Americans Abroad review: Evaluating the Yanks in England

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There was a time when just playing in England was a badge for Americans, a time that’s long since rightly evolved into a performance-based model.

For this week’s look at how Yanks are performing in England from A-to-Z — or W — we’ll go a little deeper. A week before the transfer window and with only England on the pitch, it’s as good a chance as any to evaluate the whys of who is doing what where.

[ US: Ramos calls up U-20 players ]

Altidore, Jozy
Club: Sunderland
Since: Summer 2013
This week: Unused sub in 0-0 draw at Aston Villa
Status: With three goals in 50 total appearances, the question isn’t whether Altidore will leave Sunderland, it’s where he’ll sign next. Lille and Werder Bremen have been documented as frontrunners, but Altidore needs to go somewhere else soon. His scoring record with the USMNT shows he can do it, so a change of scenery and league could do the trick as the US plans for a busy few summers worth of tournaments.

Cameron, Geoff
Club: Stoke City
Since: Summer 2012
This week: played 90 mins at right back in a 2-0 win over visiting Hull City
Status: Cameron prefers to play in the midfield, but has been worked all over the pitch for the Potters. Since returning to full fitness he’s started every game for Mark Hughes, and has only been subbed off twice. As valuable to his club as any American field player in a top European league save perhaps Ale Bedoya at Nantes.

[ RELATED: Geoff Cameron’s blogs for NBC Sports ]

Friedel, Brad
Club: Tottenham Hotspur
Since: Summer 2011
This week: DNP
Status: Signed through 2015 and a club ambassador to the United States, Friedel has only even hit the substitute’s bench five times this season. The 43-year-old is doing fine.

source: Getty Images
Guzan

Guzan, Brad
Club: Aston Villa
Since: July 2008
This week: played 90 minutes in a 0-0 draw vs. Sunderland
Status: Guzan has received more than a single goal of support from Villa a whopping two times this season, and the 30-year-old remains the Villans first-choice stopper. He’s an integral part of their team and has no reason to move unless a monster club came calling, which doesn’t seem to be the case.

Holden, Stuart
Club: Bolton Wanderers
Since: January 2010
This week: DNP
Status: Bolton’s been faithful to Holden through his horrific spate of injuries, and the world of soccer would love to see him come back strong at some point. Anything that needs to be done to help the 29-year-old’s return last much, much longer than 23 minutes will get a high-five from us.

Howard, Tim
Club: Everton
Since: Summer 2006
This week: injured calf mid-week, status TBA
Status: Everton’s clear No. 1 and becoming a club legend (if not already), the only question for Howard is whether he’ll be the USMNT goalkeeper for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Hyndman, Emerson
Club: Fulham
Since: 2011
This week: Unused sub mid-week; Hosts Brighton later Monday
Status: He’ll turn 19 in April, and is already a regular on the bench for the Cottagers and occasionally getting USMNT call-ups. This spot is fine for now.

source: Getty Images
Lichaj

Lichaj, Eric
Club: Nottingham Forest
Since: Summer 2013
This week: Played 90 minutes in 3-1 home loss to Birmingham City
Status: While Forest has cooled off its promotion pace, Lichaj continues to be an important part of the team. The defender is playing 90 minutes most weeks, but has been off the USMNT roster since last November.

[ US: Onyewu extends contract at Charlton Athletic ]

Ream, Tim
Club: Bolton Wanderers
Since: January 2012
This week: Played 90 minutes in a 2-1 loss at Huddersfield Town
Status: Under contract through 2017, Ream is reliable for Bolton and has been a part of Jurgen Klinsmann’s plans at center back (sometimes to the chagrin of his club coach). Provided Bolton isn’t sent down — they are nine points above the drop — Ream’s future seems set with the Wanderers.

Spector, Jonathan
Club: Birmingham City
Since: Summer 2011
This week: DNP
Status: Out since October with a torn thigh muscle, Spector is a reliable presence for Brum when healthy. He’s back to full training and should return to the team in early 2015. Brum is 11 points clear of the Championship drop and nine points back of the final playoff spot.

Williams, Danny
Club: Reading
Since: Summer 2013
This week: Played 90 minutes in a 2-2 draw at Brighton.
Status: Plays often for his club, which is in a relegation scrap. A drop would see him in need of a new club to keep USMNT plans afloat.

Yedlin, DeAndre
Club: Tottenham Hotspur
Since: Formally joins in January
This week: DNP
Status: He’s new and shiny for Spurs, and the London club’s plans for him are relatively unknown. Mauricio Pochettino called him a young player with a lot of potential who will need time to adapt to a new club.

Also in England: Duane Holmes (Bury, on loan from Huddersfield Town); Oguchi Onyewu (Charlton Athletic); Will Packwood (Colchester United, on loan from Birmingham City); Zak Whitbread (Derby County).

10-man Wolves level late against pitiful Palace defending

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Wolves fought back for a deserved point via a last-second equalizer, as Crystal Palace’s stoppage time silliness allowed a 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park on Sunday.

A Leander Dendoncker own goal put the Eagles in front, and Palace was up a man when Romain Saiss took his second yellow with 18 minutes to play.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

But danger man Jeff Schlupp was denied in the box by star man Rui Patricio minutes before Diogo Jota capitalized on Palace allowed a silver platter cross to get to his feet.

Wolves are still winless, with four draws through six matches, and sit 19th. Palace’s eighth point has it 12th on the table.


Three things we learned

1. Ward giveth, and taketh away: Joel Ward forced the own goal that gave Palace the lead when his wild drive through traffic turned off Leander Dendoncker to defy Rui Patricio, but his inexplicable stooping, missed intervention on the game winner was stunning. More on that below.

2. Wolves fight to death to find easy winner: Adama Traore, Jonny Otto, and the Wolves attack did not bow their heads after Palace took their fortunate lead nor after Romain Saiss’ second yellow card sent them diown a man, and Nuno Espirito Santo will love how his men fought to the final whistle while making timely interventions at the back (and taking advantage of Palace misfires).

Wilfried Zaha was dispossessed and it took three uncontested passes down the left of the Palace shape for Traore to find himself one-on-one with Patrick Van Aanholt. The Dutch defender played off Traore, who simply swept a cross to the back post. A chest trap, volley or 900 other things from Joel Ward could’ve ended the game, but he tried and missed a diving header that allowed Jota two touches to roof into an empty cage.

3. Silly from Saiss should’ve sealed it: Romain Saiss was sitting on yellow for a foul on Wilfried Zaha when he went out of his way to foul the Ivorian right on the touch line. Both managers saw the clear foul up close and personal, and Nuno Espirito Santo will certainly not like the idea of trusting Saiss again after his automatic ban.

Man of the Match: Vicente Guaita — The Crystal Palace goalkeeper was sensational in the draw, and the only reason Wolves weren’t ahead well before the Dendoncker own goal.


[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

An early corner kick led to a James McArthur goal mouth block of Leander Dendoncker’s low drive toward the near post, as Wolves got their first pressure on Palace following an opening 10 minutes that belonged largely to the hosts.

Palace’s Ayew headed a Luka Milivojevic corner into the arms of Rui Patricio in the 26th.

Vicente Guaita made the play of the first half when Raul Jimenez looped a cross over Mamadou Sakho to an unmarked Matt Doherty. The powered header was slapped away by a flying Guaita to keep it scoreless.

The keeper was again called upon when a 1-2 allowed Diogo Jota to lash a shot on goal in the 38th.

Palace took a stunning lead within 40 seconds of halftime, as Ward’s hard drive took a big turn off Dendoncker to spin past Patricio. The sequence began with Jeff Schlupp dribbling Willy Boly, the latter being imperious for most of his season.

By the time Romain Saiss was shown his second yellow for a fouls on Wilfried Zaha, the game felt academic. Would the 10-man Wolves find anything in the final 18 minutes?

The opposite, really, as Schlupp cued up substitute Christian Benteke which looked set for glory until the Belgian took an extra touch and drove into the arms of Patricio.

West Ham surges past tame Manchester United

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Manuel Pellegrini‘s West Ham United passed a big test, moving into the Top Four with a decisive 2-0 defeat of struggling Manchester United at London’s Olympic Stadium on Sunday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Andriy Yarmolenko and Aaron Cresswell scored on either side of halftime to send West Ham fourth with 11 points.

Man United remains eighth with eighth, and lost Marcus Rashford to injury.


Three things we learned

1. Healthy Yarmolenko a big asset: Injuries short-circuited Andriy Yarmolenko’s first year at West Ham after they did the same to his only campaign at Borussia Dortmund, so it’s been easy to forget that the Ukraine playmaker is pacey, creative, and lethal. His lunging finish to beat De Gea in the first half was simply one moment of a match full of good ones, as he fooled Harry Maguire in the process. Three shots, a key pass, and a goal from the right-sided wide man. Good stuff.

2. Pogba import underscored as Rashford adds to injury woes: With Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba already out, the non-contact injury that sent Marcus Rashford to the tunnel is a scary thought for a United team incapable of creative work through the middle. Andreas Pereira was a danger out wide, and Daniel James has proven himself a handful, but a long-term injury to Rashford would heap pressure on young Mason Greenwood. Without Pogba pulling the strings inside — forget Martial’s early season wizardry — this team is in big, big trouble.

Not great, Ed.

3. Technique on return: Aaron Cresswell had a free kick from the right of the 18, with the wall lined up to stop any ideas of a near post effort. Spoiler alert: It didn’t work. The West Ham left back swept a piece of technical beauty over the wall, spinning it into the upper 90 despite the best efforts of David De Gea. Sensational.

Man of the Match: Yarmolenko.


[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Andreas Pereira’s industrious run up the right forced a hard obstruction out of Angelo Ogbonna, who collected a yellow card.

Andriy Yarmolenko was bright early, and linked up with Felipe Anderson to curl a shot into the arms of David De Gea in the 20th minute.

Marcus Rashford drove into the box then was thrown-off by the oncoming Declan Rice and bobbled his dribble, allowing the West Ham man to take the ball away.

De Gea had to make a save on a half-hit Mark Noble strike which was re-directed by Victor Lindelof.

Yarmolenko scored before halftime, Noble and Anderson working the ball inside for the Ukrainian to cut past De Gea through traffic. Beautiful stuff, and it forced a rare mistake out of Harry Maguire.

The second half started well for United, with Juan Mata missing a sliding effort at the back post set up by Andreas Pereira and Scott McTominay bundled a shot to Lukasz Fabianski in the 57th.

That’s when Rashford limped off following a non-contact injury.

Yarmolenko set up Anderson for a near post drive that De Gea foiled in the 62nd.

Cresswell made it 2-0 from a free kick in the 84th, De Gea somehow getting a hand to the left-back’s piece of technical beauty.

Watch Live: Chelsea v. Liverpool, Arsenal v. Aston Villa

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We’ve got two more London-hosted Premier League matches for your Sunday morning.

[ STREAM: Chelsea-Liverpool | Arsenal-Villa ]


There will be tests of depth and hunger, as Liverpool and Chelsea meet at Stamford Bridge off of midweek losses in the UEFA Champions League (Watch live at 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com)

Christian Pulisic is on the bench again as Mason Mount passes fit and Willian gets the other wing.

As for Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp is deploying his choicest XI for the occasion, aside from Alisson Becker’s continued absence through injury.

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Chelsea:

Liverpool


On another side of London, Arsenal will look to build on its midweek and forget about last weekend when it hosts Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium (Watch live at 11:30 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold, online via NBCSports.com)

Unai Emery is going to start 18-year-old Bukayo Saka after the youngster was the easy Man of the Match against Eintracht Frankfurt at midweek.

He’ll team with Nicolas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

No major surprises for Dean Smith‘s Villa.

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Arsenal

Aston Villa

Manchester United’s Rashford limps off with non-contact injury

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Marcus Rashford has suffered a non-contact injury in Manchester United’s Sunday clash with West Ham United.

Working the front line, Rashford slowed up inside the 18 and then took a few paces before collapsing onto the turf.

[ STREAM LIVE: West Ham-Man Utd ]

The striker, 21, has three goals in seven Premier League appearances this season. He was replaced by Jesse Lingard.

The good news, of course, is that Rashford walked into the tunnel on his own power.

The bad news is the often nefarious nature of non-contact injuries, where something in the body just gives under pressure.

Keep it tuned here for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s post-match comments, as the Red Devils trail West Ham 1-0.