It was the kind of weekend that had to make Jurgen Klinsmann smile, and leave U.S. national team fans excited at the prospects of what the squad will look like next summer as a plethora of standout Americans Abroad performances headlined a weekend to remember.
There were game-winning goals, stunning goalkeeping efforts, and even what appears to be an olive branch for one national team player who was thought to have a permanent place in Klinsmann’s doghouse.
Michael Bradley made his return to action for Roma in dramatic fashion, delivering a game-winning goal just four minutes after coming off the bench to help 10-man Roma post a 1-0 victory against Udinese on Sunday. Bradley’s winner helped keep Roma perfect at 9-0-0, and in first place in Serie A.
U.S. forward Terrence Boyd provided his own drama Sunday, netting an 88th-minute game-winner for Rapid Vienna in a 1-0 victory over Austria Vienna. The win helped Rapid snap a three-match winless skid while giving Boyd a total of eight goals in all competitions. His seven league goals are currently good for fourth in the Austrian League.
The top player on the Americans Abroad front this weekend was Tim Howard, who turned in arguably his best match of the season. He recorded three saves, including a stunning first-half penalty kick save off a Christian Benteke attempt in a 2-0 Everton victory against Aston Villa. U.S. teammate Brad Guzan held his own in the match, making two impressive saves, but it was Howard who stole the show with his Man of the Match performance.
Jozy Altidore got in on the Man of the Match plaudits as well, playing well in Sunderland’s 2-1 victory against Newcastle in the Tyne-Wear derby. Altidore returned to the starting lineup, playing alongside Steven Fletcher, and he proved to be a handful for Newcastle all match long. His biggest contribution came late in the game, when he laid off a pass to Fabio Borini for a beautiful game-winning goal that helped Sunderland post its first victory of the season.
Timmy Chandler picked a good week to deliver one of his better showings of the Bundesliga season. He set up Nuremberg’s equalizer with a sharp pass in Friday’s 1-1 draw with Stuttgart. Chandler’s strong outing came in Gertjan Verbeek’s debut as Nuremberg manager, and also came with U.S. national team assistant Andy Herzog in attendance, a good indicator that Chandler is close to returning to the national team for the first time since February.
Aron Johannsson didn’t find the net this weekend, but he did start and help AZ Alkmaar post a 2-0 victory over PEC Zwolle on Sunday. The win helped push AZ into a tie for first place in the Dutch Eredivisie with FC Twente and Ajax.
Tim Ream continues to start for Bolton as the Trotters' climb away from League Championship relegation continued with a 1-1 draw versus Ipswich Town on Saturday. The result marked Bolton’s fifth straight match without a loss, but Bolton lost a bit of ground in the standings.
A pair of anticipated appearances didn’t come off this weekend, with Oguchi Onyewu failing to make his debut for Queens Park Rangers, while Steve Cherundolo did not make his season debut for Hannover 96, which suffered a 4-1 loss to Hoffenheim. Fabian Johnson missed that match as well with the same ankle injury that sidelined him before the World Cup qualifiers earlier this month.
In Mexico, Paul Arriola and Joe Corona joined Edgar Castillo in the starting lineup for Club Tijuana, but they couldn’t help get the Xolos attack going in a 0-0 tie with Tigres on Friday. Herculez Gomez came off the bench, but couldn’t find a winner in a match that seriously dented Club Tijuana’s chance at the Liga MX playoffs, and could ultimately wind up costing Jorge Almiron his job as Tijuana coach.
Michael Orozco and DaMarcus Beasley both started for Puebla in a 3-1 loss to Club America that put a serious dent in the team’s Apertura playoff hopes.
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