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Americans Abroad Review: Howard and Cameron keep it clean

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It was offense in the Netherlands, defense in England for Americans in the headlines abroad this week.

Juan Agudelo hasn’t played much for the US under Jurgen Klinsmann, especially not lately, but perhaps a second goal for FC Utrecht will stir the emotions of the USMNT boss. Agudelo latched onto a cross and nodded home in Utrecht’s 2-1 win over the weekend, and video of the goal is here.

Aron Johannsson also produced offense in the Dutch league, though his earned-penalty for AZ Alkmaar was converted by a teammate give Johannsson’s recent struggles from the spot. He has one goal in his last nine games after a setting a remarkable pace with 16 goals through mid-March. AZ drew NEC Breda 1-1.

Anderlecht pulled off a 2-0 win over Lokeren, with Sacha Kljestan getting all 90 minutes in the midfield during the victory. Terrence Boyd played under a half-hour in Rapid Wien’s 0-0 draw with Admira Wacker Modling.

Jermaine Jones would’ve earned a second assist if it were MLS or hockey, but had to settle for playmaker status in Besiktas’ 1-1 draw with Konyaspor on Friday. Ale Bedoya couldn’t repeat his goal-scoring magic for a second consecutive week but did play all 90 minutes and register four shots in Nantes’ 1-0 win over Guingamp.

In England, Danny Williams played 60 minutes as Reading kept hold of its playoff spot for now. The Royals are in sixth place after a 1-1 draw with already-promoted Leicester City on Monday. Oguchi Onyewu‘s Sheffield Wednesday is in a fight for Championship survival, and he played the full match in a 3-3 draw that brought the club that much closer to securing safety.

Bolton posted a clean sheet with Tim Ream running the middle of the defense, while Duane Holmes was an unused sub for Huddersfield Town. That’s likely not his fault, as his club picked up two red cards in a 3-1 loss to Derby County.

The Premier League was relatively kind to Americans, and on a large scale to Tim Howard. The keeper continues to shine for the Toffees as they make their push for the Champions League. He helped blank Sunderland 1-0 on Saturday as they maintain control of fourth place.

Geoff Cameron was strong for Stoke, clearing out a listless Newcastle attack and making a number of strong attacking plays as the Potters bested the Magpies 1-0 at the Britannia Stadium. But Jozy Altidore missed Sunderland duty with a minor injury and Brad Guzan‘s Aston Villa lost to Crystal Palace as the Villans again failed to put their stamp on Premier League safety.

Puebla’s nightmare season continued with a 1-0 home loss to Club America, though DaMarcus Beasley was receiving plenty of credit as a positive note in the match. Edgar Castillo went 90 minutes for Tijuana as the club drew a Jose Torres-less (red card suspension) Tigres 1-1.

EFL Cup Tues. preview: Spurs-Reds, plenty of non-PL participants

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 27:  Dele Alli of Tottenham Hotspur in action during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at White Hart Lane on August 27, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images
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Sixteen teams remain in the battle to clinch the Premier League’s first European place of next season’s tournament, and we have some tremendous battles on tap for Tuesday and Wednesday in the EFL Cup (formerly the League Cup).

Today we focus on the 24 hours ahead of us, focusing on Tuesday’s five matches and allowing the Manchester Derby, West Ham-Chelsea, and Southampton-Sunderland to percolate a bit.

[ MORE: Finland’s “Leicester” gets it done ]

That’s not to say we don’t have a pair of giants dueling on Tuesday. Liverpool is three wins away from a return to the final, where the Reds fell in penalties last season. Standing in their way is Tottenham Hotspur, a deep squad which won’t have to worry much about a quick turnaround from Saturday.

That said, the Reds didn’t have to play at all last week, while this will be Spurs third match in a week. Spurs have been to the EFL Cup final thrice since 2008, and one of two teams (Chelsea) to make three finals this decade. Liverpool will start Simon Mignolet between the sticks.

The remaining four EFL Cup matches include at least one team outside the Premier League.

Arsenal will host USMNT midfielder Danny Williams and Reading.

— Hull City is off to Ashton Gate to face Bristol City.

— Newcastle United is leading the Championship, and will get a visit from Preston North End in the first of two matches between the two sides this week.

— Norwich City will pay a visit to Elland Road and Garry Monk‘s Leeds United.

FC Dallas gave injured Mauro Diaz a home champagne shower (video)

FRISCO, TX - APRIL 12:  Mauro Diaz #10 of the FC Dallas controls the ball against the Seattle Sounders FC on April 12, 2014 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.  (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images
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FC Dallas has two jewels of its triple crown all set, having claimed the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and the Supporters’ Shield.

One of the key reasons the club was able to sustain its pace this season was Mauro Diaz, 25, who shone even as Fabian Castillo shockingly left the club before the stretch run.

[ MORE: MLS Cup predictions ]

A River Plate product, Diaz gave FCD seven goals and 15 assists over 32 appearances before tearing an achilles tendon last week.

Diaz underwent season-ending surgery, but his teammates made sure he was a part of the champagne celebration by heading to his very nice-looking house for an early morning visit.

[ MORE: Pre-playoff power rankings ]


VIDEO: Premier League Player of the Week – Matchday 9

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There was some eye-popping moments in the Premier League this weekend, yet still very little debate who shone brightest.

Stoke City’s Xherdan Shaqiri scored a pair of Goal of the Month competitors in the same day in the Potters’ 2-0 win at Hull City on Monday.

[ MORE: MLS Cup predictions ]

The first was a curling wonder from distance, while the second came from a bit closer as the big-calfed Swiss attacker bamboozled the Hull wall and goalkeeper.

The Potters are up to 16th in the Premier League table with nine points.

Finnish fans celebrate surprise title for IFK Mariehamn

IFK Mariehamm
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HELSINKI (AP) Fans of IFK Mariehamn have gathered in the main square of the remote Finnish town to celebrate their team’s surprise league title.

“I feel very proud,” the club’s managing director, Peter Mattsson, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview on Monday, adding that “thousands” were expected to turn up for the party.

Watched by more than 4,000, Mariehamn clinched the Finnish title on Sunday with a 2-1 home victory over Ilves, from the industrial city of Tampere.

[ MORE: Full MLS Cup bracket ]

Mariehamn held off 11 other teams, including the traditionally strong Helsinki club, HJK, and defending champion SJK from western Finland. It ended three points clear of second-placed HJK for its first league title.

Local media dubbed the team “Leicester” after the surprise English Premier League champions last season.

Mariehamn, which has a population of 11,500, is the capital of the Aland islands off the southwestern Finnish coast