Brad Guzan and Aston Villa were expected to be just another stepping stone in Chelsea’s path to an English Premier League title, but the Villans and their American goalkeeper had other plans.
Guzan made two saves before Fabian Delph’s second-half winner secured a stunning 1-0 victory against a Chelsea side forced to play a man down for the final 22 minutes. Guzan’s shutout helped Villa climb into the top half of the Premier League standings, and handed Chelsea its first loss in 14 Premier League matches.
Not to be outdone, fellow U.S. national team goalkeeper Tim Howard made two saves in helping Everton post a 2-1 victory against Cardiff City on Saturday. The Toffees victory pulled them within two points of struggling Tottenham for fifth place in the Premier League standings.
Geoff Cameron made it a perfect 3-0 weekend for American starters in the Premier League, starting and going 90 minutes in Stoke City’s 3-1 win against West Ham United. With seven points from three matches, the Potters have moved away from relegation danger and onto the doorstep of the top 10.
In the League Championship, injuries ruled out several Americans, including Eric Lichaj and Danny Williams, but at least one was able to start and find the win column. Oguchi Onyewu helped Sheffield Wednesday snap a two-match losing streak by playing the full 90 minutes in a 4-1 drubbing of Birmingham City. Jonathan Spector and Will Packwood both started for Birmingham City, with Packwood on the wrong end of an own goal.
In Germany, Fabian Johnson recorded an assist, but couldn’t keep Hoffenheim from dropping a 4-2 decision to Mainz 05 on Saturday. John Brooks was again out of action for Hertha Berlin, remaining an unused sub as he continues to struggle for playing time.
Brooks wasn’t the only recent U.S. national team starter to not get off the bench for their club team last weekend. Alejandro Bedoya and Jermaine Jones were left on the bench for their clubs in France and Turkey, respectively.
In the Netherlands, Aron Johannsson couldn’t keep his torrid scoring stretch going, playing just 60 minutes in AZ Alkmaar’s 2-1 loss to FC Twente on Sunday. Juan Agudelo went the full 90 minutes for FC Utrecht in a 2-2 tie against NEC Nijmegen on Sunday.
In Belgium, Sacha Kljestan returned to the starting lineup for Anderlecht, helping the Belgian champion earn a 4-0 victory against KV Oostende.
In Austria, Terrence Boyd played the full 90 minutes in Rapid Vienna’s 1-0 victory against SV Josko Ried on Saturday.
In Mexico, Club Tijuana’s decision to rest several starters starters ahead of Tuesday’s decisive CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal against the Los Angeles Galaxy meant opportunities for several Americans. A total of four Americans started for the Xolos in a 2-1 loss to Cruz Azul on Saturday. Edgar Castillo, Herculez Gomez, Paul Arriola and Alejandro Guido all started, with only Gomez not playing the full 90 minutes. A fifth American, Fernando Arce Jr., played nine minutes for the Xolos.
DaMarcus Beasley and Michael Orozco continued their roles as starters for Puebla, but they couldn’t keep their side from losing 1-0 to Jose Torres and UANL Tigres on Sunday. Torres earned another start for Tigres and is looking more and more like a strong candidate for a call-up from Jurgen Klinsmann for the USA-Mexico friendly next month.
Gabriel Farfan started and played 68 minutes for Jaguares de Chiapas in a 2-2 tie against Club America on Saturday.
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- Brad Guzan