Americans Abroad Preview: Altidore looks for cup redemption

Jozy Altidore will look to put the bad memories of the past week behind him when Sunderland meets Hull City in the FA Cup quarterfinals.
Jozy Altidore is enduring a rough time. As if his Premier League struggles with Sunderland weren’t enough, Gus Poyet left him out of the League Cup Final, then Altidore battled through a disappointing outing for the U.S. national team in Wednesday’s loss to Ukraine.

Altidore could have his chance to climb out of his funk this Sunday, when Sunderland takes on Hull City in the FA Cup quarterfinals. There is no guarantee he will be called on to play a role against the same Tigers club he played for four years ago, but if he does, Altidore will need to play well to avoid a permanent seat on the Sunderland bench.

Tim Howard just celebrated his 35th birthday on Thursday, and will look to earn himself a belated birthday present in the form of a place in the FA Cup semifinals. Everton travels to London to take on Arsenal in a quarterfinal clash the Toffees will be a heavy underdog in.

Elsewhere in England, Geoff Cameron will look to carry some momentum forward from his solid showing in the U.S. national team’s loss to Ukraine when Stoke City meets Norwich City on Saturday. The Potters snapped a three-match winless streak last week, and can climb further away from the relegation zone against a Canaries side sitting just four points out of the relegation zone.

In the League Championship, Oguchi Onyewu will try to rebound from a weak showing for the United States by keeping Sheffield Wednesday’s record unbeaten with him in the lineup. Wednesday takes on last-place Yeovil Town, with teenager Duane Holmes looking to continue earning minutes on his loan.

Jonathan Spector and Will Packwood lead Birmingham City into an important match against struggling Queens Park Rangers on Saturday. Danny Williams and Reading meet Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday, while Tim Ream and Bolton face off against Leeds United.

In Germany, Fabian Johnson and Hoffenheim meet Schalke on Saturday, while John Brooks will try to put the bad memories of his poor outing for the U.S. against Ukraine behind him when Hertha Berlin plays Mainz 05 on Sunday.

In France, Alejandro Bedoya and Nantes return to Ligue 1 action against Ajaccio. Bedoya was one of the U.S. team’s lone bright spots against Ukraine, and he will look to continue his recent run of starts for a Nantes side that has lost four of five matches.

In the Netherlands, Aron Johannsson and AZ take on Heracles on Saturday. AZ sits four points out of an automatic Europa League place, and will look to punish a Heracles side winless in four. Juan Agudelo and FC Utrecht meet PSV Eindhoven in a home match the club needs to win to create more distance away from the relegation zone.

In Austria, Terrence Boyd will look to score his 10th goal of the season when Rapid Vienna meets FC Wacker Tirol on Sunday.

Friday night will be showcase night for all the Americans playing in Mexico’s first division. DaMarcus Beasley and Michael Orozco will lead Puebla against second-place Toluca. Club Tijuana will resume its regular place on the Friday night schedule with a home match against Chivas Guadalajara. The Xolos are winless in three, and looking to erase the bad memories of an ugly 3-0 home loss to Chiapas in their last home outing. The match is important for Herculez Gomez and Joe Corona, who need to start playing well to revive their chances of a run at a World Cup spot.