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.

Report: China tempting TFC’s Giovinco with big offer

Toronto FC's Sebastian Giovinco celebrates his goal against the Philadelphia Union during the first half of an MLS soccer playoff match in Toronto, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)
Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP
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Could Sebastian Giovinco’s chances of another MVP award be diminishing?

It wouldn’t be on account of a lack of production, rather massive money coming his way from the Chinese Soccer League.

[ MORE: How will U.S. line up vs. Serbia? ]

Great, and right when we were daydreaming about how Toronto FC’s Italian attacker could run a revenge tour on the folks who somehow left him out of the MVP finalists last year.

Giovinco turns 30 on Thursday.

From The Toronto Sun’s Kurtis Larsson:

“The Chinese club seems to be very interested, but I don’t think it’ll be easy to take him away from Toronto,” Giovinco’s agent, Andrea D’Amico, told the broadcaster.

“We received an important offer from China and we’ll talk to Toronto to decide, along with Sebastian, what to do.”

Giovinco is with Toronto FC for preseason training camp, and both the club and player have shown no interest in moving on from the diminutive winger and 2015 MVP.

But if China comes calling with crazy money, say a $25-30 million transfer fee, shouldn’t TFC think twice? Any figure above $25 million would be more than the sum of the three biggest incoming transfer fees in MLS history (Miguel Almiron, Michael Bradley, Jermain Defoe).

AFCON wrap: Ivory Coast bounced, DR Congo wins Group C

Congo's soccer players celebrate after scoring a goal against Togo during the African Cup of Nations Group C soccer match between Congo and Togo at the Stade de Port-Gentil, Gabon, Tuesday Jan. 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
AP Photo/Sunday Alamba
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Down went another knockout round mainstay from the Africa Cup of Nations, as the Ivory Coast failed to capture one of the top two spots in Group C.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Morocco 1-0 Ivory Coast

Needing a win to move on, the Ivory Coast fell in its final group match. Rachid Alioui scored a 64th minute goal that meant the Ivory Coast needed two to advance to the quarterfinals. The goals didn’t come, and Morocco will face the Group D winner next.

Togo 1-3 DR Congo

Junior Kabananga, Paul-Jose M’Poku, and Ndombe Mubele scored as the Leopards finished the group stage with an unbeaten record of 2-1. DR Congo will face the runner-up of Group D in the quarterfinals.

Wednesday’s matches

Ghana is through with six points, while Uganda is out. Egypt will go through with a result against Ghana, while Mali needs a win and an Egypt loss to get to tiebreakers.

Egypt vs. Ghana — 2 p.m. ET
Uganda vs. Mali — 2 p.m. ET

Alex Ferguson praises Mourinho as Man Utd boss

MADRID, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 13:  Head Coach Jose Mourinho of Real Madrid and Manager Sir Alex Ferguson of Manchester United look on during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Real Madrid and Manchester United at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on February 13, 2013 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
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Four years ago, Alex Ferguson stepped down as Manchester United manager with a fitting finish as Premier League champion.

The legendary manager has since watched hand-picked successor David Moyes struggle for a season before Louis Van Gaal hit similar managerial speed bumps over campaigns.

Now Jose Mourinho is in charge of Manchester United, and Ferguson is… pretty happy with the guy.

[ MORE: Premier League Player Power Rankings ]

Mourinho has United in sixth place, four points out of fourth and 14 back of pack leaders Chelsea. Ferguson sees a few too many draws in the bunch, but says the side is really coming along.

From the BBC:

“You can see he has got to grips with the club,” he said. “The team is playing really well and he has been very unlucky. He has had six 1-1 draws and in every game he has battered the opposition.

“If they hadn’t had all these draws, they would be there challenging Chelsea. That is the unfortunate part but he is going to have to live with that.”

Ferguson also spoke about new club record scorer Wayne Rooney and how Mourinho has settled down on the touchline, a feature he thinks has filtered down to the players onto the field.

One week left: Transfer needs for each Premier League team

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 28:  Virgil van Dijk of Southampton celebrates as he scores their first goal during the Premier League match between Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur at St Mary's Stadium on December 28, 2016 in Southampton, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
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This time next week the January transfer window will be set to close.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live

The next seven days could see plenty of teams scrambling around frantically to sign new players, but so far it has been a quiet month across the Premier League in terms of transfers.

A new trend? The calm before the storm? However it ends up, here’s a look at what each PL team needs in the final week of the window.


Arsenal: None – Yep, they really need nothing. With long-term absentees Per Mertesacker and Danny Welbeck returning, Arsene Wenger looks set. It will be a quiet week for Arsenal. Well, expect for the impending touchline ban for Wenger and Granit Xhaka potentially being in all kinds of trouble.

Bournemouth: Striker, center back, goalkeeper – After losing Nathan Ake (his loan from Chelsea was terminated early) Eddie Howe has a large whole in his defense. Conceding eight goals in the last three games suggests that. Asmir Begovic could be arriving from Chelsea to boost the goalkeeping position significantly, while an experienced striker up top may help steer the Cherries away from any relegation danger.

Burnley: Center back, winger – If Ben Mee or Michael Keane go down injured, you worry about the drop off for the stingy Clarets. Also, another creative tricky winger would be a great pick up. Andre Gray and Sam Vokes can score in the PL but imagine what they could do with more chances presented to them?

Chelsea: Striker – Diego Costa is running the show and Michy Batshuayi is an able deputy but some experience would be great in position. It seems like Fernando Llorente will be remaining at Swansea City for now, so could Antonio Conte will have to get creative to bring in a short-term solution to help ease the pressure on Costa.

Crystal Palace: Center back, full back – Basically, as many defenders as they can get. Sam Allardyce hopes to sign Patrick Van Aanholt from Sunderland which shores up the left back area, but two new center backs wouldn’t go amiss.

Everton: Winger – Ronald Koeman has done his best early with Morgan Schneiderlin and Ademola Lookman arriving. That’s good but with Gerard Deulofeu leaving, perhaps a new winger could arrive, especially with Yannick Bolasie now a long-term absentee.

Hull City: Everywhere – Look, Hull has an honest squad of hardworking players but they need more quality. New manager Marco Silva has already brought in Evandro, Lazar MarkovicOmar ElabdellaouiOumar Niasse and signed Markus Henriksen permanently in January. One more striker and a winger would improve the Tigers’ chances of being successful in their battle against relegation.

Leicester City: Center backs – Wes Morgan and Robert Huth have been all over the place and Claudio Ranieri needs some PL quality defenders to steady the ship. Simply put, Leicester need to stop conceding goals early and new defenders may help with that.

Liverpool: None – Apart from maybe a new center back, the Reds are in very good shape and if anything they have too many options in midfield and up top. Long-term, getting a new left back will be a priority alongside a new center back.

Manchester City: Center backs – A long time need which probably won’t be fixed in January, Pep Guardiola needs to improve his defense. Virgil Van Dijk would be an absolutely perfect fit.

Manchester United: None – Like Arsenal and Liverpool, the main issue with United is that they have too many players around. Jose Mourinho likes a small squad. Don’t expect much action but they could do with a new center back in the summer. Along with Liverpool and City, another club van Dijk would be a great buy for…

Middlesbrough: Strikers – Aitor Karanka needs a couple of new strikers or any kind of attacking talent which can improve their chances of staying up. Traore, Ramirez and Negredo are dangerous when they’re on form but that’s not too often.

Southampton: Striker, center back – Saints continue to struggle to score goals but with Charlie Austin potentially returning in early March, they may stick with Shane Long and Jay Rodriguez. Mamadou Sakho could be an option at center back after Jose Fonte left for West Ham.

Stoke City: None – Stoke addressed their biggest need already by signing striker Saido Berahino. Finally they have a “fox in the box” who can finish the chances Shaqiri, Arnautovic and Co. create.

Sunderland: Everywhere – David Moyes needs big help. Help for Jermain Defoe up top is key so he needs some strikers. In defender they’ve added Joleon Lescott, but extra quality in central midfield would be helpful in the run-in. Khazri and Ndong will return from AFCON but injuries have not been kind for the Black Cats. Moyes doesn’t have much money to spend but Robbie Keane on a short-term deal sounds intriguing…

Swansea City: Striker – Fernando Llorente can’t do it all on his own, so the Swans need to add one more body up top. Adding Tom Carroll, Martin Olsson and Luciano Narsingh so far in January will prove to be shrewd business.

Tottenham Hotspur: Striker – Vincent Janssen just hasn’t worked the Premier League out. Pochettino needs some help for Harry Kane with a busy few months coming up in Europe, the PL and in the FA Cup. Defensive injuries are a concern but Spurs have sufficient backups.

Watford: Playmaker – Walter Mazzarri‘s side have plenty of numbers in midfield (they’ve already added Tom Cleverley) and defense, plus options up top with Deeney, Ighalo and Okaka, but they’re lacking quality in that key playmaking area. Having a classy No.10 behind Deeney and Okaka would be a joy to watch.

West Bromwich Albion: Striker – Like so many teams, West Brom could do with an experienced forward. They finally sold Berahino to Stoke so now there’s a spot open. Pulis will no doubt be sat by the phone with his baseball cap on as the deadline nears next Tuesday…

West Ham United: Playmaker – Depending on whether or not Dimitri Payet leaves for Marseille, West Ham must have another playmaker lined up to arrive if their star man does depart. Fonte was a key addition to bolster their backline. Hammers looked okay apart from the Payet saga.