Terrence Boyd, Benjamin Luethi

Americans Abroad Review: Four Yanks score as Kljestan catches fire, Boyd’s left hammers

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Due to the FA Cup weekend and a handful of injuries to the Yanks playing overseas and South of the border, there weren’t as many chances to watch Americans do their thing this weekend.

The goals per appearance rate was pretty high, however, as four Americans danced on scoresheets in the Netherlands, Belgium, England and Austria.

Aron Johannsson continued to give Eredivisie defenses nightmares of the darkest variety, as he scored his 22nd goal across all competitions for AZ Alkmaar in a 1-1 draw against FC Utrecht. On-loan Juan Agudelo played 74 minutes for Utrecht and was unable to manager a shot on frame. Arguments against a healthy Johannsson heading to Brazil seem futile.

Sacha Kljestan was the second American to score overseas this weekend, as his headed goal lead Anderlecht past Mons at home by a 2-0 score. He later added an assist to complete his involvement on all Purple & White goals. Check both out here:

There were two other goal scorers for America this weekend, as Danny Williams opened the scoring for Reading with a free header in their 3-1 win over QPR and Terrence Boyd scored on his return for Austria’s Rapid Wien. Boyd ripped a left-footer off in traffic just inside the 18 for his 13th of the year, but it turned out to be a consolation tally in a 2-1 loss.

Jozy Altidore got the day off in Sunderland’s 1-0 win in the fifth round of the FA Cup, and wasn’t even stressed with an appearance on the bench. Tim Howard was on the bench for Everton’s 3-1 win over Swansea and was not needed.

Fabian Johnson played all 90 minutes at right back for Hoffenheim, as he returned from injury to help his club to a 4-1 win over Stuttgart. The usual left back opened the eyes of many of our readers who followed Richard Farley’s lead in wondering, “Could Johnson be the US left back for the World Cup?”

JPW laid out Freddy Adu’s trial at Blackpool and his hopes of re-entering Jurgen Klinsmann’s USMNT plans. Jermaine Jones is a little bit closer to making his on-loan debut for Besiktas, as he continues to heal from a groin injury.

In France, Ale Bedoya played 90 minutes for Nantes in a scoreless draw at Nice.

MLSSoccer.com provided a solid recap of the Yanks playing in Liga MX this weekend, including DaMarcus Beasley playing further up the field and some kind words for Michael Orozco Fiscal.

West Ham extend Payet’s contract in “enormous show of faith”

West Ham’s Dimitri Payet celebrates after scoring while soap bubbles are blown during the English Premier League soccer match between West Ham and Newcastle at Boleyn Ground in London, Monday, Sept. 14, 2015.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
AP Photo/Frank Augstein
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West Ham United hope Dimitri Payet is going absolutely nowhere after the club announced on Thursday the 28-year-old Frenchman has signed a contract extension through the summer of 2021.

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Payet’s current contract was scheduled to keep him at the Premier League club through the summer of 2020, but a series of standout performances (6 goals, 4 assists so far this season, mostly during the season’s opening three months) and rumors of interest from “bigger” clubs meant tacking on another year — and plenty more cash — was the best way to keep Payet in east London for the foreseeable future. The club confirmed earlier this week that negotiations over an extension were underway.

“He’s the best player I’ve signed in 25 years,” said West Ham co-owner David Sullivan. “He’s a [$43 million] player. He’s a supreme footballer. He makes every player in our side play better. On his day, he’s world class, he’s unstoppable.”

Payet, who’s been at West Ham just eight months after signing last summer, could still depart in the summer should he finish the current season strong and/or show up and show out at the European Championship, which kicks off in June. In that event, West Ham would now bag a much heftier transfer fee than they would have done prior to the extension.

VIDEO: Dele Alli’s magnificent juggling goal recreated in hand-drawn crayon

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Remember that Dele Alli goal? No, not that one… that one. Of course you remember it. How could you not?

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How often does a player receive the ball out of the air, flick it over his head, spin 180 degrees and hit an inch-perfect volley from 20 yards out to secure all three points for his team? The answer is, of course, not very often.

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Thus, a goal such as Alli’s stunning winner against Crystal Palace last month has been, and will continue to be, immortalized through numerous recreations in this Digital Age. Above is Alli’s goal recreated in hand-drawn crayon.

Watch Live: Guatemala vs. T&T; Canada vs. Guyana in Olympic qualifying

Canadian players wave to fans after a 2-1 loss to England in a quarterfinal of the Women's World Cup soccer tournament, Saturday, June 27, 2015, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)
Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP
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Group B is set to kick off Thursday night at the 2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship, as Canada, third-place finishers at the 2012 Olympics, begin their quest to qualify for this summer’s games in Rio de Janeiro.

Guyana versus Trinidad and Tobago is up first (6 p.m. ET) from BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Tex, followed by the Canadians, who will take on Guyana (8:30 p.m. ET) in the nightcap.

[ WATCH LIVE: Guatemala vs. T&T live online on NBC Sports Live Extra ]

[ WATCH LIVE: Canada vs. Guyana live on line on NBC Sports Live Extra ]

The U.S. women’s national began its Olympic qualifying campaign in impressive fashion on Wednesday with a 5-0 victory over Costa Rica, while Mexico jumped to the top of Group A with a 6-0 victory over Puerto Rico.

Sunderland terminate Adam Johnson’s contract after guilty pleas in sex case

Sunderland winger Adam Johnson arrives at Bradford Crown Court, England, Wednesday Feb. 10, 2016. Johnson has pleaded guilty in court to one count of sexual activity with a child and another of grooming. The 28-year-old Johnson, who has made 12 appearances for England, denies two charges of sexual activity with a girl under the age of 16. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP) UNITED KINGDOM OUT NO SALES NO ARCHIVE
Peter Byrne/PA via AP
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SUNDERLAND, England (AP) Sunderland has fired winger Adam Johnson after he pleaded guilty to grooming and sexual activity with a 15-year-old girl at the start of his trial.

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Johnson, who has played 12 times for England, continues to deny two further counts of sexual activity with a child.

Sunderland dismissed Johnson ahead of his trial resuming on Friday at Bradford Crown Court.

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In a statement, Sunderland announced Thursday that “in light of Adam Johnson’s guilty pleas, the club has today terminated his contract with immediate effect.”

The former Manchester City player joined Sunderland in 2012 for 10 million pounds (now about $14.5 million).