Bolton Wanderers v Aston Villa - Premier League

What Aston Villa’s poor start means for Brad Guzan


Before we talk about Everton’s amazing start to the 2012-13 Premiership season, let’s talk about the other side of Saturday’s surprising result out of Villa Park.

Everton’s 3-1 win over Aston Villa tells us the Toffies’ opening win over Manchester United was no fluke – which you knew if you watched that match. Belgian international Marouane Fellaini looked terrific again, scoring his second goal in as many matches for the Goodison Park side.

But let’s drool all over David Moyes’ side another day.

For now, let’s talk about Shay Given. And specifically, about what another clunker from Aston Villa’s No. 1 will mean for we Yanks. Because, of course, we should always talk about what these things mean for we Yanks.

Brad Guzan (pictured) is the man in waiting around Villa Park goal. He’s also the presumed second man in U.S. goal, although Nick Rimando tends to get to more matches, somewhat as a matter of logistics.

Guzan, 27, toyed with the idea of moving away from Aston Villa this year. But management convinced him he would have a real chance to start for Villa, and that holding steady was the way to go.

Well here we are. Given looked shaky at best for Ireland at Euro 2012. Against that lesser stable backdrop we arrive at Saturday, when he was completely at fault on Everton’s second goal.

So … ?

Things are not going well for the Birmingham side. There’s noise about American owner Randy Lerner and the need for a little wallet opening and some quick, transfer window hocus pocus.

But the move manager Paul Lambert could make immediately, the one that might boost confidence and won’t cost a dime, is Guzan in goal for Given.

If it happens, the U.S. backstopping becomes that much stronger, because Guzan needs games at a high level.  Let’s watch close and see if it’s his time.

MLS Snapshot: Orlando City SC 2-1 Montreal Impact

Cyle Larin, Orlando City SC

The game in 100 words (or less): For weeks, it was a widely held belief that the Montreal Impact would snatch up the sixth and final playoff place in the Eastern Conference with little or no resistance from their opposition. As they went six games unbeaten (four wins), all looked to be setting up perfect for the club that fired Frank Klopas midseason, but there was another team in the race for sixth that kept winning themselves: Orlando City SC. On Saturday night, Montreal and Orlando City faced off at the Citrus, with the expansion Lions claiming their fourth-straight victory with a 2-1 triumph. Montreal now holds a one-point lead on Orlando in the race for sixth, and have two games in hand, but it’s no longer a foregone conclusion L’Impact will qualify for the playoffs no resistance whatsoever.

[ MORE: | Week 30 TOTW | POTW ]

Three moments that mattered

33′ — Bush’s mistake gifts Larin the opening goal — Larin did what your taught to do as a striker — “put it on frame, test the goalkeeper” — but in no universe does a shot so feeble have any business finding the back of the net. Evan Bush has been great this year. Hopefully (for Montreal’s sake), this howler doesn’t turn into the yips with the playoffs looming.

43′ — Hall’s “mistake” gifts Oduro an equalizer — Dominic Oduro equalized in the 43rd minute, when he took the ball out of the hands of Tally Hall and smashed it into the back of the net, but the goal should have been disallowed due to Hall having full control of the ball.

80′ — Hines hits the winner for Orlando — Seb Hines put the ball back into the mixer and just so happened to find the back of the net in the 80th minute. Sometimes that’s all it takes.

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Man of the match: Seb Hines

Goalscorers: Larin (33′), Oduro (43′), Hines (80′)

MLS Snapshot: NY Red Bulls 2-1 Columbus Crew SC

Bradley Wright-Phillips, New York Red Bulls
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The game in 100 words (or less): Two weeks in a row Columbus Crew SC have had a chance to go top of the Eastern Conference with a victory, and two weeks in a row Crew SC have failed to take a single point from massively important fixtures. Their latest defeat, a 2-1 humbling at the hands of the East-leading New York Red Bulls, started so well for Gregg Berhalter’s side, but was undone by a pair of costly, comedic defensive errors that allowed Lloyd Sam and Bradley Wright-Phillips (15th of the season) to erase an early deficit (Justin Meram) and win all three points. The result not only keeps the Red Bulls top of the East, but gives them a three- and four-point cushion with three and two games in hand on their nearest competitors., D.C. United and New England Revoltion respectively. For Crew SC, they’re four points back of the Red Bulls in fourth place, one point ahead of fifth-place Toronto FC, who have a game in hand.

[ MORE: | Week 30 TOTW | POTW ]

Three moments that mattered

9′ — Meram pokes it past Robles for an early lead — Meram “earned” his goal all the way back in midfield, when the Iraqi international’s mazy run took a routine turnover inside Crew SC’s defensive half and turned it into a dangerous counter-attacking opportunity. Harrison Afful overlapped and provided the cross for Meram to send home.

12′ — Sam capitalizes on multiple mistakes to equalize — Crew SC pass the ball out of the back. They don’t boot it forward to clear. It’s just what they do. Sometimes, that’ll bite you. When your goalkeeper and right back both have blunders clearing the ball 10 seconds apart, you probably deserve to concede an ugly, scrappy goal.

21′ — Wright-Phillips capitalizes on more defensive gaffes — See the above description for Red Bulls goal no. 1.

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Man of the match: Damien Perrinelle

Goalscorers: Meram (9′), Sam (12′), Wright-Phillips (21′)