Americans Abroad Preview: Stiff test for Johannsson, reunions galore

Red-hot AZ Alkmaar striker Aron Johannsson will look to build on his mid-week Dutch Cup hat trick when he and AZ take on Eredivisie-leading PSV Eindhoven on Sunday.
Aron Johannsson has been tearing apart defenses in the Netherlands this season, both in league and cup play, but his next test will be significantly tougher than the one he faced when he delivered a Dutch Cup hat trick for AZ Alkmaar on Wednesday.

Up next for Johannsson and Alkmaar is a showdown with Dutch powerhouse and Eredivisie-leading PSV Eindhoven -- the same PSV side that Jozy Altidore and AZ defeated in last year’s Dutch Cup final. This time around, PSV is sporting the toughest defense in the Eredivisie, and will look to contain the red-hot Johannsson, who has nine goals in 12 matches in all competitions this season.

Johannsson’s clash with PSV is the most intriguing individual match-up, but this weekend is also one loaded with Americans square off against each other in leagues around the world.

In Germany, Fabian Johnson and Hoffenheim take on Jermaine Jones and Schalke 04, while Bundesliga 2 will have its own clash of Americans, as Andrew Wooten and Kaiserslautern take on Bobby Wood and 1860 Munich.

Mexico offers the potential for the most Americans on the field in a foreign league match, as the large contingent of Americans at Club Tijuana take on Michael Orozco and DaMarcus Beasley with Puebla on Sunday.

If DaMarcus Beasley can shake off a recent hamstring injury, he could find himself facing Gold Cup teammate Joe Corona on the flank, or more likely young American hotshot Paul Arriola. Herculez Gomez could also make his first Liga MX appearance for Club Tijuana after recovering from a knee injury enough to notch a hat trick in CONCACAF Champions League action on Thursday.

In England, Danny Williams and Reading take on Jonathan Spector and Birmingham City in a League Championship clash of U.S. national team pool players.

Staying in England, Jozy Altidore is a good bet to return to the starting lineup for Sunderland after the firing of former coach Paolo Di Canio, but a stiff test awaits when the Black Cats take on Liverpool. The toughest test for any American could be ahead for Brad Guzan, who will look to build on last week’s stellar shutout effort for Aston Villa against a dangerous Manchester City side.

Fellow American goalkeeper Tim Howard will be looking to keep Everton’s unbeaten record intact when the Toffees take on Newcastle on Monday.

Geoff Cameron and Stoke City will look to rebound from last week’s loss to Arsenal with a win against struggling Norwich City. Cameron is coming off of having scored his first goal for the Potters, while Brek Shea could make his first appearance of the season after battling foot ailments again.

Alejandro Bedoya is another American facing a memorable fixture date, as he and FC Nantes play host to Stade Rennes in what French soccer fans call the Derby Breton. Bedoya has become a regular starter since joining Nantes in August, and should figure prominently in this heated clash.

Michael Bradley could make his return from the ankle injury suffered earlier this month when unbeaten AS Roma takes on Bologna on Sunday. The Rome club is a perfect 5-0-0 on the season, while Bologna has yet to win a match this season.