By Matthew Braine
Howard racked up his 15th clean sheet of the season on Sunday as Everton dismantled eighth placed Wigan 4-0, nearly cementing a top six finish. Two goals from Jo, along with one each from Marouane Fellaini and Leon Osman, were more than enough to put down the visitors.
The American stalwart stopped four shots including a great save on a shot from Hossam Mido early on. With the victory, the Merseyside club now sits one point behind Aston Villa for fifth place and holds a seven point lead over seventh place West Ham United.
Tim Howard, Everton
vs. Wigan, 4-0, 90 minutes, 0 goals conceded, 4 saves.
Up Next:Sunday, away to Aston Villa.
Brad Friedel, Aston Villa.
vs. Manchester United, 3-2, 90 minutes, 2 goals conceded, 4 saves.
Villa looked to be in line for a quality draw at Old Trafford Sunday, but substitute Federico Macheda had other ideas, firing home the winner past Friedel in the 90th minute. Cristiano Ronaldo’s brace offset goals from John Carew and Gabriel Agbonlahor, but Macheda, the former Lazio Academy player, decided the tie. Friedel made a few good stops during the match, including a nice block of a Danny Welbeck strike.
Up Next: Sunday, home to Everton.
Brad Guzan and Eric Lichaj, Aston Villa
Guzan backed up Friedel, while Lichaj helped the Reserves split two games last week. First, Villa defeated Stoke City 1-0 on March 23rd and then, on the 30th, Lichaj’s sweet long throw set up Dominick Hofbauer’s opening goal, but, unfortunately, the Villains were unable to hold on as Spurs fought back to grab a 1-2 victory.
Clint Dempsey, Fulham
vs. Liverpool, 0-1, 90 minutes.
Fulham struggled to create many chances Saturday as the club was only able to unleash three shots, only one of which troubled keeper Pepe Reina. The Reds dominated possession and nearly paid for squandering countless chances as they remained even going into injury time. However, Yossi Benayoun drilled in the winner, powering the Merseyside club to the top of the Premier League (United retook the lead on Sunday). Dempsey was equally stagnant along with the rest of the Cottagers attack, yet Fulham still look to be safe from relegation as they hit the magic 40 point mark last week.
Up Next: Sunday, away to Manchester City.
Jonathan Spector, West Ham
vs. Sunderland, 2-0, 73 minutes.
Spector was playing very well on Saturday, helping the Hammers stake a 2-0 lead over the Black Cats, before an aerial collision forced the defender to be stretchered off the pitch. It seemed as though Spector may have lost consciousness as he was treated on the pitch for about 10 minutes before being carried off. Depending on the severity of his injury the defender could miss an extended period of time.
Up Next: Saturday, away to Tottenham.
Marcus Hahnemann, Reading
Hahnemann recorded his second straight clean sheet on Saturday, blanking Coventry City at Ricoh Arena, but the Royals couldn’t muster a goal either as the two clubs fought to a 0-0 draw. Reading’s power outage has knocked them out of the second spot as they now reside in third place, the first playoff position.
Eddie Johnson, Cardiff
Johnson came on late as Cardiff grabbed a late equalizer via Ross McCormack after the striker was brought down inside the box in the 90th minute. The club’s top scorer iced it from the spot to give the Bluebirds a point. Cardiff still holds a slim lead over Preston North End for the sixth and final playoff spot.
Jay DeMerit, Watford
Watford got a much needed victory on Saturday as they defeated Doncaster Rovers 1-2. DeMerit returned from an injury and played the entire contest.
Frank Simek, Sheffield Wednesday
Simek was on the bench but did not get on Saturday as Wednesday defeated Norwich City 0-1. The Owls still have an outside shot at the playoffs but they’ll most likely need to win their final five matches in order to make it.
Meanwhile Up In Scotland…
DaMarcus Beasley and Maurice Edu, Rangers
vs. Falkirk, 0-1, Edu played 14 minutes
Kris Boyd gave Rangers the winning goal in the ninth minute as the Glasgow outfit moved within three points of leaders Celtic in the Scottish Premier League. Edu came on in the second half and played well after replacing Lee McCulloch.
Up Next: Wednesday, away to St. Mirren and Saturday, home to Motherwell.
Discuss Americans playing abroad in the Goal.com Forums.
Matthew Braine's feature "Americans in the UK" appears every Monday on Goal.com. He can be reached at email@example.com