Americans Abroad Preview: European-based Americans back in action

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European-based Americans are back with their clubs following the 2-0 friendly loss to Ukraine.

With that in mind, let’s run down who is in action this weekend outside of the US, where Major League Soccer’s season is opening.

The Premier League has a variety of fixtures, with both league and FA Cup action in play this weekend.

Tim Howard and Everton have an early Cup date with Arsenal, a massive clash and a chance for Everton to deal Arsenal a second consecutive domestic blow after they fell to Geoff Cameron’s Stoke City in the league last weekend.

Cameron and the Black Cats are on the road this week, looking to follow up their shock upset over the Gunners with a result at Norwich City’s Carrow Road.

After being left out of the 18 altogether in their Capital One Cup final at Wembley, Jozy Altidore hopes to play a role in their FA Cup fixture at Hull City this weekend.

Brad Guzan’s Aston Villa are no longer in the Cup after being ousted by Sheffield United, but they also don’t have a Premier League fixture.  Their scheduled opponent for this week Manchester City is still in the competition, and therefore the bout was postponed.

Bolton’s Stuart Holden is back in the United States after suffering yet another knee injury just 23 minutes into his much-anticipated return, and will be out until tests can determine the extent of his new injury. Bolton travels to Leeds this weekend, and Tim Ream will continue to feature.

Brek Shea will look to put both his team’s disastrous performance and his own outburst behind him as Barnsley takes on promotion-hopefuls Nottingham Forest. Barnsley fell 5-0 to Huddersfield last weekend, and fan abuse caused Shea and a teammate to lash out after the match, which they later apologized for.

More Championship heads up:

  • 19-year-old Duane Holmes and his loan home Yeovil Town host Sheffield Wednesday and Oguchi Onyewu.
  • Birmingham City, with Will Packwood and Jonathan Spector at the back, host a downtrodden QPR following news that the London club faces massive debt totals.
  • Eric Lichaj will not feature on the Nottingham Forest teamsheet for at least a month following aggravation of a pelvic injury last weekend.

Aron Johannsson continues to light up the Eredivisie, and his club AZ Alkmaar 12th place SC Heracles Almelo a week after they picked apart RKC Waalwijk, with the American picking up a pair of assists.

Still just four points above the drop, FC Utrecht brings Juan Agudelo in tow to PSV Eindhoven.  He has not scored since Feburary 6th, and was benched last week against Twente.

Alejandro Bedoya hopes his club’s new 16-month transfer embargo won’t become a distraction, and they can get a result this weekend against last-place Ajaccio.

Rapid Vienna will hope Terrence Boyd can continue his scoring streak when they take on FC Wacker Triol. Boyd has two goals in three matches, and hopefully he’ll be back on track in his streaky season.

Sacha Kljestan returns to action with Anderlecht looking at an outside at catching Club Brugge in the Jupiler Pro League’s second slot.  They have two matches to do so, with OH Leuven first up this weekend.

Defoe walks out Bradley Lowery, scores in England win

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Jermain Defoe’s friendship with terminally-ill Bradley Lowery has been special to watch unfold, and the Sunderland striker brought his little buddy to Wembley today.

Then he notched a match-winner.

Lowery walked Defoe out onto the field in a replica England kit before Sunday’s World Cup qualifier against Lithuania, and then Defoe scored his 20th goal for country.

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It was his first since 2013, the last year Defoe was called up for the Three Lions.

Here’s the goal, which was followed by a second-half Jamie Vardy tally as England stayed atop Group F with a 2-0 win over Lithuania.

Two Russian soccer fans stabbed in Serbia

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BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) Two Russian fans have been hospitalized with serious injuries after being stabbed following a friendly soccer match between Red Star Belgrade and Lokomotiv Moscow.

Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said Sunday police were looking for the knife-wielding perpetrators who attacked a group of Lokomotiv fans in downtown Belgrade late Saturday.

Serbian media reports said the Russian fans were attacked by supporters of Red Star’s rival Partizan Belgrade.

[ MORE: Under-the-radar Premier League XI ]

The match, which Red Star won 2-1, was meant to promote Serbia’s traditional friendship with Russia.

Stefanovic says “nobody should think they could hurt the Serbian-Russian friendship” with such attacks.

Serbia has seen a surge of fan violence inside and outside stadiums. In 2009, a French football fan was fatally beaten in Belgrade.

VIDEO: Gerrard’s juggle and finish leads Liverpool legends past Real Madrid

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Scoring at Anfield doesn’t get old, especially when your name is Steven Gerrard.

The English midfielder was playing in a friendly match between Liverpool and Real Madrid “legends” on Sunday, when he delivered this tasty goal (and assists to Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler, and John Aldridge).

[ MORE: Under-the-radar Premier League XI ]

Gerrard redirects a cross over a lunging defender and into a place where he can lash a goal home to put the Reds up 4-0. He dedicated his Man of the Match performance to club legend Ronnie Moran, who died earlier this week.

Real’s comeback came up just short in a 4-3 final, with Fernando Morientes, Ruben de la Red, and Edwin Congo scoring for the visitors.

On a Sunday waiting for the international matches to begin, Gerrard supplies a nice highlight for the rest of us (Extended highlights free on Liverpool’s site).

Ozil bristles at talk of Arsenal selling him

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Mesut Ozil is on international break, and bristling at reports that Arsenal is going to sell him.

The midfielder’s absence from the lineup last week had plenty speculating on his future, even more than usual. His contract expires in 2018, and several reports claimed he’d join Alexis Sanchez as players destined for elsewhere.

[ MORE: Under-the-radar Premier League XI ]

Ozil was not called up by Germany, and has missed four of his last nine Premier League matches. Three of those were for illness, and he missed last week’s loss to West Brom with a hamstring injury.

From Metro:

“And you think Wenger tells the journalist before he tells me? Then I know him differently,” Ozil told German outlet Welt.

“I have a contract until 2018 in London and I feel very comfortable there. We’ll talk soon and then make a decision.”

Metro notes that Ozil also said he wants to win the Champions League, something that can only happen with Arsenal remaining in the Top Four. We suppose you could make snarky inferences from his “comfortable in London” phrasing, but we’ll leave it there.