Tuesday November 30th, 2010

During a weekend when most Americans were giving thanks, one soccer team in England once again showered thanks upon its star American.

Clint Dempsey came to Fulham's rescue one more time, scoring the equalizer in the 53rd minute of the Cottagers' 1-1 draw with Birmingham on Saturday.

Without Dempsey, it's unclear how dire the situation would be at Craven Cottage. Amid a rash of injuries to attacking players, Dempsey has stepped up and become the clear-cut No. 1 offensive option for manager Mark Hughes, scoring five of his six goals this season in league play. Even with that, Fulham is tiptoeing the relegation line, just a point clear of the drop zone.

All of Dempsey's goals this season have helped net points for Fulham. In addition to his one over the weekend, he scored both goals in a 2-0 victory over Wigan, the opening goal of a 1-1 draw with West Ham and the equalizer in a 1-1 draw with Blackburn.

Scoring crucial goals for Fulham is nothing new for Dempsey. His goal in 2007 against Liverpool rescued Fulham from relegation, and his wonder-chip against Juventus in last year's UEFA Europa League capped a wild comeback and booked Fulham a place in the quarterfinals. Hughes and the Fulham faithful certainly hope the clutch moments keep on coming.

On the other end of the spectrum, there wasn't much to be thankful for among the contingent of American goalkeepers in England.

Aston Villa's Brad Friedel and Everton's Tim Howard each uncharacteristically yielded four goals in disappointing losses, and Marcus Hahnemann was overlooked by Wolverhampton coach Mick McCarthy for the first time in league play this season, watching Wolves' victory over Sunderland from the bench.

"Marcus has been brilliant and was a terrific influence for us last year," McCarthy said on Wolves' team Web site. "I just thought it was time to give Wayne [Hennessey] a chance."

McCarthy hinted that Hennessey, who was Wolves' No. 1 keeper until Hahnemann wrestled the job away from him last season, would get another shot at starting as the team continues its quest for its first clean sheet of the season. With the rumors of the 38-year-old Hahnemann's return to Major League Soccer swirling around Stateside, one has to wonder if his benching may speed up the process.

Here is how the quartet mentioned above and the rest of the Americans playing abroad fared over the past week (season statistics encompass all competitions):

Premier League

Clint Dempsey, M/F, Fulham - Started, played 90 minutes, picked up a yellow card and scored the equalizing goal in the 53rd minute of Fulham's 1-1 draw with Birmingham on Saturday. Dempsey leaped over a defender and scored on a short-range header after Zoltan Gera's initial header found him by the left post off a set piece. SEASON: 17 games, 14 starts, 6 goals

Brad Friedel, GK, Aston Villa - Started, played 90 minutes and made three saves in Villa's 4-2 loss to Arsenal on Saturday. SEASON: 16 games, 16 starts, 58 saves, 25 goals allowed, 4 clean sheets

Brad Guzan, GK, Aston Villa - In the 18-man gameday roster, did not play in Villa's 4-2 loss to Arsenal on Saturday. SEASON: 3 games, 3 starts, 12 saves, 5 goals allowed

Marcus Hahnemann, GK, Wolverhampton - In the 18, did not play in Wolves' 3-2 victory over Sunderland on Saturday. SEASON: 14 games, 14 starts, 45 saves, 25 goals allowed

Stuart Holden, M, Bolton - Not in the 18 for Bolton's 2-2 draw with Blackpool on Saturday. Holden picked up a thigh injury and failed a late fitness test before the match, but he isn't expected to miss much more time, if any. SEASON: 14 games, 13 starts, 1 goal

Tim Howard, GK, Everton - Started, played 90 minutes and made two saves in Everton's 4-1 loss to West Brom on Saturday. SEASON: 15 games, 15 starts, 35 saves, 19 goals allowed, 4 clean sheets

Eddie Johnson, F, Fulham - In the 18, came on as a 73rd-minute substitute in Fulham's 1-1 draw with Birmingham on Saturday. SEASON: 8 games, 1 start

Eric Lichaj, D, Aston Villa - In the 18, did not play in Villa's 4-2 loss to Arsenal on Saturday. SEASON: 5 games, 3 starts

Jonathan Spector, D, West Ham - Not in the 18 for West Ham's 3-1 victory over Wigan Athletic on Saturday. SEASON: 2 games, 2 starts

Championship

Conor Doyle, F, Derby County - In the 18, did not play in Derby County's 2-1 loss to Burnley on Saturday. SEASON: 8 games, 2 starts

Zak Whitbread, D, Norwich City - Not in the 18 for Norwich City's 4-1 victory over Ipswich Town on Sunday. SEASON: 0 games

League One

Mike Grella, F, Carlisle United - Started, played 64 minutes in Carlisle's 1-1 draw with Rochdale on Tuesday. Grella was not in the 18 for Carlisle's 3-2 victory over Tamworth in the second round of the FA Cup on Saturday. He is still prevented from being cup-tied to Carlisle by parent club Leeds United. SEASON: 9 games, 6 starts, 3 goals

Jemal Johnson, M, Milton Keynes Dons - In the 18, came on as a 65th-minute substitute in Milton Keynes Dons' 4-1 loss to Huddersfield Town on Tuesday. SEASON: 15 games, 5 starts, 1 goal

Anton Peterlin, M, Plymouth Argyle - Not in the 18 for Plymouth Argyle's 2-1 victory over Dagenham & Redbridge on Tuesday. SEASON: 5 games, 4 starts

Frank Simek, D, Carlisle United - Started, played 90 minutes in Carlisle's 1-1 draw with Rochdale on Tuesday. Simek also started and played 90 minutes in Carlisle's 3-2 victory over Tamworth in the second round of the FA Cup on Saturday. SEASON: 21 games, 21 starts

La Liga

Jozy Altidore, F, Villarreal - In the 18, did not play in Villarreal's 3-0 victory over Real Zaragoza on Saturday. SEASON: 9 games, 6 starts, 2 goals

Serie A

Oguchi Onyewu, D, AC Milan - Not on the UEFA Champions League roster for Milan, which defeated AJ Auxerre 2-0 in their group stage match on Tuesday. With the win, Milan clinched a berth in the knockout stage. Onyewu was also not in the 18 for Milan's 1-1 draw with Sampdoria in league play on Saturday. SEASON: 0 games

Bundesliga

DaMarcus Beasley, M, Hannover 96 - In the 18, came on as an 84th-minute substitute in Hannover's 3-0 victory over SC Freiburg on Saturday. SEASON: 4 games

Michael Bradley, M, Borussia Monchengladbach - Started, played 90 minutes in Monchengladbach's 4-1 loss to Borussia Dortmund on Saturday. SEASON: 16 games, 16 starts, 3 goals

Steve Cherundolo, D, Hannover 96 - Started, played 90 minutes in Hannover's 3-0 victory over SC Freiburg on Saturday. SEASON: 14 games, 14 starts

Ricardo Clark, M, Eintracht Frankfurt - In the 18, did not play in Frankfurt's 4-1 loss to Bayern Munich on Saturday. SEASON: 3 games

Jermaine Jones, M, FC Schalke 04 - Started, played 70 minutes and picked up a yellow card in Schalke's 3-0 victory over Lyon in their UEFA Champions League group stage match on Wednesday. The victory, coupled with Hapoel Tel Aviv's win over Benfica, secured a place in the knockout stage for Schalke. Jones also started, played 45 minutes and picked up a yellow card in Schalke's 5-0 loss to Kaiserslautern in league play on Saturday. Coach Felix Magath sent Jones (along with two other teammates) to the reserves, citing his unhappiness with their effort and commitment. SEASON: 16 games, 15 starts, 1 goal

Daniel Williams, D, SC Freiburg - In the 18, did not play in Freiburg's 3-0 loss to Hannover 96 on Saturday. SEASON: 5 games, 2 starts

2. Bundesliga

Luis Robles, GK, Karlsruhe SC - Started, played 90 minutes, made one save and earned the clean sheet in Karlsruhe's 4-0 victory over RW Oberhausen on Sunday. SEASON: 8 games, 8 starts, 28 saves, 14 goals allowed, 2 clean sheets

Dave Yelldell, GK, MSV Duisburg - Started, played 90 minutes, made one save and earned the clean sheet in Duisburg's 2-0 victory over Hertha Berlin on Saturday. SEASON: 16 games, 16 starts, 40 saves, 12 goals allowed, 7 clean sheets

3. Liga

Matt Taylor, F, Rot Weiss Ahlen - Started, played 70 minutes in Rot Weiss Ahlen's 4-0 loss to Rot Weiss Erfurt on Saturday. SEASON: 11 games, 11 starts, 7 goals

Ligue 1

Carlos Bocanegra, D, St. Etienne - Started, played 90 minutes in St. Etienne's 1-1 draw with Nancy on Saturday. SEASON: 11 games, 11 starts

Charlie Davies, F, FC Sochaux - Not in the 18 for Sochaux's 3-0 victory over Caen on Sunday. SEASON: 0 games

Eerste Klasse

Sacha Kljestan, M, RSC Anderlecht - Started, played 90 minutes and picked up a yellow card in Anderlecht's 4-1 victory over Charleroi on Saturday. SEASON: 15 games, 12 starts, 3 goals

Liga de Honra

Bryan Arguez, M, G.D. Estoril Praia - Not in the 18 for Estoril's 1-0 loss to Leixoes on Sunday. SEASON: 1 game, 1 start

Greg Garza, D, G.D. Estoril Praia - Not in the 18 for Estoril's 1-0 loss to Leixoes on Sunday. Garza was on international duty with the U.S. Under-20 team in the Torneo de las Americas over the weekend. He started and played 90 minutes in games against Colombia and Mexico at the Kennesaw, Ga., tournament. SEASON: 0 games

Tony Taylor, F, G.D. Estoril Praia - In the 18, came on as a 79th-minute substitute in Estoril's 1-0 loss to Leixoes on Sunday. SEASON: 11 games, 2 starts, 3 goals

Premier League

Dominic Cervi, GK, Celtic FC - Not in the 18 for Celtic's 2-2 draw with Inverness Caledonian Thistle on Saturday. SEASON: 0 games

Maurice Edu, M, Rangers FC - Not in the 18 for Rangers' 1-0 loss to Manchester United in their UEFA Champions League group stage match on Wednesday. The loss, coupled with Valencia's trouncing of Bursaspor, eliminated Rangers from knockout-stage contention. Should Rangers wind up as a third-place finisher in the group, it would be entered in the UEFA Europa League's Round of 32. Rangers' scheduled league match for Sunday against Dundee United was suspended to a later date. Edu (knee injury) is nearing his return to the lineup. SEASON: 17 games, 15 starts, 2 goals

Super League

Freddy Adu, F, Aris Salonika - Not in the 18 for Aris' 1-0 loss to Panserraikos on Sunday. Adu is still training with FC Randers in Denmark, though no move to the club is imminent. SEASON: 0 games

Primera Division

Michael Hoyos, M, Estudiantes La Plata - In the 18, did not play in Estudiantes' 2-1 victory over Independiente on Sunday. SEASON: 10 games, 6 starts, 1 goal

Superliga

Michael Parkhurst, D, FC Nordsjaelland - Started, played 90 minutes in Nordsjaelland's 1-1 draw with Sonderjyske on Sunday. SEASON: 16 games, 15 starts

Chris Rolfe, F, Aalborg BK - Not in the 18 for Aalborg's 0-0 draw with Horsens on Monday. SEASON: 0 games

Danish First Division

Benny Feilhaber, M, AGF Aarhus - The First Division is on break until March. Through 16 games of its 30-match schedule, Aarhus is atop the league table, five points clear of second-place Vejle, as it seeks promotion to the Superliga. SEASON: 19 games, 18 starts, 7 goals

Avi Creditor is a freelance writer based in Washington, D.C.

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