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Americans Abroad Preview: Howard and Everton meet sinking Sunderland

Goal.com

Tim Howard and Everton are on a roll, with five straight wins to close within a point of Arsenal for fourth place in the English Premier League. With a game in hand, and Arsenal playing an FA Cup semifinal against Wigan on Saturday, the Toffees could be in fourth place at the start of the new week.

Standing in the way of that jump is last-place Sunderland, which will play host to Everton on Saturday. The Black Cats are mired in a eight-match winless slump that has seen them lose seven of those eight. Jozy Altidore was dropped from the first team for its most recent match, last Monday's 5-1 loss to Tottenham, and it remains unclear whether manager Gus Poyet will give Altidore another chance or let him spend the final month of the season with the reserves.

The rest of the American contingent in the English Premier League includes Geoff Cameron and Stoke City taking on Newcastle United on Saturday, and Brad Guzan and Aston Villa facing West Bromwich Albion.

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In the Football League Championship, Danny Williams will look to shake off a knee injury to return to the field and help Reading hold onto sixth place and the promotion playoff slot that comes with it. The Royals meet Championship winner Leicester City, which could be coasting after securing its place in the English Premier League.

Tim Ream and Bolton are unbeaten in five and will be looking to make it six against last-place Barnsley on Saturday. Ream is still in the mix for an invitation to the U.S. national team pre-World Cup training camp and a strong finish to the League Championship season could book his place.

Another player with his eye on making that training camp is Oguchi Onyewu, who will look to shake off a recent injury to return to action for Sheffield Wednesday's clash with Blackburn.

In Germany, John Brooks will look to maintain his hold on a starting role for Hertha Berlin in Sunday's showdown with Bayer Leverkusen. Hertha is mired in a five-match winless streak, but showed improvement in last week's tie with Hoffenheim.

In the Netherlands, Aron Johannsson and AZ will look to erase the bad taste of their Europa League elimination by beating NEC Nijmegen. Johannsson should be able to find some chances against an NEC side with the worst defense in the Eredivisie. Juan Agudelo and FC Utrecht meet Heracles on Sunday, and a win could secure Utrecht's safety from relegation for the season.

In Turkey, Jermaine Jones will look to maintain his starting role as Besiktas plays Konyaspor on Friday. Jones is starting to face some serious competition for his starting place with the U.S. national team, as Kyle Beckerman and Maurice Edu come on strong, but the German-born midfielder can stay sharp with more minutes for Besiktas.

In Norway, Michael Stephens and Stabaek will try to keep their record perfect as they take on Molde on Sunday. Bob Bradley's Stabaek side is off to a 2-0 start.

In Mexico, Club Tijuana's large American contingent will be in action on Saturday against UANL Tigres. Fresh off being eliminated in the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals, the Xolos will be trying to jump up several places in the Liga MX standings with a victory. Jose Torres is suspended for the match for UANL Tigres.

DaMarcus Beasley and Puebla take on Club America in a match they need to help avoid the relegation zone. Michael Orozco is expected to miss the match with an injury.

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