Tuesday September 20th, 2011

Anticipated debuts, goal-scoring forwards and a potential renaissance.

All in a week's work for American soccer players stationed abroad.

The debuts belong to midfielders Michael Bradley and Stuart Holden, with Bradley appearing as a second-half substitute to play his first minutes in Serie A for Chievo Verona.

Holden, meanwhile, is set to make his long-awaited return from injury to first-team action on Tuesday. His name made the rounds on Monday when Bolton manager Owen Coyle announced that the U.S. midfielder would start Bolton's League Cup match against Aston Villa, marking his return from a serious knee injury that he suffered against Manchester United in March.

"In terms of my body mechanics I'm feeling close to 100 percent, but now it's all about putting the miles in my legs," Holden said in an interview on Bolton's official website.

To date, Holden has appeared in three reserve matches, but facing top-level opposition in a meaningful game will provide a good barometer for where he stands and how much is left to be done for him to reach his peak form.

"Stuart has obviously been out for a long time, and this game gives him the opportunity to play against Premier League opponents," Coyle said on the club's site. "We all concede that we look a better team when he plays and agree that he was one of the top midfielders in the Barclays Premier League last season."

Another sight for sore American eyes was the play of forwards Jozy Altidore, Edson Buddle and Herculez Gomez, who combined to account for four goals in wins for their respective teams. Altidore's goal was the best of the bunch and was perhaps the top tally of his career. In a UEFA Europa League tilt against Swedish club Malmo, the 21-year-old Altidore created a tremendous chance seemingly out of nothing, taking a touch, turning and firing a rocket from outside the box into the right upper-hand corner of the goal for his sixth score in nine games this season.

While Altidore is enjoying a coming of age during his first season in the Netherlands, the potential renaissance belongs to Oguchi Onyewu, who has earned the chance to perform regularly in his first season in Portugal for traditional power Sporting Lisbon.

Onyewu, who went from fixture to afterthought in the U.S. centerback discussion in a flash after dealing with a serious knee injury, made his third consecutive start on Monday and left a lasting impact on his team's victory. He headed home a vicious game-winning goal off a corner kick in the 3-2 win over Rio Ave, displaying the raw athleticism and sheer power that made him an unquestionable national-team selection during the previous World Cup cycle. As Onyewu, 29, approaches the two-year anniversary of tearing the patellar tendon in his left knee while helping the United States qualify for the 2010 World Cup, he appears to be making some headway toward at least returning to the call-up conversation.

Here is how the Americans playing abroad -- including a rejuvenated DaMarcus Beasley and a U.S.-committed Timmy Chandler -- fared this past week (season statistics encompass all competitions):

Premier League

Clint Dempsey, M, Fulham -- Started, played 90 minutes and picked up a yellow card in Fulham's 1-1 draw with FC Twente in the UEFA Europa League group stage on Thursday. Dempsey also started, played 90 minutes and assisted on a goal in Fulham's 2-2 draw with Manchester City in league play on Sunday. Dempsey squared a ball for Bobby Zamora at the top of the area, where he finished to slice a 2-0 deficit in half. SEASON: 9 games, 9 starts, 3 goals

Brad Friedel, GK, Tottenham -- Not in the 18 for Tottenham's 0-0 draw with PAOK Salonika in the UEFA Europa League group stage on Thursday. Friedel started, played 90 minutes, made one save and earned the clean sheet in Tottenham's 4-0 victory over Liverpool in league play on Sunday. SEASON: 4 games, 4 starts, 22 saves, 8 goals allowed, 2 clean sheets

Brad Guzan, GK, Aston Villa -- In the 18, did not play in Villa's 1-1 draw with Newcastle on Saturday. SEASON: 1 game, 1 start, 3 saves, 0 goals allowed, 1 clean sheet

Stuart Holden, M, Bolton -- Not in the 18 for Bolton's 2-1 loss to Norwich City on Saturday. Owen Coyle said that Holden is likely to make his first-team return on Tuesday in Bolton's Carling Cup match against Aston Villa. SEASON: 0 games

Tim Howard, GK, Everton -- Started, played 90 minutes and did not make a save in Everton's 3-1 victory over Wigan Athletic on Saturday. SEASON: 4 games, 4 starts, 8 saves, 3 goals allowed, 1 clean sheet

Eric Lichaj, D, Aston Villa -- Not in the 18 for Villa's 1-1 draw with Newcastle on Saturday. SEASON: 1 game, 1 start, 1 goal

Zak Whitbread, D, Norwich City -- Not in the 18 for Norwich City's 2-1 victory over Bolton on Saturday. Whitbread's Premier League campaign has been decimated by injuries, with the latest being a hamstring issue. SEASON: 3 games, 3 starts

League Championship

Conor Doyle, F, Derby County -- Not in the 18 for Derby County's 2-1 victory over Nottingham Forest on Saturday. SEASON: 0 games

Robbie Findley, F, Nottingham Forest -- In the 18, came on as a 61st-minute substitute in Forest's 2-1 loss to Derby County on Saturday. SEASON: 7 games, 4 starts, 3 goals

Jonathan Spector, M/D, Birmingham City -- Started, played 90 minutes in Birmingham's 3-1 loss to Sporting Braga in the UEFA Europa League group stage on Thursday. Spector started, played 74 minutes and picked up a yellow card in Birmingham's 4-1 loss to Southampton in league play on Sunday. SEASON: 7 games, 7 starts

League One

Mike Grella, F, Brentford -- In the 18, came on as an 86th-minute substitute in Brentford's 1-1 draw with Colchester United on Tuesday. Grella was also in the 18 and came on as a 59th-minute substitute in Brentford's 3-1 loss to Preston North End on Saturday. SEASON: 4 games

Frank Simek, D, Carlisle United -- Not in the 18 for Carlisle's 2-1 victory over Tranmere Rovers on Tuesday or for Carlisle's 4-1 loss to Chesterfield on Saturday. SEASON: 1 game, 1 start

Anton Peterlin, M, Walsall -- In the 18, came on as an 82nd-minute substitute in Walsall's 1-0 loss to Oldham Athletic on Tuesday. Peterlin started and played 64 minutes in Walsall's 2-2 draw with Scunthorpe United on Saturday. SEASON: 7 games, 4 starts

League Two

Jemal Johnson, F, Southend United -- In the 18, did not play in Southend's 1-0 loss to Gillingham on Tuesday. Johnson was also in the 18 but did not play in Southend's 2-0 victory over Plymouth Argyle on Saturday. SEASON: 6 games, 2 starts

Jon-Paul Pittman, F, Crawley Town -- In the 18, came on as a 64th-minute substitute in Crawley Town's 3-0 loss to Swindon Town on Tuesday. Pittman was also in the 18 and came on as a 68th-minute substitute in Crawley Town's 3-1 victory over Bradford City on Saturday. Pittman joined Crawley Town on a three-month emergency loan move that sees him return to the team for which he played from 2007-2009. SEASON: 9 games, 1 start (7 games, 1 start with Oxford United)

Bundesliga

Timmy Chandler, D, FC Nurnberg -- Started, played 90 minutes in Nurnberg's 1-1 draw with Werder Bremen on Saturday. As SI.com's Raphael Honigstein reported late last week, speculation of Chandler switching allegiances to represent his native Germany as opposed to the United States, for whom he is not yet officially cap-tied, is unfounded and unsubstantiated. SEASON: 7 games, 7 starts

Steve Cherundolo, D, Hannover 96 -- Started, played 90 minutes in Hannover's 0-0 draw with Standard Liege in the UEFA Europa League group stage on Thursday. Cherundolo was in the 18, but did not play in Hannover's 2-1 victory over Borussia Dortmund in league play on Sunday. SEASON: 7 games, 6 starts

Fabian Johnson, M/D, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim -- Not in the 18 for Hoffenheim's 3-1 victory over VfL Wolfsburg on Saturday. Johnson suffered a herniated disc after injuring his neck in training early last week and is expected to miss up to a month while recovering. SEASON: 6 games, 5 starts, 1 goal

Jermaine Jones, M, FC Schalke 04 -- Not in the 18 for Schalke's 0-0 draw with Steaua Bucuresti in the UEFA Europa League group stage on Thursday or for Schalke's 2-0 loss to Bayern Munich in league play on Sunday. SEASON: 2 games, 1 start

Alfredo Morales, D, Hertha Berlin -- Not in the 18 for Berlin's 2-2 draw with FC Augsburg on Saturday. SEASON: 2 games

Daniel Williams, D, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim -- In the 18, came on as a 86th-minute substitute in Hoffenheim's 3-1 victory over VfL Wolfsburg on Saturday. SEASON: 3 games, 1 start (1 game, 1 start with SC Freiburg)

David Yelldell, GK, Bayer Leverkusen -- In the 18, did not play in Leverkusen's 2-0 loss to Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League group stage on Tuesday. Yelldell was also in the 18 but did not play in Leverkusen's 4-1 loss to FC Cologne in league play on Saturday. SEASON: 1 game, 1 start, 1 save, 4 goals allowed

2. Bundesliga

Edson Buddle, F, FC Ingolstadt 04 -- Started, came off in second-half stoppage time and scored two goals in Ingolstadt's 4-2 victory over Dynamo Dresden on Friday. Buddle headed home a rebound of a shot off a corner kick in the third minute and connected with a header off another corner kick in the 45th minute to account for his side's first two goals. SEASON: 9 games, 4 starts, 3 goals

Ricardo Clark, M, Eintracht Frankfurt -- Not in the 18 for Frankfurt's 4-1 victory over Hansa Rostock on Friday. SEASON: 1 game, 1 start

Luis Robles, GK, Karlsruhe -- In the 18, did not play in Karlsruhe's 2-0 loss to St. Pauli on Monday. SEASON: 0 games

Matt Taylor, F, SC Paderborn 07 -- In the 18, did not play in Paderborn's 4-0 victory over VfL Bochum on Sunday. SEASON: 6 games, 3 starts, 4 goals

Bobby Wood, F, 1860 Munich -- Not in the 18 for Munich's 4-0 victory over FSV Frankfurt on Sunday. SEASON: 0 games

Serie A

Michael Bradley, M, Chievo Verona -- In the 18, came on as a 72nd-minute substitute in Chievo's 2-1 loss to Parma on Sunday. SEASON: 1 game

Ligue 1

Quentin Westberg, GK, Evian Thonon Gaillard -- Not in the 18 for Evian's 2-2 draw with Paris-St. Germain on Sunday. SEASON: 3 games, 3 starts, 8 saves, 3 goals allowed, 1 clean sheet

Eredivisie

Jozy Altidore, F, AZ Alkmaar -- Started, played 90 minutes and scored the opening goal in the 21st minute of AZ's 4-1 victory over Malmo FF in the UEFA Europa League group stage on Thursday. Altidore turned, took a touch and rifled a swerving blast from just outside the area in to the right upper-hand corner of the net to open the scoring. Altidore also started and played 58 minutes in AZ's 2-1 victory over RKC Waalwijk in league play on Sunday. SEASON: 9 games, 6 starts, 6 goals

Primeira Liga

Oguchi Onyewu, D, Sporting Lisbon -- Started, played 90 minutes in Sporting's 2-0 victory over FC Zurich in the UEFA Europa League group stage on Thursday. Onyewu also started, played 90 minutes, picked up a yellow card and headed home the game-winning goal in Sporting's 3-2 victory over Rio Ave in league play on Monday. Onyewu timed his run and got great hangtime for an accurate and powerful header off a corner kick to break a 2-2 draw in the 74th minute. SEASON: 3 games, 3 starts, 1 goal

Jupiler League

Sacha Kljestan, M, RSC Anderlecht -- Started, played 90 minutes and assisted on the final goal of Anderlecht's 4-1 victory over AEK Athens in the UEFA Europa League group stage on Thursday. Kljestan also started and played 90 minutes in Anderlecht's 1-0 victory over Genk in league play on Sunday. SEASON: 9 games, 9 starts, 1 goal

Premier League

Alejandro Bedoya, M, Rangers FC -- Not in the 18 for Rangers' 4-2 victory over Celtic on Sunday. With the victory over its hated Old Firm rival, Rangers opened up a four-point edge over Celtic atop the Scottish Premier League table. SEASON: 17 games, 15 starts, 4 goals (16 games, 15 starts, 4 goals with Orebro SK)

Carlos Bocanegra, D, Rangers FC -- Started, played 90 minutes in Rangers' 4-2 victory over Celtic on Sunday. SEASON: 6 games, 6 starts, 1 goal (1 game, 1 start with St. Etienne)

Dominic Cervi, GK, Celtic FC -- Not in the 18 for Celtic's 2-0 loss to Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Europa League group stage on Thursday or for Celtic's 4-2 loss to Rangers in league play on Sunday. SEASON: 0 games

Maurice Edu, M, Rangers FC -- Started, played 90 minutes in Rangers' 4-2 victory over Celtic on Sunday. SEASON: 10 games, 10 starts, 1 goal

Primera Division

DaMarcus Beasley, M, Puebla -- Started, played 90 minutes in Puebla's 4-1 victory over Chivas de Guadalajara on Saturday. Displaying his trademark speed, Beasley pounced on a heavy touch and carried all the way into the area, where he beat the goalkeeper but was taken down from behind while about to finish into an empty net. The foul resulted in a red card for the defender and penalty for Puebla. SEASON: 9 games, 9 starts, 1 goal

Jonathan Bornstein, D, Tigres UANL -- Not in the 18 for Tigres' 1-0 loss to Atlante on Sunday. SEASON: 0 games

Edgar Castillo, D, Club America -- Started, played 90 minutes in America's 2-2 draw with San Luis on Wednesday. Castillo was not in the 18 for America's 5-3 loss to Jaguares on Saturday. SEASON: 7 games, 5 starts

Joe Corona, F, Tijuana -- Started, played 58 minutes and picked up a yellow card in Tijuana's 2-0 loss to Estudiantes Tecos on Sunday. SEASON: 7 games, 7 starts, 2 goals

Michael Orozco Fiscal, D, San Luis -- Started, played 90 minutes in San Luis' 2-2 draw with Club America on Wednesday. Orozco Fiscal also started, played 90 minutes and picked up a yellow card in San Luis' 1-0 loss to Santos Laguna on Saturday. SEASON: 7 games, 6 starts

Herculez Gomez, F, Estudiantes Tecos -- In the 18, came on as a 69th-minute substitute and scored in second-half stoppage time in Tecos' 2-0 victory over Tijuana on Sunday. Gomez completed a run on the left to latch onto a short through ball and finish with his left foot on a first-time effort from close range to cap off his club's victory. SEASON: 9 games, 4 starts, 3 goals

Sonny Guadarrama, M, Atlante -- In the 18, did not play in Atlante's 1-0 victory over Tigres UANL on Sunday. SEASON: 1 game

Adrian Ruelas, F, Jaguares -- Not in the 18 for Jaguares' 5-3 victory over Club America on Saturday. SEASON: 0 games

Jose Francisco Torres, M, Pachuca -- Started, played 90 minutes in Pachuca's 4-2 victory over Atlas on Saturday. SEASON: 8 games, 7 starts

Allsvenskanliga

Ryan Miller, D, Halmstads BK -- Started, played 90 minutes in Halmstads' 1-0 loss to Kalmar on Saturday. SEASON: 15 games, 10 starts

Samuel Petrone, F, Mjallby -- Not in the 18 for Mjallby's 2-0 loss to AIK on Thursday or for Mjallby's 3-0 loss to Helsingborg on Sunday. SEASON: 4 games

Superliga

Clarence Goodson, D, Brondby IF -- Started, played 90 minutes and picked up a yellow card in Brondby's 2-0 loss to FC Nordsjaelland on Sunday. SEASON: 10 games, 10 starts

Conor O'Brien, M, Sonderjyske -- Started, played 83 minutes in Sonderjyske's 1-0 victory over Brabrand in the second round of the Landspokal (Danish Cup) on Wednesday. O'Brien also started and played 75 minutes in Sonderjyske's 2-0 loss to FC Midtjylland in league play on Sunday. SEASON: 7 games, 6 starts, 1 goal

Michael Parkhurst, D, FC Nordsjaelland -- Started, played 90 minutes and picked up a yellow card in Nordsjaelland's 2-0 victory over Brondby on Sunday. SEASON: 11 games, 11 starts

Chris Rolfe, F, Aalborg BK -- Started, played 64 minutes in Aalborg's 2-0 loss to FC Copenhagen on Sunday. SEASON: 10 games, 9 starts, 2 goals

Brad Rusin, D, HB Koge -- Not in the 18 for Koge's 2-0 loss to AGF Aarhus on Saturday. SEASON: 6 games, 6 starts, 2 goals

Tippeligaen

Sean Cunningham, D, Molde FK -- Not in the 18 for Molde's 1-0 victory over Fredrikstad on Saturday. SEASON: 2 games, 2 starts

Mikkel Diskerud, M, Stabaek -- Started, played 90 minutes in Stabaek's 3-1 loss to Odd Grenland on Sunday. SEASON: 25 games, 25 starts, 3 goals

Josh Gatt, M, Molde FK -- Started, played 90 minutes and picked up a yellow card in Molde's 1-0 victory over Fredrikstad on Saturday. SEASON: 24 games, 16 starts, 5 goals

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