Americans Abroad Preview: Howard set for Merseyside Derby

Tim Howard has enjoyed a strong run of form for both club and country, and he will face another tough test on Saturday when Everton battles arch-rival Liverpool.
Tim Howard is enjoying an outstanding run of form for both club and country, against some very stiff competition at times. One of his most demanding challenges of the season comes on Saturday, as he and Everton take on Liverpool in the latest installment of the Merseyside Derby.

Howard is coming off an international break that saw him allow one goal in two matches with the U.S. national team, earning Man of the Match honors in the team’s scoreless draw against Scotland. Howard heads into the derby showdown at Goodison Park riding a three-game shutout streak for the Toffees.

USA teammates Jozy Altidore and Geoff Cameron were in the same lineup on Tuesday, but they will be on opposite sides on Saturday, when Cameron’s Stoke City takes on Altidore’s Sunderland. The Black Cats have seen improved results under new manager Gus Poyet, and can pull even on points with Stoke City with a victory, but winning at the Britannia Stadium won’t be easy against a Potters squad that has just one loss there this season.

In the English League Championship, Eric Lichaj will look to build on the momentum of his first call-up by Jurgen Klinsmann when Nottingham Forest takes on first-place Burnley. Forest is sitting in fifth place in the league, but could cut the six-point deficit on Burnley in half with a win. Tim Ream and Bolton take on Watford, while Danny Williams and Reading face Blackburn.

Oguchi Onyewu will be looking to make his Queens Park Rangers debut on Saturday against Charlton. Onyewu has yet to make an appearance since joining the London club.

Aron Johannsson impressed in the recent USA friendlies, and he will look to build on that upon his return to the Eredivisie, where he and AZ Alkmaar take on Roda JC on Saturday. AZ has slipped two points behind Vitesse for first place in the Dutch league, but could retake the lead with a win and a Vitesse setback.

In France, Alejandro Bedoya and Nantes will look to continue their impressive early-season run of form against Monaco in a battle of top four teams in Ligue 1. Nantes sits three points behind the big spenders from Monaco, and Bedoya will have his hands full going up against Eric Abidal.

In Austria, Terrence Boyd will have his chance to shine against the runaway leader of the Austrian Bundesliga when his Rapid Vienna side faces Red Bull Salzburg on Sunday. Salzburg holds a 10-point lead on second-place Rapid, but Boyd’s squad is unbeaten in five and will be the home team on Sunday.

In Germany, John Brooks will look to win back his starting job at Hertha Berlin on Saturday against Bayer Leverkusen. Brooks has yet to start since returning from an elbow injury last month, but is coming off his second U.S. national team start in the team’s 1-0 loss to Austria on Tuesday.

Jermaine Jones struggled in both U.S. friendlies, but should have another chance to show his quality on Saturday when Schalke 04 takes on Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.

In Mexico, Jose Torres is the only American still competing in the Apertura playoffs, and he and UANL Tigres have the unenviable task of trying to knock off first-place Club America, which is coming off having several players and coach Miguel Herrera help Mexico qualify for the World Cup.