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Americans Abroad: Looking at U.S.-rostered players’ weekends

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Leagues around the world outside the United States saw a scoring drought among American players, although plenty of them saw playing time. A fringe player for Jürgen Klinsmann’s squad also saw red for his club team.

(MORE: Americans Abroad — full archive)

Let’s take a look at how each of the 12 foreign-based players called into the U.S. camp for the final two World Cup qualifiers fared, as well as a few others:

U.S.-ROSTERED AMERICANS ABROAD FOR JAMAICA AND PANAMA

• Jozy Altidore: Started and played 90 minutes for Sunderland in 2-1 loss to Manchester United. Didn’t look out of place against world-class center back Nemanja Vidić.

• DaMarcus Beasley: Started and played 90 minutes for Puebla in 3-1 loss to León.

• Alejandro Bedoya: Heading into the weekend, Bedoya looked likely to start on the left wing for Nantes against Evian TG (3-0 win), but an illness left him indisposed at the last minute. He has not been replaced on or removed from the U.S. roster.

• Terrence Boyd: Started and played 90 minutes for Rapid Vienna in 0-0 draw with Wiener Neustadt.

• Geoff Cameron: Started and played 90 minutes (at right back) for Stoke City in 1-0 loss to Fulham. With injuries to Michael Bradley and Fabian Johnson, and Brad Evans recovering from a recent knock, Cameron could start at right back or central midfield for the U.S.

• Edgar Castillo: Started and played 90 minutes for Club Tijuana in 1-0 win over Querétaro. (Hérculez Gómez came off the bench in the game, and Joe Corona was an unused substitute. Neither of them were called into camp for the qualifiers.)

• Mix Diskerud: Started and played 68 minutes for Rosenborg in 0-0 draw with Hønefoss. (American goalkeeper Steve Clark earned the shutout for Diskerud’s opponent)

• Brad Guzan: Started and played 90 minutes for Aston Villa in 0-0 draw with Hull City. It was Guzan’s second shutout of the Premier League season, after defeating Norwich City 1-0 on Sept. 21.

• Tim Howard: Started and played 90 minutes for Everton in 3-1 loss to Manchester City. He was perhaps harshly charged with an own goal in the 69th minute when he touched Sergio Agüero’s penalty onto the right post, only to have it rebound and hit him in the head before crossing the line.

Howard also picked up a yellow card for dissent as he protested the original penalty call.

• Aron Jóhannsson: Started and played 66 minutes for AZ Alkmaar in 2-1 loss to Groningen.

• Jermaine Jones: Unused substitute for Schalke in 4-1 win over Augsburg. (Michael Parkhurst did not suit up for Augsburg.) Despite rumors of a knee injury, Jones is in the U.S. squad and is expected to reprise his role in central midfield, especially with Bradley out injured still.

• Sacha Klještan: Started and played 71 minutes for Anderlecht in 1-0 loss to Kortrijk.

OTHERS

• José Torres: It wasn’t a great day for Torres for Tigres UANL in Liga MX, as he received two yellow cards within seven minutes, one on either side of halftime, in a 2-1 loss to Toluca. Despite going down a man and already being down a goal, Tigres equalized after Torres was sent off, only to give up the game-winning goal in the 81st minute.

• Shawn Parker: The 20-year-old German-American midfielder made just his second appearance of the season for Mainz, coming on in the 66th minute of a 2-2 draw with Hoffenheim. Mainz was down 2-0 at halftime but scored twice in the final 10 minutes, including an equalizer in the second minute of stoppage time, to tie it.

• Timmy Chandler: The estranged right back started and played every painful minute for Nürnberg in a 5-0 loss to Hamburg.

• Eric Lichaj: Another option at right back for the U.S., Lichaj started and played 90 minutes for Nottingham Forest in a 3-1 win against Brighton and Hove Albion, picking up a yellow card in the 38th minute.

Seven unheralded stars of this Premier League season

during the Barclays Premier League match between A.F.C. Bournemouth and Tottenham Hotspur at Vitality Stadium on October 25, 2015 in Bournemouth, England.
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Look, it’s been a crazy year in the Premier League. Leicester City is top by five points, Chelsea is a bottom-half side, and not one of the league’s top three scorers hails from a team in last season’s Top Four.

So it follows that among the league’s other statistical leaders — advanced and traditional — are some surprisingly shining stars.

[ MORE: West Ham 3-2 Liverpool | Coutinho’s slick free kick ]

Or at least they aren’t mentioned a ton. We plan to rectify that here. By no means do we claim these statistical leaders without fault this season, but hats off to the good they’ve done (or, in some cases, the pain they’ve felt).

Most saves in a starring role

You wouldn’t know it from the goal totals these past few weeks, but Stoke City’s Jack Butland has been playing otherworldly between the sticks. His 87 saves lead the Premier League, and the Potters would be in the thick of a relegation battle if he hadn’t shone as brightly.

Ironman

Eleven players have played every minute of their side’s Premier League campaign this season (a 12th, Gareth Barry, has played all but one). Four of those 11 are goalkeepers, and six more are defenders. The only midfielder? Bournemouth’s South African standout Andrew Surman (above).

Top thief, too

Surman is also the league leader in interceptions with 92. The next seven players on the list, headed by Chris Smalling, are all defenders.

The most under-appreciated of the underdogs

Kante (Mark Thompson / Getty Images)

Leicester City has been fantastic, and people are quick to name Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy as big parts of the table-topping effort at King Power Stadium. Then, perhaps they’ll say something about goalkeeper Kaspar Schmeichel or defender Wes Morgan.

But how about the Premier League’s leader in tackles. Midfielder N'Golo Kante (right) has 115 tackles, 12 more than second-best Yohan Cabaye of Crystal Palace.

An all-expense paid journey to the massage parlor for…

Five players have been fouled more than 50 times this year, and you need to be around the ball a lot for that to happen. The four also-rans are Southampton’s Sadio Mane, Swansea City’s Andre Ayew, Everton’s Ross Barkley and Mahrez, but the man who deserved to skip to the head of the ice bath line is from Crystal Palace: Wilfried Zaha has been fouled 59 times. And that’s the amount of times the foulers were caught in the act.

Let Newcastle United’s captain climb in second, though; Fabricio Coloccini‘s 47 blocked shots are eight more than runners-up Neil Taylor (Swans) and Christian Fuchs (Leicester).

A man possessed

He hasn’t been heralded like a year ago, and most witnesses would tell you the midfielder’s been playing much worse. No, touches don’t equal success, but Cesc Fabregas‘ 2,027 credited touches are 74 more than the next player despite the fact that he’s the only player in the top four to have started less than 25 matches. He’s also completed 83 more passes than the closest competitor (Surman).

All-around stars

Advanced stats site Squawka uses an algorithm to generate statistics on who just might be the most complete player in the Premier League.

It’s certainly not foolproof, but the best player per-90 minutes would likely surprise you: Mousa Dembele of Spurs (Minimum 15 matches).

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As for who’s produced the most when numbers are averaged out over the entire game, one man rises to the top: Ross Barkley.

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Oft-targeted in the Premier League, Carvalho extends deal at Lisbon

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William Carvalho has been running through the rumor mill for ages, and Sporting Lisbon has made sure they’ll get their due if he ever stops somewhere else.

The Angola-born Portuguese defensive midfielder with 15 caps has extended his contract with Sporting through 2020, a date that carries him through his 28th birthday.

[ MORE: West Ham 3-2 Liverpool | Coutinho’s slick free kick ]

Carvalho is 23 now, and has been linked with loads of big name clubs from Manchester United to Chelsea, Arsenal to PSG.

His new buyout clause is said to be as high as $53 million, and Carvalho hopes his commitment calms his supporters.

“Sportinguistas, I say to you that I am very happy with the deal which I signed up to 2020 and that you will have total effort on my part to be champions.”

Sporting is tied with Benfica atop the Portuguese table, second on goal differential. The club leads third-place Porto by six points, and is still alive in the Europa League. Bayer Leverkusen is up next.

Klinsmann hints at Euro-heavy roster for World Cup qualifiers

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 08:  Danny Williams #14 of the United States looks on before an international friendly against Brazil at Gillette Stadium on September 8, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)
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If your favorite Major League Soccer players don’t make the cut for Jurgen Klinsmann’s next roster, don’t think you won’t see them in the red, white and blue this summer.

[ JPW: What’s the best XI for USMNT’s World Cup qualifiers? ]

Perhaps it’ll be different for the players who were a part of January camp — stars Lee Nguyen and Steve Birnbaum chief among them — but Klinsmann says the late start of the MLS season can affect fitness for the critical qualifiers home and away to Guatemala.

That means there’s a better chance to see in-form Championship midfielder Danny Williams (above) or Pachuca’s Omar Gonzalez then, say, Orlando City’s Brek Shea or Real Salt Lake’s Kyle Beckerman.

From USSoccer.com:

“We are basically looking all over the place. We monitor all the players in Europe. We monitor all the players in Mexico, and obviously we can’t wait until MLS starts as well. It’s really kind of crucial that we see everybody getting in the best shape possible, everybody getting into a rhythm and making statements.

“Then you say, ‘Is the roster you see at the end of March the same one as Copa America?’ Probably not. The end of March comes early for MLS players. The European players are in the full swing, and also Mexican players because they started already a month ago with Liga MX. So we’ll be monitoring everyone.”

We’ve already covered the obstacle that is the CONCACAF-CONMEBOL Olympic qualifying playoff occurring at the same time as the Guatemala matches, but this is still good news for players in England, Germany and other European locales seeking caps in March.

Klopp on struggling Benteke: “He wants to score and we need him to score”

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 09:  Christian Benteke of Liverpool reacts as he foiled by goalkeeper Darren Randolph of West Ham United during the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round Replay match between West Ham United and Liverpool at Boleyn Ground on February 9, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
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Jurgen Klopp had his appendix removed this weekend, but it’s doubtful he’s feeling as sore as his big Belgian striker.

Christian Benteke had the opportunity to put himself in the good graces of Liverpool fans with a number of decent chances in Tuesday’s FA Cup loss to West Ham, but couldn’t get the job done.

[ MORE: Match recap | Watch Coutinho’s slick free kick ]

In one case, Benteke put himself in a prime spot only to lash his shot wide of the post. Instead, he’s now at 11 appearances without a goal (despite ripping nine shots against the Irons).

From the BBC:

“I don’t believe in the easy goal. He has to carry on like this. It’s not the nicest moment in his career but he has to work hard. He wants to score and we need him to score. We will work on it in the days, weeks and months.”

Klopp maintained that Liverpool was “the better team” on the night — counterpart Slaven Bilic disagreed — despite conceding a pair of very similar looking goals.

The game could’ve avoided extra time through Benteke’s boots and body, but he couldn’t find his finish again.

The 25-year-old has seen his goal production drop by nearly half since joining from Aston Villa in the summer, and it’s sure to return… just maybe not under Klopp.