Americans Abroad Rewind: Howard helps Everton continue unbeaten run

Tim Howard and Everton pushed their unbeaten run to nine matches in English Premier League play after a 4-1 thrashing of Fulham over the weekend.
Throughout the better part of a decade he has spent playing for Everton, U.S. national team goalkeeper Tim Howard has grown accustomed to his Toffees starting seasons slowly, and then turning things on with strong second halves that usually capped off respectable seasons.

The current English Premier League campaign has been altogether different. Instead of struggling early in the year, Everton has responded well to new manager Roberto Martinez, and the results are truly impressive. The Toffees are the only EPL team with just one loss on the season, and Saturday Howard helped Everton post a 4-1 victory against Fulham that extended Everton’s unbeaten streak to a league-best nine matches.

Howard recorded two saves in Everton’s latest victory, which helped the Tofffees climb to within just four points of first-place Arsenal. Everton’s unbeaten streak could run through the rest of the year, with the Toffees set to close the year out with matches against three opponents outside of the top eight.

While Howard and Everton can’t seem to lose, Jozy Altidore and Sunderland continued their winless ways, settling for a 0-0 tie against West Ham United on Saturday. Altidore earned another start for the Black Cats, going 73 minutes before being subbed out.

The contingent of Americans at Stoke City continue to endure a mixed bag of results, with Geoff Cameron remaining the only one seeing regular playing time. Cameron started and went the full 90 minutes in Stoke’s 0-0 tie against Hull City on Saturday. Neither Brek Shea or Maurice Edu made Stoke’s bench for the match.

Aston Villa’s flirtation with the top 10 in the Premier League ended this weekend as Brad Guzan and the Villans suffered a 3-0 loss against Manchester United on Saturday. Guzan recorded just two saves on a day when Villa’s defense couldn’t cope with a United team playing its best league match in a while.

Cody Cropper made the substitute’s bench for Southampton on Saturday, and while the U.S. Under-20 national team goalkeeper didn’t play in his team’s 1-1 tie against Newcastle, it is a significant step that he is serving as the backup on a team currently in the top half of the Premier League table.

In the League Championship, Danny Williams continued his recent run of steady starts, helping Reading post a 1-0 victory against Huddersfield Town on Saturday. The win, Reading’s third in four matches, has the Royals in fifth place. Young American midfielder Duane Holmes came off the bench for Huddersfield Town, playing 17 minutes in the loss.

Tim Ream continued his steady run of starts for Bolton, which dropped a 3-2 decision to Wigan on Sunday. Eric Lichaj continued to be stuck on the bench for Nottingham Forest, dressing but not playing in his team’s 0-0 tie against Ipswich Town on Saturday.

In Germany, the American contingent endured a forgettable week, led by John Brooks getting the quick hook in Hertha Berlin’s 3-2 win against Werder Bremen. Brooks was pulled from the match in the 38th minute with the match tied 2-2 in a tactical substitution.

Fabian Johnson came off the bench and played 19 minutes in Hoffenheim’s 2-2 tie against Borussia Dortmund on Saturday. Jermaine Jones also settled for a substitute’s appearance, playing 32 minutes in Schalke 04’s 2-0 loss to Freiburg on Sunday.

Steve Cherundolo’s quest to return for Hannover 96 saw him sit out another match, though he did make the substitute’s bench in his team's 3-3 tie against FC Nurnberg.

It was a tough weekend for the rest of the Americans plying their trade in Europe. Aron Johannsson’s AZ Alkmaar continued to struggle, dropping a 2-0 decision to Heracles Almelo on Sunday. Johannsson started and went the full 90 minutes, but failed to find the net. In France, Alejandro Bedoya earned a start for FC Nantes but couldn’t keep his team from suffering a 2-1 loss to Toulouse on Saturday.

Terrence Boyd followed up his latest Europa League goal with a 17-minute cameo off the bench in a 0-0 tie against Wiener Neustadt on Sunday.