Tuesday April 12th, 2011

All the rumblings about Juan Agudelo and Teal Bunbury being the future, and perhaps even the present, of the United States forward corps must have ignited quite the fire under a couple of goal-starved American strikers this past week.

U.S. World Cup strikers Jozy Altidore and Herculez Gomez ended extensive goal droughts with impressive tallies over the weekend and allayed some fears and worries among national team fans in the process.

There's no argument regarding which striker needed a goal more for his confidence and international hopes. While Gomez, 29, could always play himself back into the national-team fray with a blazing run of form (See: Mexican Clausura, 2010), Altidore, 21, is supposed to be the steady foundation atop the U.S. formation for years to come.

One goal hardly cements Altidore's return to form, but it does provide a much-needed building block. While playing for parent club Villarreal, Altidore scored in each leg of the team's Copa del Rey Round of 32 tie with third-tier Polideportivo Ejido this past October and November. It had been a blank slate for him since then for both club and country.

It's not like Altidore didn't understand the ramifications of his slump. After the United States' 1-0 loss to Paraguay a couple of weeks ago, he tweeted, "Need to improve, gotta get my mojo back."

For those in need of evidence that Saturday's goal for Bursaspor meant something special to Altidore, watch a highlight of the play and check out Altidore's celebration. As he leaps over the advertising boards to head toward the crowd, a bag of bricks actually falls off his back.

Figuratively, anyway. It's clear that a weight had been lifted.

As for Gomez, he notched an impressive brace to tally his first goals since September. His close-range header and wondrous free kick lifted his team to an important result as it tries to keep pace with a relatively even Group B in the Mexican Clausura.

Altidore and Gomez weren't the only Americans to find the back of the net this week, either. Alejandro Bedoya scored a game-winner for his club in Sweden; Edgar Castillo rescued a point for Puebla in Mexico with some instant offense off the bench; and Jon-Paul Pittman continued his solid second half of the season with another goal in England's League Two.

Here is how all of the Americans playing abroad -- goal scorers and non-goal scorers alike -- fared over the past week (statistics encompass all competitions):

Premier League

Michael Bradley, M, Aston Villa - Not in the 18 for Villa's 1-0 victory over Newcastle on Sunday. SEASON: 24 games, 21 starts, 4 goals

Clint Dempsey, M/F, Fulham - Started, played 90 minutes in Fulham's 2-0 loss to Manchester United on Saturday. SEASON: 37 games, 34 starts, 11 goals

Brad Friedel, GK, Aston Villa - Started, played 90 minutes, made seven saves and earned the clean sheet in Villa's 1-0 victory over Newcastle on Sunday. SEASON: 36 games, 36 starts, 116 saves, 56 goals allowed, 6 clean sheets

Marcus Hahnemann, GK, Wolverhampton - In the 18, did not play in Wolves' 3-0 loss to Everton on Saturday. SEASON: 17 games, 17 starts, 59 saves, 28 goals allowed, 1 clean sheet

Tim Howard, GK, Everton - Started, played 90 minutes, made four saves and earned the clean sheet in Everton's 3-0 victory over Wolverhampton on Saturday. SEASON: 36 games, 36 starts, 99 saves, 45 goals allowed, 7 clean sheets

Jermaine Jones, M, Blackburn - Started, played 90 minutes and picked up a yellow card in Blackburn's 1-1 draw with Birmingham on Saturday. SEASON: 25 games, 24 starts, 1 goal

Jonathan Spector, M/D, West Ham - In the 18, came on as a 76th-minute substitute in West Ham's 3-0 loss to Bolton on Saturday. SEASON: 17 games, 11 starts, 4 goals

Championship

Conor Doyle, F, Derby County - Not in the 18 for Derby County's 2-2 draw with Coventry City on Saturday. Doyle had just returned from his stint with the U.S. Under-20 national team. He scored the lone goal in the shock 2-1 loss to Guatemala on Wednesday that prevented the team from reaching the U-20 World Cup. SEASON: 13 games, 5 starts

Brad Guzan, GK, Hull City - Started, played 90 minutes and made seven saves in Hull City's 2-1 victory over Watford on Saturday. SEASON: 19 games, 19 starts, 96 saves, 19 goals allowed, 5 clean sheets

Eddie Johnson, F, Preston North End - Started, played 83 minutes in Preston North End's 2-1 loss to Reading on Tuesday. Johnson also started, played 76 minutes and assisted on Preston North End's goal in the club's 1-1 draw with Portsmouth on Saturday. SEASON: 24 games, 12 starts

Eric Lichaj, D, Leeds United - Started, played 90 minutes in Leeds' 3-2 loss to Millwall on Saturday. Lichaj started the match at left back before sliding over to his usual right back position midway through the second half. SEASON: 18 games, 16 starts

Zak Whitbread, D, Norwich City - Started, played 90 minutes in Norwich City's 3-0 loss to Swansea City on Saturday. SEASON: 17 games, 15 starts, 1 goal

League One

Mike Grella, F, Swindon Town - Not in the 18 for Swindon Town's 1-0 victory over Brentford on Saturday. According to reports out of England, Grella, who didn't secure a regular starting spot with Swindon Town, returned to Leeds United from his emergency loan prematurely on his own accord. SEASON: 19 games, 13 starts, 4 goals

Anton Peterlin, M, Plymouth Argyle - Started, played 90 minutes in Plymouth Argyle's 2-0 loss to Leyton Orient on Tuesday. Peterlin was in the 18 but did not play in Plymouth Argyle's 2-0 victory over Walsall on Saturday. SEASON: 9 games, 7 starts

Frank Simek, D, Carlisle United - Started, played 90 minutes in Carlisle's 3-2 loss to Milton Keynes Dons on Saturday. SEASON: 50 games, 50 starts

League Two

Jon-Paul Pittman, F, Wycombe Wanderers - In the 18, came on as a 65th-minute substitute in Wycombe's 0-0 draw with Hereford United on Tuesday. Pittman was also in the 18, came on as a 36th-minute substitute and scored the equalizing goal in the 66th minute of Wycombe's 2-2 draw with Oxford United on Saturday. SEASON: 19 games, 9 starts, 7 goals

Bundesliga

DaMarcus Beasley, M, Hannover 96 - Not in the 18 for Hannover's 2-0 victory over Mainz 05 on Saturday. SEASON: 4 games Timmy Chandler, M/D, FC Nurnberg - Started, played 90 minutes in Nurnberg's 1-1 draw with Bayern Munich on Saturday. SEASON: 12 games, 7 starts, 1 goal

Steve Cherundolo, D, Hannover 96 - Started, played 90 minutes and picked up a yellow card in Hannover's 2-0 victory over Mainz 05 on Saturday. SEASON: 29 games, 29 starts

Ricardo Clark, M/D, Eintracht Frankfurt - In the 18, did not play in Frankfurt's 1-1 draw with Werder Bremen on Friday. SEASON: 10 games, 7 starts

Daniel Williams, D, SC Freiburg - Not in the 18 for Freiburg's 3-2 victory over TSG 1899 Hoffenheim on Saturday. SEASON: 5 games, 2 starts

2. Bundesliga

Edson Buddle, F, FC Ingolstadt 04 - In the 18, came on as a 75th-minute substitute in Ingolstadt's 1-1 draw with SC Paderborn 07 on Sunday. SEASON: 11 games, 7 starts, 2 goals

Luis Robles, GK, Karlsruhe SC - Started, played 90 minutes and made seven saves in Karlsruhe's 1-1 draw with FC Erzgebirge Aue on Sunday. SEASON: 20 games, 19 starts, 72 saves, 39 goals allowed, 4 clean sheets

Bobby Wood, F, TSV 1860 Munich - Not in the 18 for Munich's 4-0 victory over Energie Cottbus on Saturday. SEASON: 5 games

David Yelldell, GK, MSV Duisburg - Started, played 90 minutes, made two saves and picked up a yellow card in Duisburg's 3-2 victory over Alemannia Aachen on Friday. SEASON: 34 games, 34 starts, 79 saves, 30 goals allowed 12 clean sheets

3. Liga

Matt Taylor, F, Rot Weiss Ahlen - Started, played 90 minutes in Rot Weiss Ahlen's 5-0 loss to Sandhausen on Wednesday. Taylor also started and played 76 minutes in Rot Weiss Ahlen's 2-0 victory over Bayern Munich II on Saturday. SEASON: 24 games, 24 starts, 13 goals

Ligue 1

Carlos Bocanegra, D, St. Etienne - Started, played 90 minutes in St. Etienne's 2-2 draw with A.J. Auxerre on Saturday. SEASON: 28 games, 28 starts, 2 goals

Eredivisie

Oguchi Onyewu, D, FC Twente Enschede - Started, played 90 minutes in Twente's 5-1 loss to Villarreal in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League quarterfinal tie on Thursday. Onyewu was in the 18 but did not play in Twente's 1-1 draw with Roda JC Kerkrade in league play on Sunday. SEASON: 12 games, 12 starts

Super Lig

Jozy Altidore, F, Bursaspor - Started, played 89 minutes, picked up a yellow card and scored his first goal since joining Bursaspor in the club's 3-2 loss to Antalyaspor on Friday. Altidore showed an impressive burst of speed in running onto a bending cross into the box before powering home a header to give Bursaspor a 2-1 lead at the time. SEASON: 20 games, 12 starts, 3 goals

1. Lig

Freddy Adu, M, Caykur Rizespor - Started, played 65 minutes in Rizespor's 1-0 victory over Kartalspor on Sunday. SEASON: 8 games, 7 starts, 2 goals

Eerste Klasse

Sacha Kljestan, M, RSC Anderlecht - In the 18, did not play in Anderlecht's 3-0 loss to Club Brugge in the second match of Belgium's top-flight hexagonal playoff round on Sunday. SEASON: 26 games, 21 starts, 3 goals

Liga de Honra

Greg Garza, D, G.D. Estoril Praia - Not in the 18 for Estoril's 1-1 draw with Leixoes on Saturday. SEASON: 1 game

Tony Taylor, F, G.D. Estoril Praia - In the 18, did not play in Estoril's 1-1 draw with Leixoes on Saturday. SEASON: 19 games, 4 starts, 4 goals

Premier League

Dominic Cervi, GK, Celtic FC - Not in the 18 for Celtic's 3-1 victory over Hibernian on Wednesday or for Celtic's 1-0 victory over St. Mirren on Saturday. SEASON: 0 games

Maurice Edu, M, Rangers FC - Started, played 90 minutes in Rangers' 2-0 victory over St. Johnstone on Tuesday. Edu also started, played 70 minutes and picked up a yellow card in Rangers' 1-0 victory over Hamilton Academical on Sunday. SEASON: 39 games, 32 starts, 5 goals

Primera Division

Daniel Antunez, M/D, Estudiantes Tecos - In the 18, did not play in Tecos' 0-0 draw with Queretaro on Friday. SEASON: 2 games, 1 start

Jonathan Bornstein, M/D, Tigres UANL - In the 18, came on as a 54th-minute substitute in Tigres' 2-0 loss to Pumas UNAM on Sunday. SEASON: 5 games, 4 starts

Edgar Castillo, D, Puebla - In the 18, came on as an 86th-minute substitute and scored a 90th-minute equalizer in Puebla's 1-1 draw with Toluca on Sunday. Castillo ran onto a rebound outside the penalty area and drilled home a left-footed shot to level the score. SEASON: 6 games, 3 starts, 1 goal

Herculez Gomez, F, Pachuca - In the 18, came on as a 63rd-minute substitute and scored two goals in Pachuca's 3-0 victory over Chiapas on Saturday. Gomez headed home the opening goal from the edge of the 6-yard box in the 71st minute and tucked a beautiful free kick from 25 yards under the crossbar seven minutes later to put Pachuca ahead by two. SEASON: 11 games, 3 starts, 2 goals

Sonny Guadarrama, M, Atlante - Not in the 18 for Atlante's 3-1 victory over Atlas on Saturday. SEASON: 6 games

Sammy Ochoa, F, Estudiantes Tecos - Not in the 18 for Tecos' 0-0 draw with Queretaro on Friday. SEASON: 0 games

Adrian Ruelas, F, Santos Laguna - Not in the 18 for Santos Laguna's 1-1 draw with Monterrey on Saturday. SEASON: 1 game

Jose Francisco Torres, M, Pachuca - Started, played 62 minutes and picked up a yellow card in Pachuca's 3-0 victory over Chiapas on Saturday. SEASON: 10 games, 9 starts

Superliga

Clarence Goodson, D, Brondby IF - In the 18, did not play in Brondby's 1-1 draw with Odense BK on Sunday. The match marked Goodson's return to the first team from a broken toe. SEASON: 1 game, 1 start

Michael Parkhurst, D, FC Nordsjaelland - Not in the 18 for Nordsjaelland's 2-0 victory over Sonderjyske on Sunday. SEASON: 19 games, 18 starts

Chris Rolfe, F, Aalborg BK - In the 18, did not play in Aalborg's 0-0 draw with AC Horsens on Sunday. SEASON: 2 games, 1 start

First Division

Benny Feilhaber, M, AGF Aarhus - In the 18, came on as a 65th-minute substitute and assisted on Aarhus' 90th-minute goal in the club's 1-1 draw with Vestsjaelland on Sunday. SEASON: 21 games, 19 starts, 7 goals

Tippeligaen

Mikkel Diskerud, M, Stabaek - Started, played 65 minutes in Stabaek's 1-0 victory over Valerenga on Friday. SEASON: 3 games, 3 starts

Josh Gatt, M, Molde FK - In the 18, came on as a 59th-minute substitute in Molde's 2-2 draw with Viking on Monday. SEASON: 3 games, 1 start

Allsvenskanliga

Gale Agbossoumonde, D, Djurgardens IF - In the 18, did not play in Djurgardens' 3-1 loss to Kalmar FF on Monday. SEASON: 0 games

Alejandro Bedoya, M, Orebro SK - Started, came off in the 90th minute and scored the only goal in Orebro's 1-0 victory over Syrianska FC on Friday. Bedoya lashed a side volley off a deflected corner kick into the goal in the 61st minute for the eventual game-winning strike. SEASON: 2 games, 2 starts, 1 goal

Ryan Miller, D, Halmstads BK - In the 18, did not play in Halmstads' 3-1 loss to Malmo FF on Monday. SEASON: 0 games

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

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