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Liverpool look to close gap vs. Spurs


Americans Abroad roundup

A roundup of notable U.S. players in action in Europe over the past two weeks:


Premier League

Brad Friedel, Aston Villa: There's no stopping Aston Villa.

Villa beat Sunderland 2-1 on Saturday to make it 10 straight unbeaten in the Premier League, thereby cementing its spot in the top four. Friedel had to be sharp in goal and stopped Dean Whitehead in the first half when Sunderland already led 1-0. Friedel also played all 90 minutes the week before as Villa topped West Bromwich Albion 2-1 in an enjoyable Midlands derby.

Season: 27 games played (0 substitute appearances).

Tim Howard, Everton: Howard collected his sixth straight shutout on Jan. 10 as Everton blanked sagging Hull City 2-0 at Goodison Park. Like previous encounters against Sunderland and Middlesbrough, he was relatively untroubled.

If he makes it seven clean sheets in a row, the blue side of Liverpool will be suitably happy -- Everton visits Liverpool on Monday in what promises to be a hotly contested Merseyside derby. The next week, the two square off in the pick of the fourth-round F.A. Cup matches.

Already bereft of strikers, Everton's cause won't be helped by the absence of suspended forward Marouane Fellaini, Oguchi Onyewu's former teammate at Standard Liege.

Season: 25 (0)

Clint Dempsey, Fulham: Dempsey only made one appearance, thanks to a frozen pitch that caused the postponement of last week's home game against Blackburn. The midfielder, like most of his teammates, was anonymous in Sunday's 3-1 loss at West Ham that ended Fulham's nine-game unbeaten run in the league.

Season: 12 (7) -- 4 goals.

Brad Guzan, Aston Villa: Villa's firm No. 2 in goal, Guzan backed up Friedel against West Brom and Sunderland.

Season: 4 (0)

Jonathan Spector, West Ham: Most of the walking wounded are back at Upton Park, and that meant Spector couldn't get a spot on the bench against Newcastle and Fulham.

Season: 0 (1)


Jay DeMerit, Watford: Watford's new manager, Brendan Rodgers, hasn't changed the club's fortunes. Watford slumped to a 4-0 defeat against second-place Reading on Jan. 9 and a 2-0 loss to Sheffield United over the weekend, extending its winless streak in the league to five games. The Hornets, favorites for automatic promotion last season, are now only above the relegation zone on goal difference.

DeMerit and central defensive partner Adrian Mariappa, who clashed Saturday, are coming under increasing criticism, though Rodgers vows to stick with the duo.

There are "not two players who are more determined to get better,'' Rodgers said.

Season: 23 (1) -- 0

Marcus Hahnemann, Reading: The good news for Hahnemann is that he returned to training the second week of January after suffering a calf injury early last month.

"I'm not quite at full speed but that will come with confidence,'' Hahnemann said.

The keeper is expected to be fit by the end of the month, and that could mean a return against league leaders Wolves on Jan. 27. Then again, Aussie Adam Federici has done little wrong deputizing and Reading manager Steve Coppell might stick with him.

Season: 23 (0) -- 0

Bobby Convey, Reading: Convey didn't make the squad against Reading and in Saturday's 2-0 loss against resilient Swansea. According to his agent, a few clubs in Major League Soccer are interested in bringing the winger back to the U.S., the San Jose Earthquakes apparently included.

Season: 6 (3) -- 0

Eddie Johnson, Cardiff City (loan from Fulham): How about this dream scenario for Johnson -- scoring his first goal in English soccer against Arsenal in the F.A. Cup this weekend?

Johnson played the final seven minutes of Saturday's 1-1 tie at Birmingham that extended Cardiff's unbeaten streak to 10. The Bluebirds should have taken all three points, though, conceding the leveler in injury time.

The striker didn't get a chance to score a week earlier, with Cardiff's home game against Derby called off due to a frozen pitch.

Season: 5 (13) -- 0

Frankie Simek, Sheffield Wednesday: Simek resumed training after suffering a hamstring strain Dec. 9 against QPR. According to Wednesday, he could see first-team action by the end of the month.

Season: 2 (1) -- 0

League One

Jemal Johnson, MK Dons: The Dons lost their first game in six, blowing a two-goal lead in a 3-2 loss at Carlisle on Saturday that slightly dented their hopes of automatic promotion.

Johnson's cross set up Aaron Wilbraham for the opener, and the speedy winger set up Wilbraham again in a 1-1 tie against Colchester on Jan. 12.

The Dons, in second, lead Millwall by three points for the second and final automatic spot.

Season: 13 (9) -- 4

Spain, Primera Liga

Jozy Altidore, Villarreal: Altidore didn't make the squad against Valencia in an entertaining 3-3 draw Jan. 10 or the 2-0 win over Mallorca on Sunday, though the Yellow Submarine doesn't seem interested in loaning him out. Altidore said Villarreal rejected Everton's request to temporarily acquire him.

"I understand that they want me to succeed here, and I want to try and give back some of that faith that they've shown in me, rather than look elsewhere right now,'' he said.

Season: 3 (4) -- 1

Italy, Serie B

Danny Szetela, Brescia (loan from Racing Santander): In and out of the lineup since Nedo Sonetti took over as manager, the holding midfielder saw no action in Saturday's 4-0 win over Pisa. Brescia, three points behind top spot with a game in hand, had its fixture against Sassuolo called off a week earlier because of a frozen pitch.

Season: 7 (2) -- 1

Serie C1

Gabriel Ferrari, Perugia (loan from Sampdoria): Ferrari made his second start of the season and played all 90 minutes in Sunday's 0-0 draw against Cavese. On Jan. 11, the forward got six minutes of action in the second half.

Season: 2 (7) -- 0

Germany, Bundesliga

Season resumes Jan. 30

Landon Donovan, Bayern Munich:

Donovan is now officially on loan from MLS. He scored in his second exhibition game for Bayern, in a 3-2 win over Al-Wehda.

Steve Cherundolo, Hannover 96:

Season: 14 (1) -- 0

Michael Bradley, Borussia Moenchengladbach:

Season: 9 (2) -- 1

Bryan Arguez, Hertha Berlin:

Season: No appearances

Sal Zizzo, Hannover 96:

Season: 0 (3) -- 0

France, Ligue 1

Freddy Adu, Monaco (loan from Benfica): Despite impressing in a friendly against Juventus this month, Adu was left out of the squad Jan. 10 against Nantes and Sunday versus Caen. The waiting game continues.

Season: 1 (9) -- 0

Carlos Bocanegra, Rennes: Bocanegra continues to pile up the minutes for Rennes, which only suffered its second league defeat Sunday, a 1-0 reverse at Lille. He contested all 90 minutes at left back, just as he did in a 1-0 win against Grenoble on Jan. 10.

Rennes slipped five points behind domestic powerhouse Lyon.

Season: 22 (1) -- 0

Belgium, Jupiler League

Oguchi Onyewu, Standard Liege: Standard didn't look entirely convincing in its first game back since the winter break, edging relegation contenders Dender 3-2 at home Saturday. Onyewu, who appears to be staying in Belgium for the remainder of the campaign, got Dender on the board thanks to an own goal in the fifth minute.

Standard, chasing a second straight title, pulled within a point of first-place Anderlecht following the latter's surprising 2-1 loss at home to Cercle.

Season: 26 (1) – 3

Scotland, Premier League

DaMarcus Beasley, Rangers: As Rangers manager Walter Smith looks to cut costs, Beasley looks like a candidate to leave. He didn't make the squad yet again in wins over St. Johnstone and Falkirk.

While admitting he loves the club and Glasgow, the forward added: "If I'm not playing here, I should move on.''

Season: 4 (5) -- 0

Maurice Edu, Rangers: Edu was an unused substitute in Saturday's 3-1 victory against Falkirk.

Season: 2 (0)-0

Denmark, Superligaen

Season resumes in March

Danny Califf, FC Midtjylland:

Season: 16 games played, 0 goals.

Jeremiah White, Aarhus:

Season: 17 games played, 2 goals.

Benny Feilhaber, Aarhus: The international midfielder is nursing a knee injury.

Season: 1 game played, no goals.

Lee Nguyen, Randers: According to reports, Nguyen, a Vietnamese American, is set to sign with Vietnam's Hoang Anh Gia Lai.

Season: 12 games played, 3 goals.

Michael Parkhurst, Nordsjaelland:

Season: Signed in December, yet to make an appearance.

Marcus Tracy, Aalborg:

Season: Signed this month, yet to make an appearance.

Tally Hall, Esbjerg:

Season: 1 game played.

Sweden, Allsvenskan

Season starts in March. Stats from last season:

Charlie Davies, Hammarby:

Season: 25 (2) -- 14

Colin Burns, Ljungskile:

Season: 14 (1) -- 0

* Ljungskile relegated

Etchu Tabe, Ljungskile:

Season: 17 (2) -- 0

* Ljungskile relegated

Ryan Raybould, Gefle:

Season: 4 (0) -- 0

Ravi Ubha is a London-based freelance journalist covering Americans abroad for ESPNsoccernet. He also covers tennis for


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