Americans Abroad preview: Countrymen go head to head

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With a full slate of games around the world this weekend, United States internationals will be busy trying to impress for their clubs.

(MORE: Americans Abroad – Full Archive)

Here are just a few of the match-ups on this weekend:

ENGLAND

• Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan faces another tough test when Manchester City comes to town. With just two league wins this season bookending three losses, Guzan will need to be in top form if his team is to get anything out of this game.

• Stoke City takes on Norwich City on Sunday, and Geoff Cameron is set for another start for the Potters after playing 90 minutes in a 2-0 League Cup win over Tranmere Rovers at midweek. Brek Shea was nowhere to be found in that game, still recovering from a knee injury he suffered in preseason.

• Jozy Altidore’s Sunderland takes on Liverpool without a permanent manager in place. It’s been a frustrating season so far for Altidore, much as his last Premier League campaign was, but if he could get one goal to get him off the mark against a tough team such as Liverpool, his confidence would increase.

• In the Championship, Danny Williams and Jonathan Spector clash when Reading plays Birmingham City. Although the two likely won’t have any head-to-head confrontations, as Williams plays defensive midfield and Spector plays in the back, Birmingham would like to continue the momentum of its first league victory last weekend, while Reading has only lost once, on the opening day of the season.

GERMANY

• Schalke 04 and Jermaine Jones pay a visit to Fabian Johnson’s Hoffenheim on Saturday. One point separates the two clubs early in the season, and they’re both coming off German Cup wins and Bundesliga losses in their last two outings.

NETHERLANDS

• Any time Aron Jóhannsson plays, he could score. That’s what makes PSV Eindhoven’s visit to his AZ Alkmaar exciting: on any given day, you get the feeling he could turn in another special performance. Jóhannsson scored a hat trick, including two goals in extra time, in a 4-1 cup win over Sparta Rotterdam on Wednesday.

AUSTRIA

• Quietly, Terrence Boyd has scored five goals in six appearances for Rapid Vienna this season, including one in the 17th minute of its last league game, Sept. 22 against Ried. Vienna takes on Wolfsberger AC on Saturday, which has lost its last two games and given up 21 goals in nine league matches so far.

MEXICO

• The most Americans on the field in any foreign match this weekend could easily be when Puebla hosts Club Tijuana on Sunday — when DaMarcus Beasley and Michael Orozco host Edgar Castillo, Greg Garza, Joe Corona, Herculez Gómez and Paul Arriola. Perhaps even better, the match is televised in the United States at 12:50 p.m. ET on ESPN Deportes.

Belgium goes to World Cup without Nainggolan

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BRUSSELS (AP) Belgium left midfielder Radja Nainggolan out of its World Cup squad despite a standout season with Champions League semifinalist Roma.

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez has long had a difficult relationship with the stormy midfielder. But after being called up for a warm-up game in March against Saudi Arabia, expectations had been that he would be on the 28-man roster announced Monday.

[ MORE: No World Cup for Chelsea trio ]

On top of the troubled relationship, Nainggolan was also the victim of the unparalleled wealth of talent the small nation has produced over the past few years.

Thibaut Courtois, Vincent Kompany, Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku were all named in the squad, which will be cut to 23 before the World Cup.

Nashville MLS expansion club snares ex-Liverpool CEO Ayre

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Former Liverpool CEO Ian Ayre is moving from Merseyside to the Music City.

The Tennesseean’s Joe Rexrode says Ayre is set to take the reins of Nashville SC as the first CEO in club history when it makes its debut in the 2020 MLS season.

[ MORE: No World Cup for Chelsea trio ]

Liverpool hired ex-EA Sports executive Peter Moore to replace Ayre in 2017 after the latter, 54, spent six years with the club as managing director and then CEO.

From the Tennessean:

“The MLS has huge ambitions to be one of the biggest and leading leagues in the world, and is on that trajectory,” Ayre said. “Both as a soccer fan and an executive in the industry, it’s something I’ve had my eye on because it’s important. … You talk about MLS and its growth, I think it’s becoming easier and will become easier to attract the right talent to something that’s exciting and developing. And if you have a reputation of being involved in a club like Liverpool, you hope that stands for something when you start to try and attract talent.”

The timing of Ayre’s addition hearkens back to that of former Tottenham executive Darren Eales at Atlanta United. If it has the same success, Nashville will be proud.

Report: Lampard interviews twice with Championship club

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Steven Gerrard‘s longtime England midfield mate Frank Lampard could soon be joining him in a management.

While Gerrard is tasked with rebuilding Rangers’ Scottish title push, Lampard’s reported new gig would entail leading Ipswich Town back to the Premier League for the first time since 2002.

[ MORE: No World Cup for Chelsea trio ]

Sky Sports says Lampard has already interviewed twice with Ipswich Town ownership in a bid to earn his first senior management gig.

Lampard, 39, played for Chelsea, Man City, New York City FC, West Ham United, and Swansea in a sparkling 20-year playing career.

Town finished 12th in the Championship, 15 points back of a playoff spot and 19 clear of relegation.

No World Cup for Chelsea’s Spanish trio

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Spain has left Chelsea trio Alvaro Morata, Marcos Alonso, and Pedro off its World Cup squad.

Also omitted were Napoli’s Jose Callejoin and Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin.

[ MORE: MLS Things — The Archive ]

Manager Julen Lopetegui did include Blues defender Cesar Azpilicueta and ex-Chelsea man Diego Costa, as well as Manchester United’s David De Gea, Arsenal’s Nacho Monreal, and Man City’s David Silva.

Spain is expected to contend for the tournament crown in Russia, led by a stellar midfield which includes Silva, Andres Iniesta, Isco, and Thiago Alcantara.

Spain is in a group with Portugal, Iran, and Morocco.

Spain’s World Cup squad

Goalkeepers: De Gea, Kepa Arrizabalaga, Pepe Reina

Defenders: Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Azpilicueta, Nacho, Alvaro Odriozola, Jordi Alba, Monreal, Dani Carvajal

Midfielders: Sergio Busquets, Asensio, Iniesta, Isco, Saul Niguel, Thiago Alcantara, Koke, Silva.

Forwards: Diego Costa, Rodrigo, Iago Aspas, Lucas Vazquez.