Tuesday April 26th, 2011

As the calendar gets set to turn to May, there's no better time to assess the promotion and European competition hopes and relegation fears among the Americans playing abroad.

Hannover 96 in Germany, captained by U.S. right back Steve Cherundolo, is on the cusp of clinching a spot in next year's UEFA Champions League. With three games remaining in the Bundesliga season, Hannover is a point clear of Bayern Munich for the league's third and final Champions League spot. Hannover has been one of the surprises of the season in all of Europe and has been in Champions League range for so long that to settle for a spot in the UEFA Europa League would still be an accomplishment, but a disappointing one.

Conversely, Timmy Chandler and FC Nurnberg would relish the chance to compete in the Europa League, and they trail Mainz 05 by two points for the league's final berth. On the other end of the German spectrum, Borussia Monchengladbach is currently in the drop zone, meaning that should Michael Bradley return to his parent club this summer, he might do so in the country's second division.

In England, Clint Dempsey's Fulham is in position to return to the Europa League through the UEFA Fair Play ranking system. England is poised to get a fourth slot in the Europa League because of its fair-play standing on the continent, and Fulham currently ranks behind Chelsea -- destined for the Champions League -- in the league's fair-play rankings. In short, Chelsea's success and Fulham's sportsmanship means that the Cottagers could secure a spot in European play despite finishing mid-table in the Premier League.

Teams that aren't as fortunate include Marcus Hahnemann's Wolverhampton and Jonathan Spector's West Ham, which are currently the bottom two teams, respectively, in the drop zone. It's looking like a five-team race to stay in the country's top flight, between Wolves, West Ham, Wigan Athletic, Blackpool and Blackburn, where Jermaine Jones is doing his part to try and keep the team afloat.

A handful of Americans are seeking promotion to replace the Premier League's worst sides. Zak Whitbread's Norwich City, Mike Grella's (and on-loan Eric Lichaj's) Leeds United and Robbie Findley's Nottingham Forest are all in the mix to join the big boys. Norwich City currently sits in the League Championship's final automatic promotion spot, while Leeds and Forest are among those duking it out for the final spot in the league's four-team promotion playoff with two games remaining in the season.

A step further down in League One, cash-strapped Plymouth Argyle, which employs Anton Peterlin, seems doomed for relegation to League Two, where Jon-Paul Pittman and Wycombe Wanderers are in the thick of the promotion hunt. They are currently a point off the pace for automatic promotion and, worst case, should definitely take part in the league's four-team promotion playoff.

Among those challenging for a league title and an accompanying Champions League berth include Oguchi Onyewu and FC Twente, who currently lead the Dutch Eredivisie by one point with two matches remaining; Sacha Kljestan and RSC Anderlecht, who are a point off the pace midway through the Belgian playoff hexagonal; and Maurice Edu and Rangers, who lead the Scottish championship playoff group by one point with four matches to go.

As the races for many of the world's leagues wind down and become more intense, here's how the Americans playing abroad -- including goalscorers Herculez Gomez, Clarence Goodson, Chris Rolfe and Matt Taylor -- fared over the past week (statistics encompass all competitions):

Premier League

Michael Bradley, M, Aston Villa - Not in the 18 for Villa's 1-1 draw with Stoke City on Saturday. SEASON: 24 games, 21 starts, 4 goals

Clint Dempsey, M/F, Fulham - Started, played 80 minutes minutes in Fulham's 1-1 draw with Wolves on Saturday. SEASON: 38 games, 35 starts, 11 goals

Brad Friedel, GK, Aston Villa - Started, played 90 minutes and made two saves in Villa's 1-1 draw with Stoke City on Saturday. SEASON: 38 games, 38 starts, 122 saves, 58 goals allowed, 6 clean sheets

Brad Guzan, GK, Aston Villa - Not in the 18 for Villa's 1-1 draw with Stoke City on Saturday. SEASON: 19 games, 19 starts, 96 saves, 19 goals allowed, 5 clean sheets

Marcus Hahnemann, GK, Wolverhampton - In the 18, did not play in Wolves' 1-1 draw with Fulham on Saturday. SEASON: 17 games, 17 starts, 59 saves, 28 goals allowed, 1 clean sheet

Tim Howard, GK, Everton - Started, played 90 minutes and made five saves in Everton's 1-0 loss to Manchester United on Saturday. SEASON: 38 games, 38 starts, 105 saves, 46 goals allowed, 8 clean sheets

Jermaine Jones, M, Blackburn - Started, played 90 minutes and picked up a yellow card in Blackburn's 1-0 loss to Manchester City on Monday. SEASON: 27 games, 26 starts, 1 goal

Jonathan Spector, M/D, West Ham - Started, played 90 minutes in West Ham's 3-0 loss to Chelsea on Saturday. SEASON: 18 games, 12 starts, 4 goals

Championship

Conor Doyle, F, Derby County - In the 18, did not play in Derby County's 4-2 loss to Burnley on Saturday. Doyle, who has scored eight goals with the Derby County reserves this season, was also in the 18 and did not play in the club's 3-2 loss to Norwich City on Monday. SEASON: 13 games, 5 starts

Robbie Findley, F, Nottingham Forest - In the 18, came on as an 80th-minute substitute in Nottingham Forest's 3-2 victory over Leicester City on Friday. Findley returned from an 11-week spell on the sidelines with a thigh injury to make his European debut. Findley was also in the 18 and came on as a 65th-minute substitute in Nottingham Forest's 3-2 victory over Bristol City on Monday. SEASON: 2 games

Mike Grella, F, Leeds United - Not in the 18 for Leeds' 0-0 draw with Reading on Friday or for Leeds' 1-0 loss to Crystal Palace on Monday. SEASON: 19 games, 13 starts, 4 goals

Eddie Johnson, F, Preston North End - Started, played 90 minutes and picked up a yellow card in Preston North End's 4-0 loss to Millwall on Saturday. Johnson was not in the 18 for Preston North End's 1-0 loss to Cardiff City on Monday. SEASON: 27 games, 15 starts

Eric Lichaj, D, Leeds United - Started, played 90 minutes in Leeds' 0-0 draw with Reading on Friday. Lichaj also started and played 90 minutes in Leeds' 1-0 loss to Crystal Palace on Monday. SEASON: 22 games, 20 starts

Zak Whitbread, D, Norwich City - Started, played 90 minutes and picked up a yellow card in Norwich City's 5-1 victory over Ipswich Town on Thursday. Whitbread also started and played 57 minutes in Norwich City's 3-2 victory over Derby County on Monday. SEASON: 21 games, 19 starts, 1 goal

League One

Anton Peterlin, M, Plymouth Argyle - Started, came off in the 90th minute of Plymouth Argyle's 1-0 victory over Dagenham & Redbridge on Friday. Peterlin was in the 18 and came on as a 58th-minute substitute in Plymouth Argyle's 1-0 victory over Milton Keynes Dons on Monday. SEASON: 12 games, 9 starts

Frank Simek, D, Carlisle United - Started, played 90 minutes in Carlisle's 3-2 victory over Rochdale on Saturday. Simek also started and played 90 minutes in Carlisle's 1-0 loss to Leyton Orient on Monday. SEASON: 54 games, 54 starts

League Two

Jon-Paul Pittman, F, Wycombe Wanderers - Not in the 18 for Wycombe's 0-0 draw with Torquay on Friday or for Wycombe's 2-0 victory over Crewe Alexandra on Monday. SEASON: 20 games, 10 starts, 7 goals

Bundesliga

DaMarcus Beasley, M, Hannover 96 - Not in the 18 for Hannover's 3-1 victory over SC Freiburg on Thursday. SEASON: 4 games Timmy Chandler, M/D, FC Nurnberg - Started, played 90 minutes in Nurnberg's 0-0 draw with Mainz 05 on Sunday. SEASON: 14 games, 9 starts, 1 goal

Steve Cherundolo, D, Hannover 96 - Started, played 90 minutes in Hannover's 3-1 victory over SC Freiburg on Thursday. SEASON: 31 games, 31 starts

Ricardo Clark, M/D, Eintracht Frankfurt - Started, played 90 minutes in Frankfurt's 1-1 draw with Bayern Munich on Saturday. SEASON: 11 games, 8 starts

Daniel Williams, D, SC Freiburg - In the 18, came on as a 75th-minute substitute in Freiburg's 3-1 loss to Hannover 96 on Thursday. SEASON: 6 games, 2 starts

2. Bundesliga

Edson Buddle, F, FC Ingolstadt 04 - In the 18, came on as a 72nd-minute substitute in Ingolstadt's 1-1 draw with Union Berlin on Sunday. SEASON: 12 games, 7 starts, 2 goals

Luis Robles, GK, Karlsruhe SC - Started, played 90 minutes and did not make a save in Karlsruhe's 2-1 loss to RW Oberhausen on Saturday. SEASON: 22 games, 21 starts, 72 saves, 42 goals allowed, 4 clean sheets

Bobby Wood, F, TSV 1860 Munich - Not in the 18 for Munich's 3-0 victory over SpVgg Greuther Furth on Saturday. SEASON: 5 games

David Yelldell, GK, MSV Duisburg - Started, played 90 minutes and made two saves in Duisburg's 1-0 loss to Hertha Berlin on Monday. SEASON: 36 games, 36 starts, 82 saves, 34 goals allowed, 12 clean sheets

3. Liga

Matt Taylor, F, Rot Weiss Ahlen - Started, played 86 minutes and scored a goal in the 54th minute of Rot Weiss Ahlen's 2-0 victory over Jahn Regensburg on Wednesday. Taylor also started, played 90 minutes and scored a goal in the 47th minute of Rot Weiss Ahlen's 5-1 loss to Stuttgart II on Sunday. SEASON: 27 games, 27 starts, 15 goals

Ligue 1

Carlos Bocanegra, D, St. Etienne - Started, played 90 minutes in St. Etienne's 2-0 loss to Bordeaux on Sunday. SEASON: 30 games, 30 starts, 2 goals

Eredivisie

Oguchi Onyewu, D, FC Twente Enschede - In the 18, came on as a 90th-minute substitute in Twente's 2-1 victory over ADO Den Haag on Friday. SEASON: 14 games, 13 starts

Super Lig

Jozy Altidore, F, Bursaspor - In the 18, came on as a 90th-minute substitute in Bursaspor's 2-1 victory over Manisaspor on Saturday. SEASON: 22 games, 12 starts, 3 goals

1. Lig

Freddy Adu, M, Caykur Rizespor - Rizespor did not have a match this past week. SEASON: 8 games, 7 starts, 2 goals

Eerste Klasse

Sacha Kljestan, M, RSC Anderlecht - Started, played 90 minutes and picked up a yellow card in Anderlecht's 1-1 draw with Gent in the fourth game of the Belgian playoff hexagonal on Wednesday. Kljestan was suspended because of card accumulation for Anderlecht's 2-1 victory over Lokeren in the fifth game of the hexagonal on Sunday. SEASON: 28 games, 23 starts, 3 goals

Liga de Honra

Greg Garza, D, G.D. Estoril Praia - Estoril did not have a match this past week. SEASON: 2 games

Tony Taylor, F, G.D. Estoril Praia - Estoril did not have a match this past week. SEASON: 19 games, 4 starts, 4 goals SCOTLAND

Premier League

Dominic Cervi, GK, Celtic FC - Not in the 18 for Celtic's 4-0 victory over Kilmarnock on Wednesday or for Celtic's 0-0 draw with Rangers on Sunday. SEASON: 0 games

Maurice Edu, M, Rangers FC - Started, played 90 minutes in Rangers' 4-0 victory over Dundee United on Tuesday. Edu also started and played 84 minutes in Rangers' 0-0 draw with Celtic on Sunday. SEASON: 43 games, 36 starts, 5 goals

Primera Division

Daniel Antunez, M/D, Estudiantes Tecos - Not in the 18 for Tecos' 4-4 draw with Toluca on Sunday. SEASON: 2 games, 1 start

Jonathan Bornstein, M/D, Tigres UANL - In the 18, did not play in Tigres' 3-0 victory over Morelia on Sunday. SEASON: 6 games, 4 starts

Edgar Castillo, D, Puebla - Not in the 18 for Puebla's 1-1 draw with Monterrey on Saturday. SEASON: 7 games, 4 starts, 1 goal

Herculez Gomez, F, Pachuca - Started, played 90 minutes, picked up a yellow card and scored the opening goal in the 29th minute of Pachuca's 1-1 draw with Queretaro on Saturday. Gomez, who scored for the fourth time in four matches, pounced on a turnover on the right side and beat the keeper inside the near post from a tight angle to give Pachuca a 1-0 lead. SEASON: 14 games, 5 starts, 4 goals

Sonny Guadarrama, M, Atlante - In the 18, came on as a 59th-minute substitute and picked up a yellow card in Atlante's 1-1 draw with Club America on Sunday. SEASON: 7 games

Sammy Ochoa, F, Estudiantes Tecos - Not in the 18 for Tecos' 4-4 draw with Toluca on Sunday. SEASON: 0 games

Adrian Ruelas, F, Santos Laguna - Not in the 18 for Santos' 3-1 loss to San Luis on Saturday. SEASON: 2 games

Jose Francisco Torres, M, Pachuca - Started, played 90 minutes in Pachuca's 1-1 draw with Queretaro on Saturday. SEASON: 12 games, 11 starts

Superliga

Clarence Goodson, D, Brondby IF - Started, played 90 minutes and scored the opening goal in the 43rd minute of Brondby's 3-0 victory over Esbjerg on Thursday. Goodson's goal was a 12-yard header off a corner kick that gave Brondby the lead before halftime. Goodson also started and played 90 minutes in Brondby's 4-0 victory over Randers FC on Monday. SEASON: 4 games, 3 starts, 1 goal

Michael Parkhurst, D, FC Nordsjaelland - Not in the 18 for Nordsjaelland's 2-1 victory over Odense BK on Thursday or for Nordsjaelland's 3-3 draw with Aalborg on Sunday. Parkhurst, nursing a hamstring injury, told Danish reporters that he aimed to return for the club's May 1 match against Lyngby. SEASON: 19 games, 18 starts

Chris Rolfe, F, Aalborg BK - In the 18, did not play in Aalborg's 4-1 victory over Randers FC on Wednedsay. Rolfe was also in the 18, came on as a 61st-minute substitute and scored a goal four minutes later in Aalborg's 3-3 draw with FC Nordsjaelland on Sunday. Rolfe, who scored for the first time since last April, dribbled through two defenders down the center of the pitch and struck a 25-yard, swerving shot into the lower left corner to tie the score at 2-2. SEASON: 3 games, 1 start, 1 goal

Tippeligaen

Sean Cunningham, D, Molde FK - In the 18, did not play in Molde's 3-1 victory over Brann on Monday. SEASON: 0 games

Mikkel Diskerud, M, Stabaek - Started, played 90 minutes in Stabaek's 3-1 victory over Fredrikstad on Monday. SEASON: 5 games, 5 starts

Josh Gatt, M, Molde FK - In the 18, came on as a 64th-minute substitute in Molde's 3-1 victory over Brann on Monday. SEASON: 5 games, 1 start

Allsvenskanliga

Gale Agbossoumonde, D, Djurgardens IF - Started, played 90 minutes in Djurgardens' 2-1 loss to GAIS on Tuesday. Agbossoumonde also started and played 62 minutes in Djurgardens' 3-1 loss to Norrkoping on Sunday. SEASON: 3 games, 3 starts

Alejandro Bedoya, M, Orebro SK - Started, played 90 minutes and assisted on the game-winning goal in Orebro's 2-1 victory over Hacken on Thursday. Bedoya also started, played 90 minutes and picked up a yellow card in Orebro's 1-1 draw with Helsingborg on Monday. SEASON: 5 games, 5 starts, 2 goals

Ryan Miller, D, Halmstads BK - In the 18, did not play in Halmstads' 2-0 loss to Norrkoping on Wednesday. Miller was also in the 18 and came on as a 87th-minute substitute in Halmstads' 1-1 draw with Trelleborg FF on Sunday. SEASON: 1 game

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

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