By FRANCO PANIZO
If a short turnaround did not already make things difficult enough for Tim Howard, his opponent this weekend surely will.
Coming off a strong performance in the U.S. Men’s National Team’s 2-0 defeat to Ukraine on Wednesday, Howard will look to lead Everton into battle as the Toffees visit Arsenal in the quarterfinals of the FA Cup. The talented and (as we were recently reminded) very vocal Howard is likely to be tested against a Gunners team attempting to keep its hopes of lifting some silverware this season alive. He will probably need to turn in another performance like the one he had against the Ukrainians earlier this week if the Toffees are to have a shot at pulling off the upset at the Emirates.
Howard is not the only American still in the FA Cup. Jozy Altidore remains in the tournament as well, and he will hope to earn some minutes for Sunderland after not dressing in last weekend’s Capital One Cup final defeat to Manchester City. Altidore has extra motivation for this showdown, too, as the game is against his former club, Hull City.
DaMarcus Beasley is not competing in any tournament matches, but the chances that he makes his way back into Puebla’s starting lineup for a league game should be improved after delivering a winner in last week’s triumph over Queretaro. Beasley has been in and out of the starting XI for the past month, but Friday’s clash with Toluca could present him another opportunity to further cement his place as a starter.
Here is who the Americans Abroad square off with this weekend:
Bobby Wood and TSV 1860 Munich play VfR Aalen.
DaMarcus Beasley, Michael Orozco and Puebla play Toluca.
Herculez Gomez, Joe Corona, Edgar Castillo, Greg Garza, Paul Arriola and Club Tijuana play Chivas de Guadalajara.
Tim Howard and Everton play Arsenal in the FA Cup.
Cody Cropper and Southampton play Crystal Palace.
Geoff Cameron and Stoke City play Norwich City.
Brad Friedel and Tottenham Hotspur play Chelsea.
Brek Shea and Barnsley play Eric Lichaj and Nottingham Forest. (Lichaj is out injured.)
Jonathan Spector, Will Packwood and Birmingham City play Queens Park Rangers.
Danny Williams and Reading play Brighton & Hove Albion.
Zak Whitbread and Derby County play Millwall.
Gboly Ariyibi and Leeds United play Tim Ream, Stuart Holden and Bolton Wanderers. (Holden is out injured.)
Duane Holmes and Yeovil Town play Oguchi Onyewu and Sheffield Wednesday.
Steve Cherundolo and Hannover 96 play David Yelldell and Bayer Leverkusen. (Cherundolo is out injured.)
Fabian Johnson and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim play Schalke 04.
Timmy Chandler and FC Nurnberg play Werder Bremen. (Chandler is out injured.)
Alfredo Morales and FC Ingolstadt 04 play FC Union Berlin.
Alejandro Bedoya and FC Nantes play AC Ajaccio.
Aron Johannsson and AZ Alkmaar play SC Heracles Almelo.
Juan Agudelo and FC Utrecht play PSV Eindhoven.
Sacha Kljestan and RSC Anderlecht play OH Leuven.
Alonso Hernandez and Monterrey play Pachuca.
Jose Torres and Tigres UANL play Cruz Azul.
Jozy Altidore and Sunderland play Hull City in the FA Cup.
John Brooks and Hertha Berlin play Mainz 05.
Andrew Wooten and FSV Frankfurt play St Pauli.
Jermaine Jones and Besiktas play Eskisehirspor.
Terrence Boyd and Rapid Vienna play FC Wacker Tirol.
Babajide Ogunbiyi and Viborg FF play Esbjerg.
Conor O’Brien and Odense BK play FC Copenhagen.
Jonathan Bornstein and Atlante play Queretaro.
Which of these matches are you most looking forward to? How will Howard and Everton fare against Arsenal?
Share your thoughts below.