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.

[ RELATED: Who is Jordan Morris?? | Quick look at the new boys on USMNT roster ]

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.

LIVE, FA Cup semifinal: Chelsea v. Southampton

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Chelsea and Southampton clash in the FA Cup semifinal at Wembley on Sunday (10 a.m. ET kick off) for the right to play Manchester United in the final on May 19.

[ LIVE: Updates from Wembley ]

Antonio Conte led Chelsea to the FA Cup final last season but they lost to Arsenal. Even though the Blues are up against it to finish in the top four in the league, winning the cup would be a big success for Conte.

Saints haven’t made a cup semifinal since 2003 when they lost to Arsenal in the final. Mark Hughes‘ side are entrenched in the relegation zone and have a bigger challenge than making the final.

[ MORE: Minute-by-minute on Chelsea v Saints

Click on the links above to follow the action live, while we will have reaction and analysis live from Wembley right here on Pro Soccer Talk.

Arrests made after violent soccer riot in South Africa

AP Photo/Bongani Mbatha - African News Agency
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DURBAN, South Africa (AP) Police say two people have been arrested and more arrests are imminent after a violent riot at a South African soccer game on Saturday night, when hundreds of fans ripped up parts of the stadium, invaded the field, and seriously assaulted at least one security guard.

Players had to run for the safety of the dressing rooms as the fans swept onto the field soon after the final whistle.

[ MORE: The latest Arsene Wenger news ]

Police responded with stun grenades to disperse the rioters, and television pictures showed riot police storming the field and a white armored police vehicle racing across the edge of the pitch.

South African Police Services spokeswoman Nqobile Gwala on Sunday confirmed the arrests and said the two people were facing charges of public violence and malicious damage to property.

The violence mainly by Kaizer Chiefs fans followed their team’s 2-0 loss to Free State Stars in the semifinals of the Nedbank Cup competition at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in the east coast city of Durban, one of the stadiums built for the 2010 World Cup.

In the most disturbing scenes, a female security guard was set upon by a group of supporters on the field. She lay on the ground as they hit her with plastic chairs. A man then kicked her twice in the head. After the second kick she lay motionless and face down on the grass.

Police spokeswoman Gwala did not say if anyone had died in the violence, saying police had no information yet from stadium or medical authorities on any deaths.

Kaizer Chiefs coach Steve Komphela resigned after the game.

“Emotional” Mertesacker: Send Wenger off “with a cup”

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Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker has made 220 appearances for the club, all with one man in charge of the Gunners: Arsene Wenger.

[ MORE: The latest Arsene Wenger news ]

Mertesacker has won three FA Cups with Wenger, and he took up his pen — or laptop — for Sunday’s Matchday program.

The 33-year-old German says it’s down to Arsenal’s players to send off Wenger right: With two more successful rounds in the UEFA Europa League against Atletico Madrid and either Red Bull Salzburg or Marseille. From the BBC:

“We were only informed on Friday about the manager’s decision to step down at the end of the season, so it’s still quite emotional,” Mertesacker said.

“He’s been the major figure of this club for more than 20 years. He’s been so impressive for me and he has trusted me so much throughout my career, in bringing me here and making me captain even when I was injured. He also gave me a future role here at the club so I am very grateful and humbled for the opportunity he gave to me.

“There’s now an emphasis on us doing it for him too. We want to give him the send-off he deserves: with a cup.”

The French legend to end his time at Arsenal against Marseille would be delightful, don’t you think?

Watch Live: Arsenal-West Ham, Stoke-Burnley

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The Premier League has a pair of 8:30 a.m. ET Sunday kickoffs for us this morning, including one of Arsene Wenger‘s final matches at Arsenal.

There’s a London Derby between Arsenal and West Ham United at the Emirates Stadium, as the Gunners look to stay fresh for Atletico Madrid and the Hammers aim to firm up their Premier League status for next season (Watch live at 8:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

LINEUPS

Arsenal: Ospina, Bellerin, Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal, Elneny, Xhaka, Ramsey, Iwobi, Welbeck, Lacazette. Subs: Macey, Mertesacker, Holding, Chambers, Maitland-Niles, Nelson. Aubameyang.

West Ham United: Hart, Zabaleta, Ogbonna, Rice, Cresswell, Masuaku, Kouyate, Noble, Fernandes, Mario, Arnautovic. Subs: Adrian, Cullen, Evra, Lanzini, Hugill, Carroll, Chicharito.


Stoke City’s climb out of the relegation zone will have to overcome Burnley’s desires for a Top Six place, as the Clarets can pass sixth place Arsenal with a win and a Gunners loss to West Ham (Watch live at 8:30 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

LINEUPS

Stoke City: Butland; Johnson, Shawcross, M.Indi, Pieters; Bauer, Allen, Badou, Shaqiri; Crouch, Diouf. Subs: Haugaard, Zouma, Ireland, Cameron, Fletcher, Ramadan, Campbell.

Burnley: Pope, Lowton, Long, Tarkowski, Ward, Lennon, Cork, Westwood, Gudmundsson, Wood, Barnes. Subs: Heaton, Taylor, Marney, Vokes, Hendrick, Walters, Bardsley.