Stoke City v Everton - Premier League

Americans Abroad: Cameron’s Stoke win again, Boyd on the scoresheet

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It has been a busy week for Americans playing across the globe so here, in our new series “Americans Abroad,” we break down the top performances by American players across the planet.

Across many countries from Eastern Europe to Central America, US soccer players are stamping their authority on the beautiful game.

(MORE: American Abroad Archive)

So it’s time to check on how they’ve been doing, with Liga MX, CCL action and the European leagues in full flow before the international break.

Let’s get to it.

ENGLAND

On Saturday it was a largely successful day for the American Abroad as Geoff Cameron’s Stoke City grabbed another victory.

Cameron was steady as a rock at right back and despite picking up a late yellow card, the Potters held on for a 1-0 win away to West Ham.

Tim Howard was barely tested as Everton drew 0-0 away at Cardiff City. The USMNT ‘keeper was called into action early on to deal with some vicious inswinging corners from the Bluebirds but only had one save of note the entire game as he posted his second-straight shutout.

source: Reuters
Two shutouts in a row for Tim Howard and Everton.

In the Championship Danny Williams came on a sub for Reading in their 1-0 away win down in Somerset against Yeovil Town. Arriving in the 37th minute, Williams helped to stem the home sides lively attack as the Royals grabbed all three points to move into the top 10.

Elsewhere in England’s second-tier, Nottingham Forest right back Eric Lichaj was cautioned as his side lost 2-1 to Wigan Atheltic despite going ahead early on. The Midlands club threatened throughout and Lichaj put in some great deliveries from the right flank.

Also tasting defeat was US central defender Zak Whitbread, as Leicester City lost 2-1 at Charlton. It was the Foxes’ first defeat of the season. Rounding up the action in England, Jonahan Spector’s Birmingham City drew 1-1 as the American played in central midfield against Ipswich Town but the Blues are still languishing towards the foot of the table in 19th spot.

EUROPE

Over the weekend plenty of Americans were in action on the European continent before they prepare to join up with Jurgen Klinsmann’s national team squad for their crucial World Cup qualifiers.

John Brooks is one of those but it wasn’t a happy outing for the young defender as Hertha Berlin lost their unbeaten record in the Bundesliga after falling 2-0 at Wolfsburg. Brooks didn’t have the best of games, giving the ball way cheaply in the first half and being involved in the penalty kick that led to the opener against the Capital club.

Elsewhere in Germany, USMNT midfielder Jermaine Jones only played the final 12 minutes as the Gelsenkirchen side beat Bayer Leverkusen 2-0. Jones helped create the second goal as he set up Jefferson Farfan to win a penalty. It was Schalke’s first league win of the season, they must be hoping for a better start to Champions League play later this month.

On Sunday the USA’s left sided star Fabian Johnson was involved in an ugly loss as Hoffenheim were turned over by Stuttgart 6-2 in the South West derby. It was Hoffenheim’s first defeat of the campaign as Johnson failed to mark his man at the back post for one of the goals against his side at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.

source: Getty Images
Three goals in four games so far for Sacha Kljestan in Belgium.

US midfielder Mix Diskerud played 82 minutes of Rosnborg’s 2-1 home win over Aalesund in the Norwegian Tippeligaen, the victory gave Mix’s team some breathing space at the top of the standings.

Another USMNT midfielder, Alejandro Bedoya, was in action across the border in France but his Nantes side drew 0-0 with Reims. As usual Bedoya put in a tireless display and whipped in some great deliveries that his Canaries teammates just couldn’t get on the end of.

On Sunday in Belgium Anderlecht midfielder Sacha Kljestan scored the opener but the Brussels club lost an incredible match 4-3 to Zulte-Waregem. The goal was the former Chivas USA attackers third in four league games as he’s certainly found his shooting boots this season. However his side now drop to fourth following the defeat.

A short skip across the border to Holland, Aron Johannsson came on as a second half sub for AZ Alkmaar in their 1-1 home draw with Vitesse. Johannsson was powerless to help stop a late equalizer.

Moving South and across the Alps to Austria, Johannsson’s fellow USMNT striker Terrence Boyd remained in good form as he scored again for Rapid Vienna in their 1-1 draw with Red Bull Salzburg. He stuck just before the hour as Europa League qualifiers Rapid haven’t won in four.

Further South to Italy and the heartbeat of the US national team, Michael Bradley, was only a late sub for As Roma who beat Hellas Verona 3-0. Two wins from two for the Capital club who are second in Serie A.

Finally on Sunday, there were several US players in action up in Scandinavia. Babajide Ogunbiyi’s Viborg side lost 4-1 to reigning Danish champions FC Copenhagen. In Norway goalkeeper Steve Clark made six saves Hønefoss equalized late to draw 1-1 at Tromsø and US youngster Ben Spencer made his debut for Molde who beat Vålerenga 4-0.

MEXICO, SOUTH AMERICA

Last Wednesday Freddy Adu finally started his first game in Brazil as Bahia drew 0-0 with Portuguesa to go through to the last 16 of the Copa Sudamericana. Adu was subbed out in the 70th minute after impressing Bahia’s supporters with a tireless midfield display however Adu didn’t feature in the league game between the two sides this weekend.

In CONCACAF Champions League action, Club Tijuana defeated El Salvador’s Firpo 1-0 as they moved close to securing a place in next years quarterfinals. American Greg Garza played the entire game at left wingback. The 21-year-old missed a great chance in the second half after being played in by fellow American Paul Arriola who had beat three players.

Another American was in action for Xolos as Joe Corona played the first hour in central midfield and looked tidy as usual.

source: Getty Images
Freddy Adu made his first start for Bahia in Brazil.

On Sunday Jose Torres put in a solid 84 minute shift and left the game as Tigres were beating in-form Veracruz 1-0. But in the second minute of stoppage time U.A.N.L let three points slip as the USMNT midfielder was left disappointed.

Elsewhere in Mexico last weekend, Club Tijuana’s America contingent lost 3-1 to Chiapas despite taking the lead. USMNT defender Edgar Castillo and American Arriola started the game for Xolos, with Castillo have two shots on goal from right back. American Garza came off the bench and Gold Cup winner Corona was left in the bench as Xolos tasted defeat.

On Sunday USMNT duo DaMarcus Beasley and Michael Orozco Fiscal started for Puebla in their 1-0 home win against Atlante. The bottom feeders outshout Puebla 14-9 but Beasley and Orozco Fiscal held the backline firm to record a shutout at the Estadio Cuauhtémoc. 

REST OF THE WORLD

Over in Israel Bryan Gerzicich played the full 90 minutes as Hapoel Tel Aviv lost 2-0 against early season frontrunners Hapoel Be’er Sheva. The Californian was booked in the 31st minute as the Capital club lost for the first time this season.

Atlanta United: From scratch to the pitch

ATLANTA, GA - JULY 07:  (L-R) MLS Atlanta owner Arthur Blank and former professional soccer player Darren Eales attend the MLS Atlanta Launch Event at SOHO on July 7, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for MLS Atlanta)
Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for MLS Atlanta
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Darren Eales needs to get himself some game time.

Atlanta United’s president hasn’t watched his side play a league match yet, and it’s a solid 17 months since he left Tottenham Hotspur to help Arthur Blank start his MLS expansion team.

Even training Eales a touch emotional.

[ MORE: High praise for Yedlin ]

“Last Thursday in practice, I was welling up to see the guys in Atlanta training tops with Tata coaching them,” Eales told PST earlier this month. “I’ve had over two years without any games. I hadn’t experienced the highs and lows of why we’re all in this game. Come the fifth of March, it’s going to be a quite an emotional time.”

Not just for Eales, but for an Atlanta market which has proven quite rabid for the sport. United has sold almost 30,000 season tickets, a record for an expansion team.

The excitement isn’t simply a matter of a shiny new toy for sports fans in Georgia. Eales, along with technical director Carlos Bocanegra and manager Tata Martino, have constructed what, at least on paper, could be a monster.

There’s the Designated Player trio of Miguel Almiron, Josef Martinez, and Hector Villalba, young guys Miles Robinson and Andrew Carleton, MLS mainstays Michael Parkhurst and Tyrone Mears, and Chilean veteran Carlos Carmona.

ATLANTA, GA - JULY 07:  Darren Eales speaks onstage during MLS Atlanta Launch Event at SOHO on July 7, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for MLS Atlanta)
(Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for MLS Atlanta)

None of those assets were there when Eales, 44, bought into owner Arthur Blank’s vision in September 2014. And that’s what gave the gig its allure.

[ MORE: Wenger treatment “unacceptable,” says Pep ]

“You talk about soccer being a global game, and it’s very rare you get a chance to start a whole new club from scratch,” Eales said. “To do it with an owner like Arthur Blank who is committed to the City of Atlanta, committed to the community, and committed to a winning team just made it an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”

Eales wasn’t a stranger to America, a former Ivy League Player of the Year from his playing days at Brown University. He later went home to England where he became a director at West Bromwich Albion en route to his executive job at White Hart Lane.

So, yes, the acumen is there. And Eales’ admiration for MLS is a lot higher than many American critics suspect.

“I dealt with MLS from the other side of the fence with Robbie Keane to LA, Jermain Defoe to Toronto, and Clint Dempsey to Seattle,” Eales said. “Fresh perspective when you come from the outside, you look at how teams have built their teams and you can look at it with a fresh pair of eyes.

“The one thing I was clear on from the start, was I felt MLS, globally outside of America, it almost gets more respect from other countries than it does in America. I’ve seen that with players like Simon Dawkins. When I was at Tottenham, we loaned him to San Jose, he developed as a player and we were able to sell him off to Derby. It’s a global league, the standard of football is getting better all the time. I really felt the time was right where you could try to get players in their prime and sell it to them as career development, not a dead end.”

Blank contacted Eales, and convinced him that Atlanta United wasn’t a vanity play. The soccer team wasn’t going to be the Atlanta Falcons’ “little brother”, but a major part of the community.

Plus, time was on their side.

[ MORE: UCL Tuesday preview ]

“Building a roster, putting in the academy, building a training ground, an affiliation with the Charleston Battery, all of these things can’t happen overnight,” Eales said. “There’s been a lot of thoughts and strategy that’s gone into building the roster.”

Not to mention time zones, travel, surfaces, calendar, salary cap, the popularity of other leagues… Eales wanted to find a technical director with both positive vision and MLS wisdom. Enter Carlos Bocanegra, the USMNT captain who had started and finished his playing career in MLS before performing well overseas with Fulham, Rangers, and Rennes.

“What I didn’t want to do was come in from the Premier League and say, ‘Everything European is the way we should do it and Americans don’t know anything about soccer.’ Clearly that’s not the case and I knew that.”

NYON, SWITZERLAND - AUGUST 06:  Tottenham Hotspur director of football administration Darren Eales (R) after the UEFA Champions League play-off draw on August 6, 2010 in Nyon, Switzerland. The play-offs are played over two legs on 17/18 and 24/25 August. The ten play-off winners will join the 22 automatic entrants in the UEFA Champions League group stage, the draw for which will be held in Monaco on 26 August 26, 2010. (Photo by Fabrice Coffrini/EuroFootball/Getty Images)
(Photo by Fabrice Coffrini/EuroFootball/Getty Images)

Eales said Bocanegra is a good friend in addition to the perfect man for the job. He added that both men didn’t take long to embrace the city, and that the Falcons’ run to the Super Bowl didn’t hurt sports fever in the Peach State.

Now Georgia will turn its attention to the red and black of Atlanta United, a team brimming with talent and experience. One of the early bets for Eales and Bocanegra was that it wouldn’t be about older big names. When asked about the successes of Sebastian Giovinco at Toronto and Nicolas Lodeiro in Seattle, Eales almost bristles at the thought that the moves inspired him. Young and fast was already entrenched in his model.

[ MORE: Clattenburg’s PL time not over ]

“It’s been a long time planning,” Eales said. “We were already going down this model. Lodeiro has been fantastic in Seattle and Giovinco is by far and away the best player in the league. He was that first one where someone was taken not over 30 and it showed, despite what the Italian national team manager said at the time, you could come here, play your game and get your career back on track.

“We felt we could go even further was to get those younger players. We’ve got Miguel at 22, Hector at 22, and Josef at 23. You’ll see increasingly now it will be a chance for us as a whole league to bring in top players and get bigger and better, year on year.”

While Eales has not had the fun of match day and won’t really have that experience until March 5’s visit from the Red Bulls, he’s had fun keeping an eye on his last two Premier League clubs and their top half success.

“I have to laugh because I still talk to a lot of my colleagues back at Tottenham and when they say ‘We’re doing well since you left’ I tell them it’s all about building the foundation,” Eales said.

“Chelsea have had a great season but Tottenham with the young squad they’ve got and the manager they’ve got in Mauricio Pochettino, they are going to be titlists in the near future. And West Brom, I love West Brom. It’s a great family club and it’s really exciting to see them solid in the top half of the table. It’s a testament to the guys, Tony Pulis and the team, how they built with a plan year on year to become a solid Premier League club. They have a strategy and they stuck to it.”

So, too, does Eales and United. The roster he’s assembled and his legendary manager combine to give the look of an instant playoff contender.

Yet Eales, like MLS, is going to have to see it. The difference is that United’s president already believes it. Bring on the chills.

“Killers in the box” – Guardiola prepares to face Monaco (video)

MONACO - NOVEMBER 22:  Radamel Falcao (L) the captain of Monaco leads his team onto the field during the UEFA Champions League Group E match between AS Monaco FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC  at Louis II Stadium on November 22, 2016 in Monaco, .  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images
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Pep Guardiola has a lot of admiration for the latest obstacle in Manchester City’s path to the UEFA Champions League final.

The club begins its Round of 16 on Tuesday with a visit from Monaco, and Guardiola will match wits with Leonardo Jardim.

[ MORE: UCL Tuesday preview ]

The Premier League boss loves the way Monaco plays, but doesn’t adore the idea of staring them down.

From ManCity.com:

“As a spectator it’s so nice to see them. I’m really impressed how good they are.

“Their fullbacks play like wingers, the wingers play like attacking midfielders. Their strikers are fighters, Falcao, Germain, they are killers in the box. Both holding midfielders are intelligent, physical, strong. They arrive to the box.

“A complete team. The most successful team in Europe in terms of scoring goals. It’s a tough draw.”

Center back Vincent Kompany is out for the home tie vs. Monaco, and Guardiola has not decided who will start between the sticks.

The manager also praised the hiring of Marcelo Bielsa at Lille, calling the veteran manager “the best in the world”.

Scouting report gives high praise for USMNT, Newcastle back Yedlin

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - JANUARY 07:  A detail of the neck tattoo of Newcastle player Deandre Yedlin during The Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Birmingham City and Newcastle United at St Andrews (stadium) on January 7, 2017 in Birmingham, England.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images
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You may remember Danny Higginbotham from his time as a defender at Sunderland, Stoke City, Derby County, and Southampton, but these days he makes his dough as an analyst.

You almost certainly remember USMNT right back and speed merchant DeAndre Yedlin, though perhaps not seeing him on your television has limited your intake on his progress since leaving Tottenham Hotspur for Newcastle United.

[ MORE: Wenger treatment “unacceptable,” says Pep ]

Yedlin’s been very decent for the Magpies, making 23 appearances while providing a goal and five assists. Higginbotham has been impressed, and devoted a good portion of his prematch notes on Newcastle-Aston Villa to the American.

From Sky Sports:

Yedlin plays almost as a right winger at times. He’s the one that gives the width on that side, and he has been a standout player in recent games.

He is so quick, so he can get back with his recovery runs, but it’s what he does with the ball as well. We see him controlling the whole of the right-hand side. He has been so key for Newcastle and he gives them such an attacking threat.

Newcastle will move back atop the Championship with a win over Aston Villa on Monday, and have a five-point lead on third-place Huddersfield Town in the race for an automatic promotion place. Brighton and Hove Albion is first, two points clear of the Magpies.

Report: Clattenburg returning to Premier League

WATFORD, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26:  Referee Mark Clattenburg during the Barclays Premier League match between Watford and Crystal Palace at Vicarage Road on December 26, 2016 in Watford, England.  (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)
Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images
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Four days later…

It has not been long since Mark Clattenburg last officiated a Premier League match, instead opting to take a job in Saudi Arabia.

Perhaps the move was a power play, because “Clatts” looks set to work his new job and return to his old stamping grounds for a minimum of four games.

The Sun’s Neil Ashton threw out this Tweet on Monday.

[ MORE: UCL Tuesday preview ]

All refs have detractors, but Clattenburg has a solid record in the PL and was awarded with spots officiating the finals of the UEFA Champions League, EURO 2016, and the FA Cup.

Maybe Riley and PGMOL didn’t expect Clattenburg to follow through with his threats to leave town, and it’s fair to presume he’s been rewarded handsomely.