Americans Abroad preview: Relegation six-pointer for Guzan; Bedoya shoots for Ligue 1’s top-half

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Current U.S. national team No. 1 goalkeeper Brad Guzan and Aston Villa have the biggest game of the European weekend involving an American player abroad, as the Fighting Tim Sherwoods™ visit Sunderland (Saturday, 11 am ET) in a relegation six-pointer between the Premier League’s 17th- and 16th-placed teams, respectively.

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Villa (25 points) did the double over Midlands rivals West Bromwich Albion last week (league and FA Cup) and suddenly find themselves three points clear of relegation. Meanwhile, Sunderland (26) are winless in five league games and have slumped back to within four points of the drop zone.

Elsewhere, former (and future, once again?) USMNT No. 1 Tim Howard’s Everton return to league play after Thursday’s Europa League triumph with a home date against Newcastle United (Sunday, 12 pm ET). A strong finish to the season could see the Toffees surge into the Premier League’s top 10, and that quest begins with the Geordies.

Geoff Cameron’s Stoke City, all the way up in 8th, visit 13th-placed West Brom on Saturday (11 am ET). Stoke have won three league games in a row, while West Brom a 2-1-2 in their last five. Two surprisingly hot teams meeting up at the business end of the season.

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Alejandro Bedoya’s quest for a finish in the top half of Ligue 1 continues on Saturday (3 pm ET), as 11th-placed Nantes host Evian (16th) at Stade de la Beaujoire. Bedoya himself is on a lengthy run without a goal or assist, going all the way back to early December, when the American midfielder tallied his only points of the season.

In Germany, Hertha Berlin host Schalke 04 (Saturday, 10:30 am ET), where John Brooks will face a perennial UEFA Champions League qualifying side. Brooks has started and played 90 minutes in 12 of Hertha’s last 13 league games, including four clean sheets.