Americans Abroad Review: Bedoya buries one, Boyd bags brace

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How many Americans could find themselves in the UEFA Champions League or the Europa League next season?

Quite a few, and Everton’s Tim Howard is doing his best to get his name on the list. The Toffees blanked Manchester United 2-0 on Sunday, moving themselves within a point of No. 4 Arsenal for the last slot in the UCL. A Saturday date at St. Mary’s against Southampton is the next step for Everton.

Jozy Altidore won a penalty for Sunderland that, once converted by Fabio Borini, won the Black Cats crucial points in a 2-1 decision over Chelsea. Altidore slipped and fell down while running alongside Cesar Azpilicueta in the Chelsea box, and a penalty was awarded. The American forward will take them where he can get them these days.

Aston Villa’s Brad Guzan kept his first clean sheet in a month when the Villans drew Southampton 0-0. Guzan’s club is now five points ahead of the drop, while Geoff Cameron and Stoke City are making a late charge for ninth place. Even eighth isn’t out of the question for the Potters, who saw 90 minutes from Cameron in a 1-1 draw against Cardiff City.

Birmingham is still in relegation danger down in the Championship after failing to find a point against Nottingham Forest. Jonathan Spector again went 90 minutes in a 1-0 loss, while Will Packwood failed to appear off the bench.

Danny Williams was off after 55 minutes for Reading, but he did pick up a yellow card and was on the pitch for all three of Wigan’s goals in a 3-0 loss. Tim Ream went 90 for Bolton as the Wanderers drew 0-0 at Charlton, and Duane Holmes made the bench but didn’t play in Huddersfield Town’s 1-1 draw against Brighton.

Oguchi Onyewu and Sheffield Wednesday let 1-0 and 2-1 leads go before scoring twice between minutes 86 and 90 to top Bournemouth 4-2. Both goals came with Onyewu and the Owls down to 10-men for the game’s final half-hour.

Aron Johannsson, Juan Agudelo and Sacha Kljestan all had weekends free of soccer (but don’t fear: so did their clubs).

Terrence Boyd buried a brace before halftime in Rapid Wien’s 2-2 draw against SV Scholz Grodig. Video hasn’t arrived of one of his goals, but here’s a stadium end look at his penalty conversion that keeps Rapid point ahead of Austria Wien for the top flight’s Europa League bid:

Ale Bedoya was part of a Nantes goal parade, as the Canaries stomped Valenciennes 6-2. His goal in the 41st minute (VIDEO) made it five on the Ligue 1 season and two in his last three appearances.

A pregame injury to Fabian Lustenberger forced John Anthony Brooks into the starting XI for Hertha Berlin’s 0-0 draw at FC Augsburg. Fabian Johnson went 90 minutes for Hoffenheim in its 3-1 loss to Werder Bremen.

Manchester derby “the game of the season”

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Whatever way you slice it up, Thursday’s Manchester derby is huge.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Manchester City host Manchester United (Watch, 2:45 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) at the Etihad Stadium with Pep Guardiola‘s side just one point ahead of United in the Premier League table.

City currently occupy fourth spot and the final UEFA Champions League qualification berth but are coming off the back of a damaging FA Cup semifinal defeat to Arsenal after extra time.

United and Jose Mourinho haven’t lost in 23 Premier League games, the longest current unbeaten streak across Europe’s top five leagues, and are in the UEFA Europa League semifinals as their banged up squad have stood tall in the final months of the campaign.

Speaking ahead of the derby, one of United’s stars this season believes everything comes down to this one game.

“It is going to be the game of the season,” Ander Herrera said. “We are one point behind them. If we win we have the chance to finish in the top four, if they win it is going to be very difficult. It is the game of the season.

“Make or break? Probably. Both teams are in a good moment so if one of us wins the game we are not going to lose a lot of games, or make mistakes after that. Us or them. It is going to be key. I don’t know the ‘winner takes all’ expression but it is going to be a massive game. We are in a very good moment, a very good run and we respect them but we are doing a lot of good things and we have to show it on Thursday.”

Herrera’s comments say it all.

It is fair to say that both Manchester clubs have flattered to deceive for much of this season with Guardiola’s tactics yet to flourish in England and Mourinho’s rebuild hampered by injuries and a lack of goals at crucial moments.

On Thursday there will be a raucous atmosphere at the Etihad as both teams are aware of what is at stake.

More of the pressure may well be on City who now have just a place in the top four to focus on and with many previously giving United no chance of finishing in the top four, a win at City would take them above their “noisy neighbors” and into the UCL spots.

Former Czech Republic defender Rajtoral kills himself

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PRAGUE (AP) Former Czech Republic defender Frantisek Rajtoral, who won the domestic league title four times before joining Turkish club Gaziantepspor, died on Sunday. He was 31.

[ MORE: Bayern scouted Kyle Walker, Alex Sanchez this weekend ]

The Czech football federation said in a statement that Rajtoral had “committed suicide in Turkey.”

His agent Pavel Zika confirmed the player’s death, describing it as a “huge tragedy.”

Gaziantepspor announced Rajtoral’s death in a brief statement on its website.

Rajtoral played 14 international matches for the Czech Republic.

In the top Czech league, he won four titles with Viktoria Plzen and played in the group stage of the Champions League twice for the club. He moved to Hannover in the Bundesliga in 2014 for half of the season, on loan.

He left Viktoria Plzen last year to move to Turkey.

Bellerin wants to represent Spain U21s despite Wenger’s wishes

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Arsene Wenger has made it clear about Hector Bellerin representing Spain this summer but the Arsenal defender is prepared to go against his manager’s wishes if he is selected.

[ MORE: Bayern scouted Kyle Walker, Alexis Sanchez over the weekend ]

The 22-year-old has said he hopes to play for Spain’s Under-21 side this summer during the 2017 European U-21 Championship but Wenger has been weary of Bellerin’s injury status and wants his fullback to maintain a clean bill of health throughout the offseason.

“I really want to play,” Bellerin told IBTimes. “Representing Spain is very important. If [Albert] Celades gives me the chance I’ll be there.

“Those are opinions of the managers. I have to keep working. The truth is that I had a difficult injury but I think that I am at 100% now and I’ll try to prove it when I get the chance.”

Bellerin signed a six-and-a-half year deal with the Gunners in November, where he has resided since coming up in the club’s academy. He has made 102 appearances for Wenger’s team in that span over all competitions.

Roma boosts bid for 2nd in Serie A by beating Pescara 4-1

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PESCARA, Italy (AP) Roma boosted its bid for second place in Serie A and automatic entry into the Champions League with a 4-1 win at Pescara, which was mathematically relegated on Monday.

[ MORE: Newcastle joins Brighton in promotion to Premier League ]

Roma moved four points clear of third-placed Napoli, which drew against Sassuolo 2-2 on Sunday. Third place in Serie A receives a Champions League playoff.

Pescara remained 15 points behind Empoli. There are only five matches left and Empoli has the better head-to-head record, which is the deciding factor if two teams finish level on points.

There were 48 goals in total in the 33rd round, matching the record set in October 1992.

Roma took control shortly before halftime, with Kevin Strootman breaking the deadlock after Stephan El Shaarawy unselfishly rolled the ball across the area.

Radja Nainggolan, who earlier hit the bar, doubled Roma’s lead two minutes later.

Mohamed Salah extended Roma’s advantage three minutes after the break and the winger doubled his tally on the hour following a swift counterattack.

Ahmad Benali got a consolation for Pescara and a Cristiano Biraghi free kick also hit the post for the home side.