Americans Abroad Preview: Howard faces Chelsea, many Yanks on the road

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While many US Soccer fans are doubtlessly more excited about the Americans going abroad for a match against the Czech Republic on Sept. 3, there are still plenty of tests of the Yanks with their club teams this weekend.

Everton’s Tim Howard hopes to stop a string of multi-goals allowed matches, but that streak will have to stop against high-powered Chelsea (which could be without Diego Costa and Fernando Torres).

Fellow American backstop Brad Guzan will try to make it three clean sheets in-a-row when his Aston Villa side hosts intriguing Hull on Sunday, while Jozy Altidore and Sunderland are off to Loftus Road to face struggling Queens Park Rangers on Saturday.

Geoff Cameron was dinged up in Stoke’s midweek League Cup clash, and he wasn’t featuring for the Potters in the Premier League as his future gets sorted out. Cameron did get to play his preferred central defensive midfield position against Portsmouth, but is unlikely to play at Manchester City on Saturday.

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All the Yanks in the Championship will conduct business on Saturday, starting with Eric Lichaj and table-topping Nottingham Forest. They head to Sheffield Wednesday to kick-off the weekend, while recently called-up whiz kid Emerson Hyndman looks to help Fulham wake up with a visit from Cardiff.

Bolton’s Tim Ream will likely start in a visit to Leeds, while Duane Holmes and Huddersfield Town are off to Watford. Birmingham City’s Will Packwood and Jonathan Spector will play at Wigan Athletic.

To the Bundesliga! John Anthony Brooks will hope to be in the lineup when Hertha Berlin tries to upset Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday, while Timmy Chandler and Eintracht Frankfurt will head to Wolfsburg for a tough test of their own. Meanwhile, Fabian Johnson will look to provide wing-side heroics for Borussia Monchengladbach when the club visits SC Freiburg.

Nantes will look to get back into the win column after a loss to Monaco, and American midfielder Ale Bedoya is hoping to do work when the Canaries host Montpellier on Saturday.

Sacha Kljestan and Anderlecht have a massive tilt against Club Brugge on Sunday, while — over in the Netherlands — Rubio Rubin and FC Utrecht have a match with Heerenveen on Saturday.

Bob Bradley’s Stabaek will hope to put pressure on the seven teams ahead of them with a home win against last-place Sandnes Ulf, and Mix Diskerud’s Rosenborg side will hope to finish the weekend in a European place by beating challenger Viking FK on the road.

Porto, Watford, Hull? Marco Silva in demand

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Marco Silva is one of the hottest properties in management, months after eliciting cries of “Who?” following his appointment at Hull City.

While those cries may have been a tiny bit myopic given his time at Sporting CP and Olympiacos, the 39-year-old is now visible to the world despite Hull’s relegation.

[ MORE: Real Madrid nabs $50m teen ]

Silva will be back in England to meet with Hull on Wednesday, but a clause in his contract that said he could leave if the club was relegated gives the Tigers very little hope.

Rumors have him wanted at Watford, and he’s also been linked with a number of other jobs including Southampton (should the club part ways with Claude Puel).

However, the former right back is also reportedly a target of one of the biggest clubs in his home country: Champions League side Porto.

UEFA Europa League Final preview: Manchester United vs. Ajax

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Jose Mourinho’s big European gamble takes center stage on Wednesday in Sweden, when Manchester United attempts to topple young Ajax in the UEFA Europa League Final.

United’s chances for UEFA Champions League qualification, a magnificent opportunity, are overshadowed by the pall cast over Manchester by sinister terrorist attacks at a pop concert that killed and injured many on Monday night.

Alas, there’s soccer to be played, and Mourinho is looking to make it a trio of shiny items in his first year on the job. United beat Leicester City for the Community Shield, then topped Southampton in the EFL Cup Final en route to Sweden.

United’s well-documented dearth of healthy defenders will march out one more time on Wednesday, with Chris Smalling and Phil Jones tasked with manning the center of the back line. Expect Antonio Valencia and Matteo Darmian out wide.

[ MORE: Full 2016-17 season reviews

Despite the injury to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Mourinho’s attack is going to give Ajax fits. Marcus Rashford has been next level for most of the second half of the season, and United will also likely feature Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba atop Ander Herrera.

If someone is going to break United down, it could be midfield wizards Davy Klaassen and Lasse Schone. The creative middle men have a variety of options to find with the ball, including on-loan Chelsea man Bertrand Traore and Danish teenager Kasper Dolberg.

But how will they deal with United’s attack? Sure Ajax has stopped Lyon, Schalke, Copenhagen, and Legia Warsaw, but United and Mourinho? That’s another challenge for Peter Bosz and his men.

Ajax won the 1992 UEFA Cup, and this is United’s first ever trip to this particular final. The Red Devils are heavy favorites, and we expect United to prevail. Don’t sleep on Juan Mata heroics. Call it 3-1.

Allardyce resigns, opening up intriguing vacancy at Palace

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Sam Allardyce is walking away on top outside the relegation zone.

The veteran Premier League manager, 62, resigned his post as Crystal Palace on Tuesday, weeks after leading another team to safety.

The move ends a tumultuous eight months for Allardyce, who was fired as England manager after an undercover sting exposed unethical dealings with agents.

[ MORE: Full 2016-17 season reviews

It also comes about an hour after somebody wrote that Crystal Palace should move on from Allardyce. What a jerk, that somebody.

Rarely at a loss for words, here’s Big Sam from cpfc.co.uk:

I want to be able to savour life while I’m still relatively young and when I’m still relatively healthy enough to do all the things I want to do, like travel, spend more time with my family and grandchildren without the huge pressure that comes with being a football manager.

This is the right time for me. I have no ambitions to take another job, I simply want to be able to enjoy all the things you cannot really enjoy with the 24/7 demands of managing any football club, let alone one in the Premier League.”

All kidding aside — and I’m far from a Big Sam fan — congrats to the man on walking away to enjoy the finer things in life. He had a heck of a run, and we’ll see how long he can resist being away from the fray. Cheers, Sam.

Coach Valverde leaves Athletic, will reportedly join Barca

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MADRID (AP) Athletic Bilbao says Ernesto Valverde will not remain as the team’s coach next season, clearing the way for his expected move to Barcelona.

Athletic said Tuesday that the coach will give more details about his departure in a news conference on Wednesday.

The Mundo Deportivo newspaper reported that Valverde has already reached a deal with Barcelona to replace Luis Enrique, who announced earlier this year that he would not continue with the Catalan club.

[ MORE: Full 2016-17 season reviews

Barcelona ends its season after the Copa del Rey final against Alaves on Saturday.

The 53-year-old Valverde reportedly will sign a two-year contract with Barcelona, with an option for a third season. The announcement is expected next week.

A former forward, Valverde played two seasons with Barcelona in the late 1980s.

He previously coached Espanyol, Olympiakos, Villarreal and Valencia.