Welcome to the first proper edition of Americans Abroad, where we’ll recap the week that was for Yank players on non-Yank pitches. If you’re looking for those playing outside of England, visit Part II of this week’s series.
Oguchi Onyewu has decided not to test the Major League Soccer waters. The now-former QPR back, who played so little at Loftus Road, will join Sheffield Wednesday in an attempt to help save the Owls spot in the Championship. Wednesday are four points out of the relegation zone, but haven’t lost a match since Dec. 21 and recently destroyed rivals Leeds United 6-0 on the road.
Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore squared off in the Premier League, with Altidore’s Sunderland side boasting a 4-1 win at Craven Cottage. Dempsey played 79 minutes before being subbed off for Darren Bent, while Altidore came on for the game’s final 25 minutes and registered an assist. It was his first point since scoring against Chelsea on Dec. 4.
Geoff Cameron’s evening was a memorable one as Stoke lost a 5-3 thriller against Liverpool. Can’t exactly laud a player when his team allows five goals, but Cameron has been very good for the Potters. He’s played all 90 minutes in 20 PL matches, sitting out just one contest.
Two weeks after dazzling in his loan debut for Barnsley, Brek Shea is still waiting for his second match as a Red. That’s no fault of his own, as Barnsley’s schedule had a lapse until they face Blackpool on Jan. 18
Tim Howard kept a clean sheet at Goodison Park against Norwich City and, for what it’s worth, has provided the second-most points at goalkeeper in PL fantasy. Brad Guzan allowed two goals in a 2-1 loss to Arsenal.
Eric Lichaj missed Nottingham Forest’s draw with Bolton due to injury, while Tim Ream played all 90 in the back for the Wanderers.
The Juan Agudelo move to Stoke City is on… though MLS is reporting that he’ll go on loan first. Standard Liege, FC Twente and Valencia are the names whispered as destinations.
Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal has declared “ugly” Atletico Madrid unworthy finalists in the UEFA Champions League.
Bayern was eliminated in the Champions League semifinal by Atleti on Tuesday, with Diego Simeone’s Spanish side advancing on away goals.
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s UCL coverage ]
However, Vidal believed Bayern were the better team in the second leg, saying Atletico played “ugly football” to get through.
Today ugly football – Atletico – played against the best football in the world. The only time they saw the ball was for the goal.
They are going to be dreaming about us right up to the final. They did not have the ball, they took on the best team in the world, they took their chances and got to the final.
The best does not always win in football, like today. They are not deserved finalists.
Bayern Munich controlled more than 70-percent of possession and had 33 shots compared to Atletico’s nine, but those stats mean little as Antoine Griezmann’s away goal was enough to send Atleti to the final.
[ MORE: Former England striker Joe Cole headed to NASL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies ]
Atletico may not play the most attractive football, but after eliminating Barcelona and Bayern Munich in consecutive legs, it’s hard to argue anyone deserves this more than Simeone’s men.
The second leg of the Europa League semifinals kick off tomorrow, with two La Liga sides looking to make it an all-Spanish final.
[ MORE: Premier League Playback ]
Villarreal holds a 1-0 lead over Liverpool, while Sevilla scored two away goals in their 2-2 draw at Shakhtar Donetsk.
Liverpool vs. Villarreal – 3:05 p.m. ET
Villarreal won first leg 1-0
Adrian Lopez’s late winner in the first leg has given Villarreal a slight lead, while the Spanish side did well not to concede an away goal. However, Liverpool have overcome deficits at Anfield before, including their memorable 4-3 victory over Borussia Dortmund in the quarterfinals. Emre Can is back fit for the Reds, as manager Jurgen Klopp will hope his fellow German can help the team to a cup final in his first year in charge.
[ RELATED: Liverpool preparing for another big Thursday night at Anfield ]
Sevilla vs. Shakhtar Donetsk – 3:05 p.m. ET
First leg ended 2-2 draw
Sevilla are looking to become the first team to win three consecutive Europa League titles as the two-time defending champions face off against Shakhtar Donetsk. Sevilla are in the driver’s seat after scoring two away goals in Ukraine, and will feel confident of advancing to the final with a great home record at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.
In the latest Men in Blazers podcast, Rog and Davo celebrate Leicester City’s improbable Premier League title with Leicester’s own Arlo White.
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LISBON, Portugal (AP) Portuguese and European police say they have broken up a cell of an important Russian mafia group that allegedly laundered money through European football clubs.
Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, said in a statement Wednesday the group identified EU football clubs in financial distress and infiltrated them with benefactors who brought much-needed cash.
[ MORE: Man City bounced from UCL ]
Once they were in control, the mobsters allegedly laundered millions of euros (dollars) through player transfers, TV rights deals and betting.
Portuguese and European police on Tuesday raided third-division Portuguese club Uniao de Leiria and arrested three key members of the Russian gang. Three other Portuguese clubs’ premises were searched.
Europol said the operation helped identify serious crimes in Austria, Germany, and the United Kingdom, though it gave no details.