Americans Abroad weekend preview: Agudelo to debut in Europe, Howard ready for Merseyside derby
Juan Agudelo is set to make his debut for FC Utrecht, on loan from Stoke City following his move to Europe.
The 21-year-old isn’t able to play in England just yet, so he’s been sent out to the Netherlands to get playing time while his new parent club sit quietly until they can reapply for a work permit on his behalf.
Utrecht’s head of scouting Edwin de Kruijff called Agudelo “technically proficient” and “an all-round attacker with enormous quality.” The Dutch club will take on 15th-place Roda JC Kerkrade tomorrow at 1:45 ET.
Across the Eredivisie, Aron Johannsson has two goals in his last two matches and got AZ Alkmaar back on their winning ways last week after a 4-match losing streak. They take on PSV Eindhoven at 2:45 ET tomorrow in a pretty crucial mid-table battle. The winner will jump into 6th place in the table.
In the Premier League, Everton will play two matches in four days. Therefore, you may very well not see goalkeeper Tim Howard until their all-important Merseyside derby with Liverpool on Tuesday at 3:00 ET (watch on NBCSN or live on NBC Sports Live Extra). Joel Robles could deputize for the American on Saturday in the FA Cup against Stevenage.
Jozy Altidore could see a good amount of time this weekend as Sunderland also get two matches in a four-day span. With Altidore mostly relegated to substitute duties in recent weeks, he could see the starting lineup as the Black Cats take on fifth-division minnows Kidderminster on Saturday at 10:00 ET. Sunderland continue on Tuesday in Premier League action as they host Geoff Cameron‘s Stoke City.
Cameron has surely impressed Stoke boss Mark Hughes, and he’s been rewarded handsomely. The 28-year-old Massachusetts product has played every minute of the Potters’ season since October 26, adding up to 1,890 of their 1,980 Premier League minutes (and 2,160 of their 2,340 minutes across all competitions). They look to get out of a rut, having dropped four of their last five, scoring just six times over that span and conceding 16.
Cameron’s Stoke teammate Brek Shea is resting until Tuesday when his current home Barndlsey will continue in the Championship against Blackburn at 2:45 ET. He has yet to go the full 90 for his loan club.
Fulham’s Clint Dempsey could also be watching their FA Cup tie on Sunday from the bench, with the Cottagers playing twice in just three days, although with Rene Meulensteen looking for Dempsey to get as many minutes as possible, he could also see time in both. However, the Dutch manager has firmly stated their relegation battle is much more important than the FA Cup battle with Sheffield United at 8:00am ET, so Dempsey could be saved for their extremely important match with Swansea in the league on Tuesday at 2:45 ET.
Clint’s had a rough go in his first few matches back with Fulham, but he’s seen little service in the attack in a 4-1 loss to Sunderland and a 2-0 defeat to league-leading Arsenal.
Aston Villa fell in the FA Cup last round to Sheffield United, so Brad Guzan gets the weekend off, with Villa scheduled to host West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday at 2:45 ET. The 29-year-0ld has been a bright spot for his club this season, and will look to take advantage of West Brom’s struggles of late.
Alejandro Bedoya has a very important bounce-back match to look forward to against Ligue 1’s seventh-place Stade Reims. Bedoya’s Nantes were destroyed 5-0 by league-leaders PSG last week. The American was a 30th minute substitute for an injured Jordan Veretout with his team down 1-0, and it got way worse from there. This week though, if Nantes can put the performance behind them, a win could see them lead Marseille for sixth, although a loss would mean Stade Reims would jump ahead of them.
With the Bundesliga back in action this weekend, Jermaine Jones will try to cement his place in the Schalke lineup as rumors of his exit have quieted in recent weeks. New Schalke signing Jan Kirchhoff, on loan from Bayern Munich, was supposed to pip Jones as he looked to leave, but Kirchhoff suffered a relatively serious ankle injury soon after arriving. Schalke travel to Hamburg on Sunday at 11:30 ET.
Anderlecht are in the midst of a very heated 2nd place battle in the Belgian Jupiler Pro League, and Sacha Kljestan figures to be a big part of it. Stade Rennais have run away with the league title, but with two fixtures to go in the season, three teams including Kljestan’s Anderlecht are all square on 44 points. They host Club Brugge - one of the other teams on 44 points - on Sunday at noon.
In Mexico, Hercules Gomez, Edgar Castillo, and Joe Corona take the field for Tijuana in the fourth match of the Clausura at 10:00 ET tonight against Morelia. DaMarcus Beasley and Michael Orozco will play for Puebla against Chiapas at 1:00 ET on Sunday, although Orozco has struggled to find the pitch of late.
Tune back in on Monday for a full recap of the weekend’s action and a closer look at the midweek Premier League fixtures.