Americans Abroad roundup: Johnson and Williams get Hoffenheim going

Hoffenheim's first league win of the season, courtesy of two goals by Yanks, highlights the list of Americans playing in Europe this week.
Both Americans in the Hoffenheim roster scored this weekend, helping the club to its first win of the season.

Fabian Johnson was impressive on Sunday, scoring an equalizer that sparked his club to a 3-1 comeback victory. TSG Hoffenheim went down to Hannover 96 in the 26th minute thanks to an own goal but Johnson hit back a minute later as he rushed down the left side, blasting past fellow American Steve Cherundolo along the way, before scooping the ball over the keeper.

Sejad Salihovic scored the winner in the 82nd before American midfielder Daniel Williams added the third goal in extra time, slotting an easy goal home from 15 yards out. The victory was the first for TSG this season and gets the club on the board in the Bundesliga.

Howard has topsy-turvy week

Everton started the week in disappointing fashion, drawing 2-2 against Newcastle in a game the Toffees should have won. Poor referee decisions mired the fixture, but, in the end, Howard was beaten by a funky Demba Ba strike in the 90th minute. Earlier, Marouane Fellaini's effort was denied due to a questionable offside call and Victor Anichebe’s strike clearly crossed the line but was not recognized by the referees. Nevertheless, Anichebe put the hosts up 2-1 in the 88th only to see the lead evaporate minutes later as Howard played the goal poorly.

On Saturday, the Merseyside club got back on the winning track as it thumped Swansea 3-0 on the road. Goals from Anichebe, Fellaini and Kevin Mirallas put the visitor in control as Howard made four saves. The keeper notably halted shots from Angel Rangel, Ki Sung-Yueng, and Michu. The victory propelled Everton into the top four.

Dempsey improving with Spurs

Clint Dempsey started on Thursday as Spurs drew 0-0 with Lazio in a controversy-filled Group J Europa League affair. The host was denied by three times referee decisions, including a Dempsey header that was called back for offside. Despite the disappointing result, Dempsey’s performance was encouraging as he set up teammates nicely and look much more comfortable during the start.

On Sunday, Dempsey started once again and, once again, put one in the net, but his goal was called back because Jermain Defoe was offside in the buildup. After going down early, Tottenham completed the comeback, scoring twice within 95 seconds early in the second half. Defoe grabbed the winner in the 61st and Dempsey nearly added another late but he missed one shot wide and had a header blocked.

Friedel continues to start in the league for Spurs

Brad Friedel got the day off on Thursday in favor of Hugo Loris, when the 25-year-old Frenchman started against Lazio. But Friedel was back in the saddle on Sunday against QPR and was impressive, stopping three shots as Spurs secured a 2-1 comeback win. Friedel clinically halted shots from Clint Hill and Junior Holiett, but Bobby Zamora put one past the 41-year-old in the 32nd minute.

Friedel was publicly critiqued by Fabien Barthez last week, as the former French international suggested that Hugo Lloris should be the first-choice goalkeeper for Spurs instead of Friedel. The American keeper did not take the words lightly and hit back on Twitter. Friedel certainly backed up his words on Sunday, starting his 309th consecutive Premier League game.

Altidore goes scoreless

AZ Alkmaar fell to NAC Breda 2-1 over the weekend. Jozy Altidore played an average contest but could not find the net as Breda scored twice late to bury the visitors. It’s either feast or famine for Altidore and Alkmaar this season. When the striker scores, Alkmaar can’t lose, and when Altidore stumbles, it just can’t win.

Hannover has feast or famine week

Steve Cherundolo played the entire contest as Hannover made a huge comeback on Thursday against Twente Enschede. The Europa League Group L opener looked bad for the German club early on as it went down inside the opening seven minutes. However, two goals in the final 25 minutes netted a valuable 2-2 draw for Hannover. Cherundolo played an aggressive game and was involved on either side of a few rough tackles.

On Sunday, Cherundolo looked tired as an inferior TSG side outlasted and outplayed Hannover en routé to a 3-1 victory. Cherundolo was beaten by fellow American Fabian Johnson for a goal in the 27th minute.

Schalke splits two

Jermaine Jones had a back-and-forth week as he helped his club to a critical Champions League win, but Schalke also stumbled in league play. On Tuesday, the midfielder nearly scored and played well as Schalke defeated Olympiakos 2-1 in the first game of group play. Back in the league, on Saturday, Bayern Munich blanked Schalke 2-0. Jones played 78 uninspired minutes of that match, coughing up the ball twice and committing two fouls.

Carlos Bocanegra helps Racing to shutout win

The American defender played well all match as Racing Santander shut out Mirandes 1-0 on Saturday. Kone scored the only goal of the match in the 83rd minute. Racing moved up to 13th in the table with the victory.

Aston Villa contingent bamboozled

Southampton earned its first top flight win of the season on Saturday as it blasted Villa, 4-1. Darren Bent put the Villians up early and Brad Guzan saved an Adam Lallana shot. After the restart, Guzan halted a Jason Puncheon attempt but the floodgates opened thereafter. Eric Lichaj was booked in the 53rd minute and just five minutes later Rickie Lambert expertly equalized. Nathanial Clyne broke the deadlock in the 63rd minute and Ciaran Clark put one in his own net. Guzan brought down Emmanuel Mayuka in stoppage time and was booked for the challenge. The keeper was subsequently beaten by Lambert from the penalty spot.

Cameron back in business

Geoff Cameron was back in the starting XI on Saturday, playing at right back against Chelsea. The defender had a few quality moments, setting up one of Stoke's best chances when he found Michael Kighlty with a whizzing cross just before the break. In the end, however, it was Ashley Cole who scored the winner in the 85th minute. Cole bagged his first goal in nearly two years when he converted a lovely Juan Mata back heel pass. Maurice Edu did not dress for the contest.

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