Tuesday January 25th, 2011

In a banner week for Americans in England, the one player who scored two goals might have turned in the third-most notable performance.

Clint Dempsey's brace against Stoke City -- and the fact that he set a personal-best in goals for one season abroad -- would steal the headlines almost every other week, but considering Jonathan Spector's continued good form and Jermaine Jones' Premier League debut, that might not be the case this time.

Spector earned another start in central midfield for West Ham and tallied his fourth goal in nine games (across all competitions) by scoring the opening goal of the Hammers' 2-2 draw against Tim Howard's Everton. Spector's renaissance as a midfielder is certainly the surprise of the season, but perhaps West Ham manager Avram Grant spotted something that we all should have seen beforehand.

As a right back, Spector's attacking qualities were what really gave him value. His crosses from the right were paramount to the United States' success at the 2009 Confederations Cup, and now that he's been given the chance to focus with an attack-centric mindset, Spector is reviving his career as an aggressive contributor in the center of the pitch.

In the United States national team pecking order at central midfield, Spector still lags behind, among others, Jones, who was mercifully loaned from parent-club Schalke after an inactive spell of almost two months and played 90 minutes in his first match for Blackburn. Jones' play drew rave reviews from Rovers manager Steve Kean, and the hard-tackling, smooth-passing midfielder should be a fixture in the starting XI for the foreseeable future.

Although Jones will miss out on Schalke's ongoing UEFA Champions League quest, the fact that he'll be getting prime minutes for a team competing for a spot in next season's European competitions should keep his place on Bob Bradley's Gold Cup roster secure.

Outside of England, but equally as noteworthy:

Oguchi Onyewu, who is still just 15 months removed from a major knee injury, received his first action on the club level since September 2009, going the distance in both of FC Twente's matches this past week in the Netherlands. Michael Bradley was relegated to the role of late-game substitute for the second consecutive match as Borussia Monchengladbach fights a more-serious case of relegation in the Bundesliga.

Former Los Angeles Galaxy striker Edson Buddle scored a goal in his debut with FC Ingolstadt 04 in Germany's second division.

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

Premier League

Clint Dempsey, M/F, Fulham - Started, played 90 minutes and scored both goals in Fulham's 2-0 victory over Stoke City on Saturday. Dempsey got onto the end of an Andrew Johnson cross and touched home the opening goal from short range in the 33rd minute. He then drew a penalty on Ryan Shawcross in the 54th minute and scored on the ensuing spot kick to double the Cottagers' lead. His eight league goals mark a new career high. SEASON: 26 games, 23 starts, 9 goals

Brad Friedel, GK, Aston Villa - Started, played 90 minutes, made three saves and earned the clean sheet in Villa's 1-0 victory over Manchester City on Saturday. SEASON: 25 games, 25 starts, 79 saves, 41 goals allowed, 5 clean sheets

Marcus Hahnemann, GK, Wolverhampton - Started, played 90 minutes, made two saves and earned the clean sheet in Wolves' 5-0 victory over Doncaster Rovers in their FA Cup third-round replay on Tuesday. Hahnemann was in the 18 but did not play in Wolves' 3-0 loss to Liverpool in league play on Saturday. SEASON: 16 games, 16 starts, 50 saves, 27 goals allowed, 1 clean sheet

Stuart Holden, M, Bolton - Started, played 87 minutes in Bolton's 4-0 loss to Chelsea on Monday. SEASON: 20 games, 19 starts, 2 goals

Tim Howard, GK, Everton - Started, played 90 minutes and made three saves in Everton's 2-2 draw with West Ham on Saturday. SEASON: 24 games, 24 starts, 65 saves, 30 goals allowed, 5 clean sheets

Eddie Johnson, F, Fulham - Not in the 18 for Fulham's 2-0 victory over Stoke City on Saturday. SEASON: 12 games, 1 start

Jermaine Jones, M, Blackburn - Started, played 90 minutes in Blackburn's 2-0 victory over West Brom on Sunday. SEASON: 17 games, 16 starts, 1 goal

Eric Lichaj, D, Aston Villa - Not in the 18 for Villa's 1-0 victory over Manchester City on Saturday. SEASON: 8 games, 6 starts

Jonathan Spector, M/D, West Ham - Started, played 90 minutes and scored the opening goal of West Ham's 2-2 draw with Everton on Saturday. Spector, starting in central midfield again, was the beneficiary of some excellent misdirection by the West Ham attack, as Luis Boa Morte drew Tim Howard out of the goal with a strong run down the left and picked out an unmarked Spector, who was trailing the play, in the center of the box. The American confidently finished into an empty net for his first goal in league play this season. SEASON: 11 games, 10 starts, 4 goals

Championship

Conor Doyle, F, Derby County - Not in the 18 for Derby County's 1-0 loss to Nottingham Forest on Saturday. SEASON: 11 games, 4 starts

Robbie Findley, F, Nottingham Forest - Not in the 18 for Nottingham Forest's 1-0 victory over Derby County on Saturday. Findley was reportedly delayed in getting his final visa and wasn't eligible for the match. SEASON: 0 games

Mike Grella, F, Leeds United - Not in the 18 for Leeds' 2-2 draw with Portsmouth on Saturday. Grella had a prospective loan to Scottish club Motherwell for the remainder of the season nullified by a FIFA rule that stipulates a player can only play for two teams in a given season. Grella's first loan of the season, to Carlisle United, was an emergency loan, which both Motherwell and Leeds did not think would count against him. He also featured in one match for Leeds earlier this season. SEASON: 12 games, 7 starts, 3 goals

Brad Guzan, GK, Hull City - Started, played 90 minutes and made four saves in Hull City's 1-1 draw with Reading on Saturday. SEASON: 7 games, 7 starts, 31 saves, 9 goals allowed, 1 clean sheet

Zak Whitbread, D, Norwich City - Started, played 86 minutes in Norwich City's 2-1 victory over Sheffield United on Saturday. SEASON: 5 games, 4 starts

League One

Anton Peterlin, M, Plymouth Argyle - In the 18, did not play in Plymouth Argyle's 3-1 victory over Milton Keynes Dons on Tuesday. Peterlin was also in the 18 but did not play in Plymouth Argyle's 2-0 loss to Charlton Athletic on Saturday. SEASON: 5 games, 4 starts

Frank Simek, D, Carlisle United - Started, played 90 minutes in Carlisle's 4-0 victory over Huddersfield Town in the first leg of the Football League Trophy North Sectional finals on Tuesday. Simek also started and played 90 minutes in Carlisle's 1-0 victory over Notts County in league play on Saturday. SEASON: 29 games, 29 starts

League Two

Jon-Paul Pittman, F, Wycombe Wanderers - Started, played 63 minutes and scored two goals in Wycombe's 4-0 victory over Burnham in the quarterfinals of the Berks & Bucks Cup, a 13-team tournament fielding mostly non-league teams. Pittman returned a couple of weeks ahead of schedule after tearing a knee tendon in September and netted a brace in his first match back. He was also in the 18 but did not play in Wycombe's 1-0 victory over Rotherham in league play on Saturday. SEASON: 6 games, 3 starts, 2 goals

La Liga

Jozy Altidore, F, Villarreal - Started, played 62 minutes in Villarreal's 3-0 loss to Sevilla in the second leg of its Copa del Rey quarterfinal tie on Tuesday. Altidore had two good chances on goal, firing over the bar from 18 yards and having a snap-header from inside the area saved. Villarreal was eliminated from the tournament by Sevilla on aggregate, 6-3. Altidore was in the 18 but did not play in Villarreal's 2-1 victory over Real Sociedad in league play on Sunday. SEASON: 13 games, 7 starts, 2 goals

Bundesliga

DaMarcus Beasley, M, Hannover 96 - Not in the 18 for Hannover's 1-0 loss to Schalke 04 on Saturday. SEASON: 4 games

Michael Bradley, M, Borussia Monchengladbach - In the 18, came on as an 86th-minute substitute in Monchengladbach's 3-1 loss to Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday. SEASON: 22 games, 20 starts, 4 goals

Steve Cherundolo, D, Hannover 96 - Started, played 90 minutes in Hannover's 1-0 loss to Schalke 04 on Saturday. SEASON: 19 games, 19 starts

Ricardo Clark, M/D, Eintracht Frankfurt - Started, played 90 minutes at center back in Frankfurt's 1-0 loss to Hamburg SV on Friday. It was the second straight match that Clark started at the position. SEASON: 7 games, 4 starts

Daniel Williams, D, SC Freiburg - Not in the 18 for Freiburg's 1-1 draw with Nurnberg on Saturday. SEASON: 5 games, 2 starts

2. Bundesliga

Edson Buddle, F, FC Ingolstadt 04 - Started, played 88 minutes and scored a 78th-minute goal in Ingolstadt's 1-1 draw with MSV Duisburg on Friday. Buddle, who almost scored right before halftime on a short-range header, side-volleyed home a six-yard blast off a failed clearance from a corner kick to open the scoring. SEASON: 1 game, 1 start, 1 goal

Luis Robles, GK, Karlsruhe SC - Started, played 90 minutes and made five saves in Karlsruhe's 4-2 loss to Alemania Aachen on Saturday. SEASON: 13 games, 13 starts, 50 saves, 23 goals allowed, 3 clean sheets

Bobby Wood, F, TSV 1860 Munich - In the 18, did not play in Munich's 1-0 victory over VfL Osnabruck on Friday. The appearance on the bench for Wood, a U.S. Under-20 forward, marked his first match with Munich's first team. SEASON: 0 games

Dave Yelldell, GK, MSV Duisburg - Started, played 90 minutes and made four saves in Duisburg's 1-1 draw with FC Ingolstadt 04 on Friday. SEASON: 22 games, 22 starts, 56 saves, 19 goals allowed, 8 clean sheets

3. Liga

Matt Taylor, F, Rot Weiss Ahlen - Started, played 90 minutes and scored on a 59th-minute penalty kick in Rot Weiss Ahlen's 3-2 loss to Koblenz on Saturday. SEASON: 12 games, 12 starts, 8 goals

Ligue 1

Carlos Bocanegra, D, St. Etienne - St. Etienne didn't have a match this past week and hosts Toulouse on Saturday. SEASON: 18 games, 18 starts, 1 goal

Charlie Davies, F, FC Sochaux - Not in the 18 for Sochaux's 2-1 victory over Paris FC in the Coupe de France on Friday. SEASON: 0 games

Eredivisie

Oguchi Onyewu, D, FC Twente Enschede - Started, played 90 minutes and contributed at left back in Twente's 5-0 victory over SC Heracles Almelo on Wednesday. Onyewu also started, played 90 minutes and picked up a yellow card in Twente's 2-1 victory over FC Groningen on Sunday. SEASON: 2 games, 2 starts

Eerste Klasse

Sacha Kljestan, M, RSC Anderlecht - In the 18, did not play in Anderlecht's 2-0 victory over Standard Liege on Sunday. SEASON: 21 games, 18 starts, 3 goals

Liga de Honra

Bryan Arguez, M, G.D. Estoril Praia - Not in the 18 for Estoril's 2-2 draw with Naval 1° Maio in its League Cup group match on Wednesday or for Estoril's 1-1 draw with Belenenses in league play on Saturday. SEASON: 1 game, 1 start

Greg Garza, D, G.D. Estoril Praia - Not in the 18 for Estoril's 2-2 draw with Naval 1° Maio in its League Cup group match on Wednesday or for Estoril's 1-1 draw with Belenenses in league play on Saturday. SEASON: 1 game

Tony Taylor, F, G.D. Estoril Praia - Started, played 90 minutes in Estoril's 2-2 draw with Naval 1° Maio in its League Cup group match on Wednesday. Taylor was in the 18 and came on as an 87th-minute substitute in Estoril's 1-1 draw with Belenenses in league play on Saturday. SEASON: 16 games, 3 starts, 4 goals

Premier League

Dominic Cervi, GK, Celtic FC - Not in the 18 for Celtic's 1-0 victory over Aberdeen on Saturday. Cervi was still on international duty with the U.S. national team, though he was not included on the match roster for Saturday's 1-1 draw with Chile. SEASON: 0 games

Maurice Edu, M, Rangers FC - In the 18, came on as an 80th-minute substitute in Rangers' 1-0 victory over Inverness Caledonian Thistle on Tuesday. Edu returned to the starting lineup and played 75 minutes in Rangers' 1-0 loss to Hearts of Midlothian on Saturday. SEASON: 21 games, 16 starts, 3 goals

Primera Division

Daniel Antunez, M/D, Estudiantes Tecos - In the 18, did not play in Tecos' 2-0 loss to Puebla on Sunday. SEASON: 1 game, 1 start

Jonathan Bornstein, M/D, Tigres UANL - Started, played 55 minutes in Tigres' 2-1 victory over America on Sunday. SEASON: 2 games, 2 starts

Edgar Castillo, D, Puebla - Not in the 18 for Puebla's 2-0 victory over Estudiantes Tecos on Sunday. SEASON: 2 games, 2 starts

Herculez Gomez, F, Pachuca - In the 18, came on as an 86th-minute substitute in Pachuca's 1-1 draw with Santos on Saturday. SEASON: 3 games

Sonny Guadarrama, M, Atlante - In the 18, came on as an 81st-minute substitute in Atlante's 1-0 loss to Monterrey on Saturday. SEASON: 2 games

Sammy Ochoa, F, Estudiantes Tecos - Not in the 18 for Tecos' 2-0 loss to Puebla on Sunday. SEASON: 0 games

Jose Francisco Torres, M, Pachuca - In the 18, did not play in Pachuca's 1-1 draw with Santos on Saturday. SEASON: 1 game

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

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