Americans Abroad preview: Howard, Guzan meet in England; Brooks, Johnson clash in Germany

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Another weekend is upon us, and that means Americans playing their club soccer abroad will turn their attention to executing top-notch performances.

The most notable matchup comes out of the Premier League, where Everton netminder Tim Howard and Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan will encounter each other as their respective teams go head-to-head. Howard and the Toffees are fresh off a superb 3-0 win against Manchester United, while Villa put in a valiant attempt to challenge Manchester City and lost, 3-2, last week. Guzan hasn’t won in four meetings vs. Everton when Howard’s started.

Ahead of Stoke City’s journey to Swansea on Saturday, Geoff Cameron has reportedly been coping with hamstring “tightness”, which, manager Mark Hughes said, will be a game-time decision and could keep him out of the clash. Phil Bardsley, who has been out of selection due to poor play, would likely replace Cameron.

To Tottenham, Spurs defender DeAndre Yedlin finally made his first team debut as a 79th-minute substitute in last week’s 1-0 loss to Aston Villa, and he showed moments of promise. His selection for the upcoming vital clash against Manchester City at White Hart Lane is undetermined at this point, but if Mauricio Pochettino needs an attacking spark late in the game, the 21-year-old may be called upon.

[RELATED: Cameron on Chelsea’s defensive success, life at NBC studio]

In the Bundesliga, Hertha BSC, featuring young German-American defender John Brooks, will take on Borussia Mönchengladbach, starring veteran midfielder Fabian Johnson. Many have commended Brooks for his growth this season, and currently, his success has helped his side allow only four goals in eight previous competitions. Johnson, too, is witnessing above average form right now with one goal and four assists in his past seven starts. Hertha is situated at 13th place, and the Foals are battling hard in the top three.

Over to Ligue 1, Alejandro Bedoya of Nantes has started the last four games for his team and scored two goals in that span. The USMNT regular has shown flashes of quality in France, and he will have the chance to extend his form this weekend in a clash against leader Paris Saint-Germain. The Canaries are slotted at 10th place in the league table.


Norway: Bob Bradley, Cole Grossman when Stabæk faces Rhett Bernstein, Mjøndalen

Germany: Timothy Chandler in Eintracht Frankfurt at Werder Bremen

Watch Live: Stoke City vs. Crystal Palace (Lineups and Live Stream)

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On Saturday Stoke City host in-form Crystal Palace at the Britannia Stadium (Watch live, 11 a.m. ET and online via Live Extra) with the Potters aiming to continue their push up the table.

Mark Hughes’ men have won three of their last four but lost their last match 1-0 away at West Brom in a shocking display. Stoke know they’ll have to be on their guard when Palace roll into town as Alan Pardew’s side possess plenty of pace, power and confidence as they continue to sit in midtable after staving off relegation fears. A few more wins for the Eagles will all but secure their PL status for a second-straight season for the first time in history.


In team news Stoke start U.S. national team man Geoff Cameron in place of Phil Bardsley, while Palace bring in Pape Souare at left back.


Stoke City: Begovic; Cameron, Shawcross, Wilson, Pieters; Nzonzi, Adam; Diouf, Ireland, Arnautovic; Crouch. Subs: Butland, Bardsley, Whelan, Walters, Sidwell, Teixeira, Wollscheid

Crystal Palace: Speroni; Ward, Dann, Delaney, Souare; Ledley, McArthur; Zaha, Puncheon, Bolasie; Murray. Subs: Hennessey, Mariappa, Hangeland, Kelly, Sanogo, Ameobi, Gayle

Stoke snag Sidwell; Could they be next year’s Premier League darlings?

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Mark Hughes is setting up the Potters to be the underdog darlings of the Premier League next season.

With Southampton losing its coach and — likely — star players, which non-giant club could become the story of 2014/15? Certainly Crystal Palace would like to think it can do the trick, and Harry Redknapp probably thinks he’s going to Champions League, but take a peek at what Hughes is doing at Stoke City.

Stoke has smartly picked up Steve Sidwell, 31, who was Fulham’s top scorer last season in its relegation campaign. Add him to ex-Sunderland defender Phil Bardsley, and Hughes has a quietly-strong start to the transfer season (especially given the club’s size).

It’s a two-year deal for Sidwell, who was a target for Alan Pardew at Newcastle United among a number of suitors once he secured his release from Fulham.

“Steve was much in demand and we are delighted to have won the race to secure his signature,” said Stoke chief executive Tony Scholes.

The Potters jumped into ninth place in the Premier League on the final day of last season, but that was 19 points back of the last European qualifier (not counting Hull City, which made it on FA Cup finalist’s form).

And with a steady lineup of Asmir Begovic in net and a good back line of Ryan Shawcross, Geoff Cameron and others, Stoke is one to watch moving forward if they can add more attacking flair like Sidwell, and 2014 Stoke young player of the year Marko Arnautovic.

Sunderland 1-3 Swansea City: Swans start strong to finish strong (video)

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Sunderland’s great escape is remarkable, but they couldn’t give their home fans one more positive result as two early goals from Swansea put them through for all three points at the Stadium of Light.

Nathan Dyer and Marvin Emnes were the men to put the visitors up two inside 15 minutes, and Sunderland couldn’t pick up enough steam to get back level.

The three-point spoils for the Swans gives them a 12th-place finish, maybe not what they would have hoped for in the beginning of the season but better than things looked two months ago.

They also finish with an even goal differential, the only team below eighth place without a negative number.

source: AP
Bony bags another as the Swans win three of their last four.

Sunderland finish up 14th, five points off the drop and secure even before this match started.  The loss certainly won’t knock the massive mountain the club climbed in the final few weeks, and Gus Poyet will covet the ending despite the loss.

The first came in the seventh minute off a beautiful through ball from Wayne Routledge found a streaking Nathan Dyer down the right hand side, who had cut past Phil Bardsley, and Dyer flicked the ball over Vito Mannone and home for the first goal.

They’d quickly bag another, as a pinpoint dink from Wilfried Bony to Marvin Emnes found the attacker one-on-one with John O’Shea, and a quality 180-degree turn from the on-loan striker and he blasted the ball top-corner for the finish and a 2-0 lead.

It’s Emnes’s first goal for Swansea in his seventh appearance, having come over on loan from Middlesborough in January.

Both teams had their pops on goal, but Swansea appeared to be comfortably finishing out the half. Sunderland had one big chance, just a minute before the break when a distance shot from Phil Bardsley locked onto the underside of the bar, but it was kept out by a spectacularly acrobatic save by Gerhard Tremmel.

After the halftime break, Sunderland looked a changed side, and they were rewarded very soon. Fabio Borini headed a corner past the near post just five minutes into the second half and Sunderland had a lifeline.

But their comeback was short-lived, as Swansea restored their two-goal lead.  Emnes was brilliant down the left, and the ball trickled to Bony with space in the box, who took one step right and fired low for his 17th league goal of the season and a 3-1 lead.


Swansea City – Tremmel; Tiendalli (Davies 75′), Amat, Bartley, Taylor, Fulton (Britton 73′), Shelvey, Dyer, Emnes (De Guzman 55′), Routledge, Bony.

Goals – Dyer 7′, Emnes 14′, Bony 54′

Sunderland – Mannone, Vergini, Bardsley (Celustka 64′), Brown, O’Shea (Altidore 84′), Bridcutt, Larsson (Ba 71′), Colback, Johnson, Borini, Wickham.

Goals – Borini 50′

Watch Live: Sunderland vs Swansea City (Lineups and Discuss)

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Gus Poyet gets to put a stamp on this amazing comeback with Sunderland, and will look to give their home fans a big sendoff against Swansea City.

The Swans made six changes as they take on the Black Cats at 10am ET live on Esquire or live online at NBC Sports Live Extra.

Garry Monk brings in Gerhard Tremmel for Michel Vorm in goal with the game meanningless to the visitors, as Jonathan de Guzman, Leon Britton, Ashley Williams, and Pablo Hernandez all come out, with the latter not even in the squad.

Needing bodies to replace those sitting, Monk has instated 18-year-old Adam Kingwande for the first time since signing from Hearts in January, he is on the bench.


Sunderland also makes a few changes knowing they are safe, with Lee Cattermole out of the squad after turning an ankle last week, and Phil Bardsley also rested.

American striker Jozy Altidore is on the bench, as is Emmanuel Giaccherini in attack reinforcements for Poyet.  The Black Cats will hope to give their home fans a show and not show any hangover from the completion of their amazing comeback.


Swansea City – Tremmel, Tiendalli, Amat, Bartley, Taylor, Fulton, Shelvey, Dyer, Emnes, Routledge, Bony.
Bench – Cornell, Williams, Davies, Britton, de Guzman, Kingwande, Vazquez.

Sunderland – Mannone, Vergini, Bardsley, Brown, O’Shea, Bridcutt, Larsson, Colback, Johnson, Borini, Wickham.
Bench – Celustka, Altidore, Ba, Giaccherini, Mavrias, Agnew, Ustari.