By Matthew Braine
The international break couldn’t come at a better time for the Americans in the UK. Only one American played in a winning league match for his squad last week and that was Jemal Johnson against Brighton. Every other American either participated in a draw or didn’t get involved at all.
However, if you peak through the cracks of last week’s rough league run, you can see two Premiership squads succeeding on the European level. Everton came back from 1-0 down and defeated BATE Borisov 1-2. Howard played well after being stunned by an early 30-yard strike. The Toffees have now won their first two group matches and sit in pole position. Meanwhile, Fulham handled FC Basel 1-0, giving them four points and the top spot in their group.
Tim Howard, Everton
Vs. BATE Borisov, 1-2, (90 minutes, 3 saves, 1 goal conceded)
Vs. Stoke City, 1-1, (90 minutes, 4 saves, 1 goal conceded)
Everton continue to look sharp in Europe, winning another contest on Thursday. Despite BATE’s Dmitry Likhtarovich’s 16th minute wonder strike from 30-yards out, the Toffees remained strong and completed a late comeback to secure all three points.
Marouane Fellaini scored his first goal of the season in the 68th minute before Tim Cahill completed the scoring in the 77th with a short winner. Howard was bamboozled by the first goal but kept everything clear the rest of the way. Come Sunday, the Toffees seemed less sharp, drawing 1-1 with Stoke.
After a scoreless first half, Stoke’s Robert Huth powered home a header in the 50th minute. Leon Osman leveled for Everton just five minutes later but the squad did not create much the rest of the way, settling for a draw after a run of five successive victories in all competitions.
Up Next: Saturday, 10/17 home against Wolverhampton.
Anton Peterlin and Cody Arnoux, Everton.
Vs. Blackburn Reserves, 0-3, (Peterlin, 18 minutes, Arnoux, DNP)
Steven Reid, David Hoilett, and Aaron Doran all scored for Rovers as they easily dispatched the Everton Reserves on Tuesday. Peterlin came on with 18 minutes remaining but didn’t do any damage. The lone bright spot for the Toffees was young striker Jose Baxter who at least challenged Blackburn at times.
Up Next: Tuesday, home against Manchester United Reserves.
Brad Friedel and Brad Guzan, Aston Villa
Up Next: Monday, 10/5 home against Manchester City and 10/17 home against Chelsea.
Eric Lichaj, Aston Villa
Vs. Fulham Reserves, 0-3, (90 minutes)
Lichaj once again played a valuable role in the Villa defense, helping the Reserves blank Fulham at Motspur Park. Barry Bannan scored first before Andreas Weimann notched a brace to seal the route. Villa has now opened their Reserve League South campaign with four straight victories.
Up Next: Wednesday, home against Wolverhampton Reserves.
Clint Dempsey, Fulham
Vs. FC Basel, 1-0, (90 minutes)
Vs. West Ham United, 2-2, (84 minutes)
On Thursday, Fulham took the top spot in their Europa group with a 1-0 win over FC Basel. A 57th minute goal from Danny Murphy sealed all three points for the hosts. Dempsey nearly scored early into the second half but his strong drive went just wide of goal. On Sunday, Fulham fought back from 1-0 and a man down at the half and eventually grabbed a 2-2 draw at Upton Park.
After Carlton Cole opened the scoring early for West Ham, Kagisho Dikgacoi was sent off in the 41st minute, giving the hosts a distinct advantage. However, Fulham rallied and when Diomansy Kamara was pulled down by Matthew Upson, Danny Murphy was there to convert the spot kick in the 47th minute. Zolton Gera tallied just 10 minutes later, completing the comeback.
Three points were not to be however, as Junior Stanislas scored two minutes into stoppage time to ensure a split in points.
Up Next: Monday, 10/19 home against Hull City. .
Eddie Johnson, Fulham
Vs. West Ham United, 2-2, (8 minutes)
Johnson was introduced in the 82nd minute on Sunday but did not do too much damage as the Cottagers drew on the road.
Jonathan Spector, West Ham
Vs. Fulham, 2-2, (DNP)
Spector was on the substitutes list for Sunday’s contest but did not get on as the Hammers drew with Fulham 2-2. The London club missed out on a chance to secure their second victory of the season but managed to secure a point thanks to a late goal from Stanislas.
The Hammers played with a one man advantage for a majority of the contest but coughed up a 1-0 halftime lead, only to salvage some dignity late.
Up Next: Saturday, 10/17 away to Stoke City.
Marcus Hahnemann, Wolverhampton
Vs. Portsmouth, 0-1, (DNP)
Hahnemann played the back-up role as Pompey notched their first win of the season at Molineux Stadium. Hassan Yebda scored in the 19th minute to give the visitors a much needed win after starting the season with seven straight defeats. Wolves aren’t looking much better, as they sit in 17th position.
Up Next: Saturday, 10/17 away to Everton.
Jozy Altidore, Hull City
Vs. Wigan Athletic, 2-1, (DNP)
Hull’s season looked as those it was tail spinning but on Saturday the Tigers delayed the crash, grabbing a vital 2-1 over Wigan. Jan Vennegoor scored a nice second half header before Marcio Geovanni put in strong effort just eight minutes later.
Scott Sinclair scored a consolation goal three minutes from time but Hull walked away with all three points. Altidore did not get on as the hosts looked to clamp down on their defensive efforts late.
Up Next: Monday, 10/19 away to Fulham.
Jay DeMerit, Watford
Vs. Coventry City, 2-3, (DNP)
Vs. Cardiff City, 0-4, (DNP)
DeMerit, still sidelined by that bizarre eye injury, was sorely missed on Saturday as Watford gave up four goals in a loss to Cardiff. The Bluebirds were firing on all cylinders and the Watford defense certainly looked like they were missing a key link in their chain. Watford also fell on Tuesday, as City’s Leon Best’s second half brace put down the hosts.
Up Next: Saturday, 10/17 away to Middlesbrough.
Frank Simek, Sheffield Wednesday
Vs. Crystal Palace, 0-0, (DNP)
Vs. Derby County, 3-0, (DNP)
Derby easily handled Wednesday on Saturday, blanking the visitors 3-0. Simek was on the bench but did not get on. The same can be said for Tuesday’s 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace. The defender came into the season hoping to win back a starting position but hasn’t even received consistent playing time yet. He’s played in two Carling Cup fixtures but has yet to appear in league play.
Up Next: Saturday, 10/17 home against Coventry City.
Jemal Johnson, Milton Keynes Dons
Vs. Oldham Athletic, 2-1, (54 minutes)
Vs. Brighton, 0-1, (90 minutes)
On Tuesday, Johnson came on early for Luke Chadwick but he, along with the rest of the Dons, looked sluggish as Oldham won easily 2-1. Only a Dean Brill own goal could give the visitors any consolation and despite a late push, an equalizer was not to be found.
Against Brighton on Saturday, Jermaine Easter scored the only goal during the win. A Jemal Johnson corner was poorly cleared by the defense, allowing Easter to pounce just after halftime.
Up Next: Tuesday, home against Southend United (Johnstone’s Paint Trophy), Saturday, home against Wallsall, and Saturday, 10/17 home against Gillingham.
Mike Grella, Leeds United
Vs. Carlisle United, 1-1, (DNP)
Vs. Charlton Athletic, 0-0, (11 minutes)
Despite not winning last week, Leeds remained undefeated in league play this season. On Tuesday, Grella did not get on as Carlisle’s Scott Dobie cancelled out Jermaine Beckford’s opener. Grella came on late for Leeds on Saturday but could not find a winner or a shot attempt as both teams shot blanks in the 0-0 draw.
Up Next: Tuesday, home against Darlington, (Johnstone’s Paint Trophy) and Monday, 10/19 home against Norwich City.
John-Paul Pittman, Wycombe Wanderers
Vs. Tranmere Rovers, 0-1, (83 minutes)
Vs. Leyton Orient, 0-1, (19 minutes)
Pittman played in both of last week’s contests but Wycombe looked ugly in both, dropping each fixture. Wycombe hasn’t won since late August and have just one league victory in 11 tries this season.
Up Next: Saturday, away to Gillingham, and Saturday, 10/17 home against Colchester United.
Ian Joyce, Southend United
Vs. Brentford, 2-1, (DNP)
Vs.Stockport County, 0-2, (DNP)
Joyce did not play in either of last week’s contests, playing the back-up role but could see time during this week’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy fixture.
Up Next: Tuesday, away to MK Dons (Johnstone’s Paint Trophy), Friday, home against Southampton, and Saturday, 10/17 home against Bristol Rovers.
Meanwhile Up In Scotland…
DaMarcus Beasley and Maurice Edu, Rangers
Vs. Sevilla, 1-4, (DNP)
Vs. Celtic, 2-1, (DNP)
On Tuesday, Rangers were embarrassed at home against Sevilla, allowing four goals. Only Nacho Novo scored for the hosts, and that was in the 88th minute, well after the win was in hand for the Spanish club. Rangers settled the Old Firm clash on Sunday with an exciting 2-1 win over Celtic.
Kenny Miller’s double within the first 16 minutes was enough although Aiden McGeady did tally in the 25th minute for Celtic. Both Beasley and Edu were MIA. Edu at least has an injury excuse. Beasley’s frustrations must be at a fever pitch given his small sample size of playing time thus far.
Up Next: Saturday, 10/17 away to St. Johnstone.
Matthew Braine's "Americans In The UK" runs every Monday on Goal.com.
If you like to keep an eye on all the Americans who play abroad, visit Goal.com's Americans Abroad section for more!