Americans Abroad recap: Dempsey getting in a groove

The American midfielder had a strong week for Spurs, culminating in a strong outing against West Ham Sunday.
Clint Dempsey didn’t score last week but had a big impact on Spurs’ success nonetheless. Deuce was active, aggressive, and precise in helping Tottenham pick up points abroad and domestically.

Tottenham inched one step closer to the Europa League knockout stages after drawing 0-0 with Lazio in Italy on Thursday. The Group J clash was a strange affair as Spurs failed to uncork any shots on goal and yet, the London club held possession well. Dempsey played 62 minutes and was involved in quite a few tackles.

On Sunday, Dempsey started once again versus West Ham and had a great showing. The Texan assisted on Tottenham’s second goal of the match when he found Gareth Bale in the 58th minute. Dempsey nearly put in one of his own earlier but his shot clanged off the woodwork. He was also involved in the build-up to his side's third goal. Despite not scoring, he tested the keeper on a few occasions and was a huge difference maker as Spurs grabbed the 3-1 win.

Everton faces heartbreak

Tim Howard was sharp all day, stopping three shots as Everton built a 1-0 lead through Steven Naismith. However, in the 90th minute, Norwich City’s Sebastien Bassong scored a last gasp header to steal a point from the hosts. The draw keeps Everton in fifth, with Arsenal nipping on its heels.

Bradley starting once again

Michael Bradley was back in the starting lineup last Monday, playing the entire contest as Roma defeated Torino 2-0. The club jumped up to sixth in the Serie A table with the win. On Sunday, Bradley was impressive and got Roma off to a solid start, testing the keeper in the fourth minute with a curling shot. The visitors were up and running just one minute later as Mattia Destro put Roma in front for good with a simple tap in after Francesco Totti’s shot was blocked. Bradley continued to help Roma put on the pressure and although the match ended 1-0, Roma dominated possession and should have made the score line much worse.

Boyd scores again

Although the club will not be progressing in the Europa League, Rapid Vienna still put on a show Thursday in a thrilling 3-2 loss at Rosenborg. Vienna went up 2-1 midway through the second stanza as Terrence Boyd put in a rebound after Christopher Drazan’s shot was blocked. Although the visitors eventually fell, Boyd’s presence was once again hard to ignore.

Boyd did not dress for Rapid Vienna’s 2-0 win over FC Trenkwalder Admira on Sunday as he served his one-game suspension due to yellow card accumulation.

Friedel continues to ride the pine

Brad Friedel continues to play a back-up role at Tottenham behind Hugo Lloris. The keeper was on the bench for Sunday’s match against West Ham. Rumors continue to swirl about Friedel and a possible departure during the January transfer window. One report has the 41-year-old returning to Blackburn.

Cameron on point

Geoff Cameron started two games last week, playing the full 90 in both as Stoke picked up four points. On Monday, Stoke went up early but conceded shortly after the restart in a 1-1 draw against West Ham. Cameron was efficient but even better on Saturday when he helped his club keep a clean sheet in a 1-0 win over Fulham. The defender was aggressive and picked up a yellow card during the affair.

Jones powers Schalke in Champions League

Jermaine Jones was on point Wednesday, and played big, assisting Christian Fuchs on the only goal of the game as Schalke defeated Olympiakos 1-0 in Champions League play. The victory put Schalke in first place in Group B, ensuring the club a place in the knockout round.

On Saturday, the midfielder was very active, picking up a yellow card in the process as Schalke drew 1-1 with Frankfurt. Jones took a few shots and was involved in quite a few clashing challenges and in the end the battle between the third and fourth placed teams finished in a stalemate.

Altidore quiet in loss

Jozy Altidore was held scoreless on Sunday as AZ lost to Feyenoord Rotterdam 2-0. The striker has cooled off after a hot start. Altidore tallied nine goals in August and September but has only hit the back of the net once over the last two months.

Guzan fantastic in draw

Aston Villa climbed out of the gutter on Saturday after grabbing a huge 0-0 draw against Arsenal. Brad Guzan was sharp, stopping four shots in total but his best effort came in the 29th minute when he blocked an Aaron Ramsey attempt. The draw moved the Villains up to 17th place.

American defender Eric Lichaj came on for the final 39 minutes, replacing the injured Ron Vlaar. Lichaj played well and may see some additional action after his serviceable play.

Hoffenheim loses but Johnson scores

Fabian Johnson started on Sunday and scored in the 58th minute during a 2-1 loss to Bayer Leverkusen. The hosts went down 2-0 early but rebounded and cut the deficit thanks to Johnson’s right-footed effort. Danny Williams dressed for the match but did not get on.

Cherundolo hot and cold

Steve Cherundolo had a whirlwind week with Hannover. On Thursday, he helped the club grab a point in UEFA Europa League play as it drew 0-0 against FC Twente. Hannover has already qualified for the next round but the draw eliminated Twente. On Saturday, Hannover was blasted by Bayern Munich 5-0. Cherundolo started once again but committed two fouls in an ugly performance.

Onyewu solid in Champions League play

Oguchi Onyewu got a rare start on Wednesday for Malaga but proved his worth, helping the squad hold on for a 2-2 draw on the road against Zenit St. Petersburg. Malaga’s ticket to the knockout stages of the Champions League had already been booked prior to the match. For his part, Onyewu played the entire contest and even put a shot in but it was off target. The defender did not dress on Saturday as Malaga beat up on Valencia 4-0.

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