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Americans Abroad Preview: Altidore faces Guzan in Premier League clash

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Americans Abroad Preview: Altidore faces Guzan in Premier League clash
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Americans Abroad Preview: Altidore faces Guzan in Premier League clash

If Jozy Altidore is going to break through and score his first English Premier League goal for Sunderland this weekend, he will have to do so against a familiar face in fellow American Brad Guzan.

Recently named U.S. Soccer's Player of the Year, Altidore has been struggling for regular minutes in recent weeks, but if he does get the call from Black Cats boss Gus Poyet, he will have to try and beat an in-form Guzan in one of the top match-ups featuring Americans overseas this weekend.

Sunderland has dropped back to the Premier League basement after its most recent loss, while Aston Villa sits in mid-table in 12th place. Guzan’s Villans have put together a three-match unbeaten streak in recent weeks, and a win on Saturday could help Villa move into the top half of the table.

Tim Howard and Everton will put their five-match unbeaten streak on the line against Geoff Cameron and Stoke City. The Toffees have tied three straight matches, but will be looking for the home win against a Stoke City side that has put together a three-match unbeaten streak. Geoff Cameron continues to play regularly for the Potters, but Brek Shea is still waiting to make his season debut, though he did make the bench for Stoke City last week.

In the League Championship, Eric Lichaj and Nottingham Forest take on Danny Williams and Reading on Friday in a battle of top-eight clubs. Reading is winless in four, but could still climb into the top six with a victory against Forest.

In Germany, Jermaine Jones and Schalke take on Stuttgart on Saturday with a chance to improve on their current sixth-place position. Schalke is unbeaten in three matches, but sits seven points out of the top three.

John Brooks will try to get on the field for Hertha Berlin for the first time in two months when Hertha takes on Augusburg on Saturday. Brooks has yet to regain his starting job since returning from a dislocated elbow, while Michael Parkhurst figures to leave Augsburg this winter after spending the past year not even dressing for the German club.

Timmy Chandler will have another chance to impress Jurgen Klinsmann on Saturday when he and Nuremberg face second-place Bayer Leverkusen. Nuremberg is mired in a five-match losing streak, and sitting in the relegation zone, so earning a result on the road against a strong Leverkusen side won’t be easy.

In Italy, Michael Bradley and Roma will look to snap their three match run of draws with a win at Atalanta on Sunday. Bradley has earned some regular playing time off the bench for the Romans, who will look to snap their recent disappointing run and regain first place in Serie A, where Juventus has moved into the top spot.

In the Netherlands, Aron Johannsson will look to continue his scoring run when the Cheese Farmers take on last-place NEC Breda on Sunday. Johannsson is currently second in the Eredivisie in goals, but could close the gap on league leader Alfred Finnbogason with a big game against the worst team in the Dutch League.

In France, Alejandro Bedoya and Nantes will look to halt their recent run of poor results with a win against Guingamp on Saturday. Nantes has slipped to fifth place in Ligue 1 after losing to Monaco last week, but a win Saturday could turn that around. Bedoya has been settling for second-half appearances lately, but could earn a start for a Nantes side that hasn’t been playing well lately.

In Belgium, Sacha Kljestan and Anderlecht will look to climb back up the Jupiler League standings after slipping to fifth place last week when they take on Cercle Brugge on Sunday.

In Austria, Terrence Boyd will look to build on the mid-week Europa League goal he scored by finding his eighth league goal in Rapid Vienna’s match on Sunday against Wacker Innsbruck. Rapid Vienna is unbeaten in five, and has closed the gap on first-place Salzburg to seven points, a gap that could close even further this weekend.

In Mexico, Jose Torres and UANL Tigres take on Club America on Sunday in the second leg of their Apertura quarterfinal series. The teams tied, 2-2, in the first leg, but Club America has the edge, needing just a tie in the second leg at Estadio Azteca.

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