Americans with big weekends from the Yanks Abroad brigade

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With home matches against Fulham and Sunderland ahead for relegation-threatened Aston Villa, Paul Lambert’s young men from Villa Park may have seen Saturday’s match at Stoke City as one where “bonus” points could be earned.

Sure enough, they are standing on deck beneath the “Mission Accomplished” banner this morning. That’s spectacular news for U.S. international Brad Guzan (pictured at right), whose team crept a little closer to surviving this season of agonizing growing pains.

Unfortunately, it came at the expense of Stoke City, which includes its own pair of U.S. internationals. Guzan started in Villa goal, as always, in the team’s 3-1 win at the Britannia.

Geoff Cameron was at his usual spot for Stoke, at right back. Brek Shea did not make the 18-man game-day roster.

Clint Dempsey received mixed reviews as he nominally replaced (the virtually irreplaceable) Gareth Bale in Spurs’ lineup for a 2-2 draw with Everton at White Hart Lane. Dempsey started on the right side of Andre Villas-Boas’ 4-1-4-1 tactical arrangement. As for Tottenham individual player ratings, this one had more favorable things to say about Dempsey’s afternoon than this one from a lifelong Spurs fans who called Dempsey “largely ineffective.”

Tim Howard was in Everton goal that one, of course.

Jermaine Johnson’s double may have been the talker for Sheffield Wednesday in a huge 3-2 win over Blackburn that helps vent some relegation pressure from the team that recovering American midfielder Stuart Holden currently calls home. Of course, all most of us care about is that Holden got 59 minutes in his team’s 3-2 victory at the infamous Hillsborough ground. He remains on loan for Wednesday until April 24.

Finally, encouraging news from Germany, where two U.S. outside backs put in full 90-minute shifts for their teams. Steve Cherundolo went the distance in Hannover’s scoreless draw with Stuttgart. And Timothy Chandler played all 90 for Nurnberg in a 2-1 victory over Mainz.

MLS Three Things: RBNY beats Atlanta, is a special club right now

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At this point, Jesse Marsch could take the USMNT job, Tyler Adams could bolt for the Bundesliga, and we’d still have to select the New York Red Bulls to finish with a home playoff game.

[ MORE: Willian’s shot at Conte ]

That’s how well run RBNY is these days, which is to take nothing away from their coach and 19-year-old star, but considering they navigated a solid CONCACAF Champions League run en route to this start… well…. wow.

On a night when Luis Robles’ ironman streak ended, Kaku recorded two assists, and Ezequiel Barco bagged his second goal in three matches, they don’t even meet the requirements of our three things.

Form giants deliver more goals

Marsch’s men have been shutout once this season, and most multiple goals in four-consecutive wins. Three of those four wins have come on the road, at LA, Colorado, and now Atlanta.

RBNY has the best points-per-game in Major League Soccer, has scored the joint-most goals despite playing in the second-fewest games, and is allowing barely more than a goal-a-game.

Bet against ’em. We dare ya.

BWP delivers the goods

RBNY’s 33-year-old English star scored twice and won a penalty that Daniel Royer converted as he continued his assault on all future Red Bulls’ hopes of becoming the club’s leading scorer.

Bradley Wright-Phillips has almost 50 more goals than his nearest competitor, Juan Pablo Angel, and he makes headers look like child’s play.

Victory comes with a price

Kemar Lawrence was lost with a scary-looking face-plant on a clearance, and needed to be stretchered off the pitch. Hopefully it’s not long-term for the Jamaican back.

Willian “edits” Conte out of FA Cup champions photo

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Willian is not a fan of Antonio Conte.

Come to another conclusion if you like, but it’s hard to argue the Brazilian wizard’s feelings following his Instagram post after Chelsea beat Manchester United in the FA Cup Final.

[ MORE: Matic wants squad changes at Man Utd ]

Willian covered his manager in trophies following the win, and it’d be a stretch to call that a tribute to the Italian’s tactical brilliance.

The player recorded seven goals and six assists despite playing less than all but 12 Chelsea players in league play (12th place Alvaro Morata had 11 and 6).

We’re accepting alternative explanations for the since-deleted Instagram photo below:

Elis scores twice as Dynamo beat Fire 3-2

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BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (AP) Alberth Elis scored two second-half goals to help the Houston Dynamo beat the Chicago Fire 3-2 on Sunday for their first road win of the season.

Elis, on a one-on-one breakaway, cut back to evade defender Johan Kappelhof and ripped a right-footer from the center of the box into the back of the net to give Houston (4-3-3) a 3-2 lead in the 74th minute.

[ MORE: Man Utd youngster gets USMNT call-up ]

The Dynamo’s Romell Quioto opened the scoring in the fourth, running onto a long through ball from Tomas Martinez and rolling the finish past sliding goalkeeper Richard Sanchez. Nemanja Nikolic tied it in the 14th minute and then fed Diego Campos for a goal about two minutes later. Elis converted from the spot to make it 2-2 early in the second half after Mauro Manotas drew a foul in the area conceded by Sanchez.

Chicago (3-6-2) has lost three of its last four games.

 

Inter Milan back in the Champions League after late heroics (video)

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It’s been more than a half-decade since Inter Milan qualified for the UEFA Champions League, an infamous run that ended on Sunday.

Inter scored twice in the final 13 minutes to beat fifth-place Lazio and advance into the Top Four via head-to-head record.

[ MORE: Man Utd youngster gets USMNT call-up ]

Lazio held 1-0 and 2-1 leads, but could not get the job done at home, collecting red cards in the 79th minute and stoppage time.

Uruguayan midfielder Matias Vecino scored his third goal of the season, redirecting a corner kick home in the 81st minute, as Inter clinched fourth place in Serie A.