Joe Corona is just one of a large band of U.S. players plying their trade for Tijuana in Liga MX.

Americans Abroad preview: Countrymen go head to head


With a full slate of games around the world this weekend, United States internationals will be busy trying to impress for their clubs.

(MORE: Americans Abroad – Full Archive)

Here are just a few of the match-ups on this weekend:


• Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan faces another tough test when Manchester City comes to town. With just two league wins this season bookending three losses, Guzan will need to be in top form if his team is to get anything out of this game.

• Stoke City takes on Norwich City on Sunday, and Geoff Cameron is set for another start for the Potters after playing 90 minutes in a 2-0 League Cup win over Tranmere Rovers at midweek. Brek Shea was nowhere to be found in that game, still recovering from a knee injury he suffered in preseason.

• Jozy Altidore’s Sunderland takes on Liverpool without a permanent manager in place. It’s been a frustrating season so far for Altidore, much as his last Premier League campaign was, but if he could get one goal to get him off the mark against a tough team such as Liverpool, his confidence would increase.

• In the Championship, Danny Williams and Jonathan Spector clash when Reading plays Birmingham City. Although the two likely won’t have any head-to-head confrontations, as Williams plays defensive midfield and Spector plays in the back, Birmingham would like to continue the momentum of its first league victory last weekend, while Reading has only lost once, on the opening day of the season.


• Schalke 04 and Jermaine Jones pay a visit to Fabian Johnson’s Hoffenheim on Saturday. One point separates the two clubs early in the season, and they’re both coming off German Cup wins and Bundesliga losses in their last two outings.


• Any time Aron Jóhannsson plays, he could score. That’s what makes PSV Eindhoven’s visit to his AZ Alkmaar exciting: on any given day, you get the feeling he could turn in another special performance. Jóhannsson scored a hat trick, including two goals in extra time, in a 4-1 cup win over Sparta Rotterdam on Wednesday.


• Quietly, Terrence Boyd has scored five goals in six appearances for Rapid Vienna this season, including one in the 17th minute of its last league game, Sept. 22 against Ried. Vienna takes on Wolfsberger AC on Saturday, which has lost its last two games and given up 21 goals in nine league matches so far.


• The most Americans on the field in any foreign match this weekend could easily be when Puebla hosts Club Tijuana on Sunday — when DaMarcus Beasley and Michael Orozco host Edgar Castillo, Greg Garza, Joe Corona, Herculez Gómez and Paul Arriola. Perhaps even better, the match is televised in the United States at 12:50 p.m. ET on ESPN Deportes.

“Overweight” Costa comes to Mourinho’s defense

Diego Costa, Chelsea FC
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Diego Costa says he and his Chelsea teammates are to blame for Chelsea’s horrid start to the 2015-16 Premier League season.

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Speaking Thursday, during a bit of downtime over the current international break (Costa was left out of Vicente del Bosque’s squad for Spain’s final two EURO 2016 qualifiers this week), Costa placed the majority of blame at the feet of the entire team, but went on to most harshly critique himself for coming into the season unfocused and “overweight.”

Costa, on his lack of fitness and form to begin the season — quotes from the Guardian:

“We know we’re not in the form we were supposed to be at the beginning of the season. We need to blame the players because we came back from holiday very confident, thinking we could go back into how it was last season, and then realized the team was already in a bad situation.

“I’m going to be very honest: maybe a few weeks ago, five or six weeks ago, I was not on top of my game. At least physically. We talk within the players and we know that, maybe at the beginning, we were not 100 percent as we were supposed to be when we got here. I got injured at the end of last season and then I went on holiday. Maybe I got out of my diet and, when I came back, I was not the way I was supposed to be. I was a little bit overweight. That affected my game. You can be selfish and blame it on the manager but I’m not going to do that. I’m responsible 100%, and so are the other guys.

Given that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said on Thursday he doesn’t quite know what’s wrong with the defending Premier League champions, hearing someone — anyone — speak up and explain the club’s worst start to a season in 37 years will surely be a welcome sound to any Blues supporter’s ears.

[ MORE: Liverpool appoint Klopp as manager | Allardyce to Sunderland? ]

Costa, who is eligible to return from suspension next weekend when Aston Villa visit Stamford Bridge, has scored just one goal in league play this season (six appearances) after scoring 20 in 26 games last season.

Sam Allardyce to open talks with Sunderland

Sam Allardyce, West Ham United FC
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Now that Liverpool have selected and named their new manager, it appears Sunderland are finally ready to move forward with their own managerial search. (That’s clearly a joke, because it implies Liverpool and Sunderland ever duke it out for the same managerial candidate.)

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Anyway, the Black Cats will have to hire someone to replace the recently-departed Dick Advocaat at some point. We all knew that, despite the fact he’s probably earned a shot at that level, Bob Bradley was never really going to be considered for the job. With that in mind, if you’re not going to endear yourself to the entire United States of America with this hire, you might as well go for the best unemployed manager who’ll actually consider your approach.

That’s what Sunderland chairman Ellis Short appears to have done, as it was reported Thursday that despite an initial reluctance from Sam Allardyce — let’s be honest, he actually was holding out hope for the Liverpool job — the 60-year-old most recently in charge of West Ham United was willing and ready to enter into negotiations with the northeastern club.

One of the major sticking points during Sunderland’s courting of Allardyce is expected to be his demand for autonomy in the transfer market as well as a sizable transfer budget to sign his own players during the January window.

[ MORE: Advocaat: Sunderland squad too thin, chairman to blame ]

Allardyce seems like the no. 1 guy you’d like to bring in to steady a capsized ship — cough Sunderland cough — in any situation. Not only does he have a successful track record in the Premier League, but he’s the kind of no-nonsense leader a club like Sunderland so desperately needs as they find themselves in yet another relegation battle just eight games into the new season.

Short hopes to have Allardyce signed, sealed and delivered when the Premier League returns to action next weekend. In that event, Allardyce’s first game in charge of Sunderland would be a trip to West Bromwich Albion. His first home fixture? Home to Tyne-Wear derby rivals Newcastle United, a club whose boisterous fanbase still holds a great deal of disdain for Big Sam. Sometimes the football gods really are looking out for us.