Terrence Boyd had to know he picked the wrong time to go into a goal-scoring slump. With the World Cup fast approaching, and the fight for roster spots, particularly at forward, wide open, Boyd had to feeling some pressure heading into one of the final matches of the Austrian League season.
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Boyd responded with the kind of match he needed to have, a two-goal effort in Rapid Vienna’s 2-2 tie with SV Grodig on Sunday. The brace, his first goals in seven matches, upped Boyd’s tally to 16 goals in all competitions for Rapid this season.
It was a good Easter weekend for the German-American contingent in the U.S. national team set-up. Central defender John Brooks didn’t let the recent controversy surrounding his decision to get a back tattoo which forced him to get pratice affect his game. Though reports in Germany claimed he was in his coach’s doghouse because of the incident, he started and played the full 90 minutes in Hertha’s 0-0 tie against Augsburg on Saturday.
Fabian Johnson started in Hoffenheim's 3-1 loss to Werder Bremen on Saturday.
Jermaine Jones started and went the distance for Besiktas in a key Turkish Liga derby against Fenerbahce. Besiktas posted a 1-1 draw to pull two points clear of Galatasaray for second place and the UEFA Champions League slot that comes with it. Jones has firmly entrenched himself as a starter for the Turkish club since joining on loan from Schalke 04.
Another player who has hit a good run of form heading into the final weeks of the European season is Alejandro Bedoya. The FC Nantes forward scored his sixth goal of the season in Nantes' 6-2 win against Valenciennes on Sunday. A safe bet to make the U.S. World Cup team, Bedoya's impressive first season in France has him looking like a serious contender for a starting role.
In England, Tim Howard made two saves and recorded his 14th shutout of the season in Everton's 2-0 victory against Manchester United. The win helps keep Everton within a point of Arsenal for fourth place in the English Premier League. Fellow U.S. goalkeeper Brad Guzan also posted a shutout, making three saves in a scoreless draw against Southampton on Saturday. The result moves Aston Villa five points clear of the relegation zone with three matches to play. Geoff Cameron went the full 90 minutes in Stoke City's 1-1 tie with Cardiff City.
In the English League Championship, Danny Williams started and played 55 minutes but couldn't keep Reading from dropping a 3-0 result to Wigan Athletic. The defeat, coupled with Brighton & Hove Albiion's 1-1 tie with Huddersfield Town, dropped Reading out of the promotion playoff positions with three matches remaining.
A pair of central defenders with World Cup aspirations also started and played 90 minutes in League Championship play. Oguchi Onyewu started in Sheffield Wednesday's 4-2 win against AFC Bournmouth while Tim Ream started in Bolton's 0-0 tie with Charlton Athletic.
In Mexico, Edgar Castillo was the lone American starter for Club Tijuana in the Xolos' 2-1 win against Atlante. Joe Corona and Herculez Gomez came off the bench for the Xolos, who are on the verge of securing a spot in the Clausura playoffs.
Of greater concern for U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann is the status of DaMarcus Beasley, who left Puebla's 2-1 win against Pachuca with an injury.
Jose Torres started for Tigres in a 3-1 loss to Leon on Saturday.