, TomG. On first read, did not make sense because the game against Man City was postponed, meaning no reason to rotate. But just checked the news articles and indeed Poyet said despite the postponement, will stick with his original plan. So I bet your right, no Jozy. Makes sense because Sunderland is still in a relegation battle and, quite frankly, the players already under relegation pressure do not need more (FA Cup) games on its already difficult schedule, including the Capital One Cup final in two weeks, which means its league game that weekend will postponed and inserted midweek later as will last week’s Man City game.

      Bottom Line: Sunderland certainly will try to win tomorrow, but probably won’t shed many tears if they lose.

      • TomG says:

        The one interesting thing to watch will be where Scocco plays. Gus has hinted on playing him as a lone striker, but that seems impossible for England at his size.

  3. uicjordan says:

    I just assume Altidore won’t be scoring anymore for this season. His confidence has crashed and his team stinks.

    • Fair Observer says:

      the emphasis is on the latter, haha. he just needs a midfielder that can play creative ground passes instead of a team full of wingers that cross or cut in and shoot themselves (AJ, Larsson, Colback, M Alonso, etc…)

      for the record, i believe in Sunderland but it’s almost as if they refuse to play normal passes near the top of the box. watch the next game and count how many times they take a 30+ yard shot, or send in a terrible cross…. there are maybe 2 ground passes played to their striker, whomever it is. Just MHO

      • Brett says:

        The tactics are what they are. Jozy gets opportunities to score, but the chances are minuscule compared to those he gets against teams in Holland or CONCACAF minnows. His total opportunities are low, but his conversion rate is absolutely abysmal this year. People seem to forget that what separates players at the highest level (top Euro leagues, World Cup) is the ability to produce quality under pressure, to turn half chances into goals–and to do it when you may only get one or two chances in a whole match.

        Now Sunderland isn’t the highest quality side, I think we can all agree on that, but this isn’t just a “Sunderland” thing. There’s a reason very few teams in the top leagues show dazzling quality on a regular basis. The competition is just different. You don’t see a lot of teams interchanging positions and always playing these perfect passes we pick out from our bird’s eye view. A lot more teams play the Sunderland style, spreading wide with safe passes and then attacking the middle, than play the Barcelona or Liverpool style, where they move the ball everywhere and can attack you with incisive passing from the point, the wings, or from deep in the midfield.

        The top 8 leagues in Europe all have high quality players. If they’re not strong, and fast, they’re mentally immaculate, agile, and technically gifted–or in rare cases, both. These are the “world class” talents. But having all the ability means nothing without that intangible desire–work ethic, instinct, whatever you want to call it.

        If Jozy wants goals, he has to fight for them a lot harder than he’s doing. He’s gotta go up for those 50/50 crosses and give his teammates the faith that he’ll attack it and finish. Right now he seems content to do the tactical job, which is collect the ball in the attacking third, hold, and distribute it to the channels or back into midfield and bring his teammates into the game.

        Jozy is playing the equivalent of what NFL analysts call a “Game Manager”. Do the job and defer the glory.

        • Kingsly Alexander says:

          Even spelling it in plain logic won’t make any sense to certain people here on this site because there’s no middle line when it comes to making sense to Jozy for them. Your either on one side of the spectrum or the other and putting it in black and white doesn’t compute in their minds so posts like this, won’t receive any responses from them.

          22 games played, 1 goal and 1 assist.

        • biff says:

          “Now Sunderland isn’t the highest quality side, I think we can all agree on that…”

          I beg to differ. Sunderland under Poyet has generally played within a range from decent to very good. On a good day they can beat anybody and on an off day can usually at the very least remain competitive.

    • Jake says:

      His team has been one of the better teams the past month or so. What you said was true for a good portion of the season, but not now.

  4. Conare says:

    I’m pretty sure Lichaj is still out injured with a possible hernia?

  5. Conare says:

    Also isn’t Jermaine Jones out for 3 weeks?

  6. biff says:

    Well, ran across this article yesterday that has a link to a video that shows Sheffield United’s winning goal last week in the 119th minute against Fulham in the FA Cup, of which Clint played a starring role. Not a pretty sight and no doubt was a massive blow to Clint.

    Losing his League One mark on a match-losing goal: Are you worried about Clint Dempsey yet?
    link to prosoccertalk.nbcsports.com

    • Brett says:

      Been worried since he got lost in the weeds at Spurs. This goal was the result of a tired mind. I hate to say it, because Clint has always seemed so mentally strong with intense self-belief, but it seems like that whole transfer saga and loss of playing time really hammered his confidence. I’ve been watching his play as much as possible and he does not seem like the same player–the one just as willing to use a cheeky flick to beat a guy hanging on his back as he was to out fight a defender for a cross, the guy who could poach a tap-in and then nail a 40 foot volley on frame.

      Being out of form is one thing, which Clint has been since the MLS move, but this type of mental insecurity is the worst kind of “injury” a player can suffer because it affects everything they do. He does not run off the ball with purpose anymore like he did during his best years at Fulham. He expects to be the guy who gets the ball with space and time to pick his head up. He did yeoman’s work under his managers at Fulham because he was in the process of proving himself; today, that player seems like a memory.

      • Kingsly Alexander says:

        I posted something along the same lines on the last running commentary.

        He isn’t showing that “me against the world mentality” that he had before for many a year at Fulham. Instead of trying to will through situations to make a play when he has the ball, he settles and looks for fouls now, just content to receive free kicks.

        You have to ask yourself at the end of the day, “is this the sort of player you want donning the armband at the WC”?

      • John says:

        I don’t know why everyone seems to have this awful memory of his time at Spurs. 3rd most goals on the team, scoring against ManU, ManCity, 2 against Basel in Europa. I’d take that Dempsey in a heartbeat over the one I’ve seen in the last 6 months.

  7. Joe+G says:

    Word is that Johannsson was injured in practice today.

    link to twitter.com

  8. Agajuice says:

    what channel can we watch the Sunderland Southampton game in the US? hope altidore ends his drought.

  9. Peter says:

    I feel like an outlayer here, but Alfredo Morales has consistently been getting starts and I would be very interested to see him brought in, because he is a true No. 6 that sits in front of the back four, and wins balls. I’d love to see him paired with MB. Plus he is only 23, and if you look at a list of our players 19-25 that would be WC eligible next time— it’s freaking ridiculous. I seriously think we can finish top four in Russia….

    FWDs: Altidore, Agudelo, Aron, Boyd
    MID: Gil, Diskerud, Morales, Shea, Corona, Gatt, Villareal, Arrieola, Joya, Stanko, Trapp

  10. Adams says:

    Let’s face folks, Americans are horrible in Europe. They aren’t comfortable abroad. They will never make it to a winning team. Michel Bradley was the closest we got and he quit. They feel safe at MLS where they are stars while playing old farts from Europe and rejects from CONCACAF. Even Atiba Hutchinson starts ahead of Jermaine Jones in Besitkas. You see Koreans Japanese Mexicans all kinds of Africans make it to top teams and play, but not Americans. I love them all and wish them the best, but they are mediocre allright. So, let’s just cheer our national team that will never win a world cup, but qualifies in CONCACAF. I am just being realistic. Now you can hate me.

  11. cj says:

    Will there soon be a new addition? Nice pic of julian green and Andy Herzog on twitter today

    • John says:

      Bild reporting the Klinsmann has pretty much given him a World Cup spot. If true i think this blows up in his face.

    • John says:

      It has been confirmed he is going to train with the US before the Ukraine match but won’t play

  12. Birgit Calhoun says:

    I am looking forward to seeing the match between Sunderland and Southampton. I really hope Altidore is going to score. He needs to get his old form back.

  13. Adams says:

    You know who gets playing time? Roger Espinosa and Emerson Boyce at Wigan Athletic.

  14. Adams says:

    I think that Fabian Johnson has secured a spot in starting line-up come WC provided no injuries.