It's that time of year. The hunt for major cup silverware on multiple fronts is heating up.
For Americans, it doesn't get any more high profile than Jermaine Jones and Schalke's quest to reach the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals. Jones will get a first-hand account of new-look Galatasaray, when Schalke takes on recent Galatasaray signings and past Champions League heroes Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder in the first leg of their round of 16 clash on Wednesday. Oguchi Onyewu's Malaga is still alive as well, and the Spanish side faced Porto in its first leg Tuesday (without Onyewu, who hasn't played since Jan. 8, in the starting lineup).
A step down, in the Europa League, Clint Dempsey, Brad Friedel and Tottenham have one foot in the next round after topping Lyon 2-1 in the first leg of their round of 32 matchup. With the 41-year-old Friedel limited to cup competitions after losing the regular starting goalkeeping job to Hugo Lloris, the Europa League is his best chance to leave a lasting impact on Tottenham's season. He can do just that by preserving the one-goal edge on the road in Thursday's second leg.
In other continental competition, the Tijuana Trio of Edgar Castillo, Joe Corona and Greg Garza kick off their Copa Libertadores voyage Tuesday night at Colombian champion Millonarios (the new club of on-loan Seattle Sounders forward Fredy Montero). Castillo saw red for the first time in his career in conceding a penalty this past weekend for Tijuana, but the left back will have a chance for redemption on the Libertadores stage that few Americans have played before him.
Domestically, U.S. No. 1 goalkeeper Tim Howard is still alive in the FA Cup. He seeks his second title and first since winning one nine years ago with Manchester United. Howard and Everton may have fallen victim to a last-gasp equalizer in its fifth-round bout with upstart Oldham Athletic on Saturday, but the Toffees will host the replay next Wednesday, the prize a quarterfinal date with relegation-threatened Wigan Athletic. Everton is vying for a place in European competition during its league campaign, but capturing the FA Cup would at the very least cement the club's place in next season's Europa League and provide a safety net for the rest of this season.
As for the American goal-scorers this past week, AZ Alkmaar's Jozy Altidore set a new career high with his 21st goal in all competitions, and 23-year-old German-American striker Andrew Wooten netted his fourth of the year for second-tier German side Sandhausen. A pair of Americans contributed assists. Timmy Chandler came through with a clutch cross during stoppage time that led to an equalizer for Nurnberg against Hannover. Sacha Kljestan maintained his high level of play with a helper in Anderlecht's latest Belgian league triumph. Those four individual performances highlighted the week that was for Americans playing abroad. Here is how they and the rest of their compatriots fared (season statistics encompass all competitions):
DEITSCH: Reviewing Gus Johnson's debut
Geoff Cameron, D/M, Stoke City -- Stoke City did not have a match this past week.
SEASON: 27 games, 25 starts
Cody Cropper, GK, Southampton -- Southampton did not have a match this past week.
SEASON: 0 games
Clint Dempsey, M/F, Tottenham -- Started, played 67 minutes in Tottenham's 2-1 win over Lyon in the first leg of their Europa League round of 32 tie Thursday.
SEASON: 32 games, 25 starts, 8 goals
Brad Friedel, GK, Tottenham -- Started, played 90 minutes and made three saves in Tottenham's 2-1 win over Lyon.
SEASON: 14 games, 14 starts, 20 goals allowed, 1 clean sheet
Brad Guzan, GK, Aston Villa -- Villa did not have a match this past week.
SEASON: 25 games, 25 starts, 46 goals allowed, 6 clean sheets
Tim Howard, GK, Everton -- Started, played 90 minutes and made 10 saves in Everton's 2-2 draw with Oldham Athletic in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Saturday. The draw forced a replay, with the winner advancing to a quarterfinal with Wigan Athletic.
SEASON: 29 games, 29 starts, 35 goals allowed, 4 clean sheets
Eric Lichaj, D, Aston Villa -- Villa did not have a match this past week.
SEASON: 21 games, 13 starts
Brek Shea, M, Stoke City -- Stoke City did not have a match this past week. Shea did score in a club friendly against Burnley on Tuesday, though.
SEASON: 0 games
Conor Doyle, F, Derby County -- Not in the 18 for Derby County's 2-1 loss to Hull City on Tuesday. Doyle was in the 18, did not play in Derby County's 0-0 draw with Wolverhampton on Saturday.
SEASON: 3 games, 1 start
Stuart Holden, M, Bolton -- Not in the 18 for Bolton's 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
SEASON: 2 games
Tim Ream, D, Bolton -- Not in the 18 for Bolton's 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest.
SEASON: 16 games, 14 starts
Jonathan Spector, D/M, Birmingham City -- In the 18, did not play in Birmingham's 4-0 loss to Watford on Saturday.
SEASON: 23 games, 19 starts, 1 goal
Zak Whitbread, D, Leicester City -- Not in the 18 for Leicester City's 2-1 loss to Huddersfield Town in their FA Cup fourth-round replay Tuesday.
SEASON: 15 games, 14 starts, 1 goal
Mike Grella, F, Scunthorpe United -- In the 18, did not play in Scunthorpe's 3-1 win over Carlisle United on Tuesday. Grella was in the 18 and came on as a 47th-minute substitute in a 3-0 loss to Yeovil Town on Saturday.
SEASON: 22 games, 12 starts, 2 goals
Frank Simek, D, Carlisle United -- Started, played 90 minutes and picked up a yellow card in Carlisle's 3-1 loss to Scunthorpe United on Tuesday. Simek also started and played 90 minutes in a 1-1 draw with Portsmouth on Saturday.
SEASON: 32 games, 30 starts
WAHL: Rogers coming out marks step forward
Timmy Chandler, D, FC Nurnberg -- Started, played 90 minutes and assisted on the game-tying goal in second-half stoppage time of Nurnberg's 2-2 draw with Hannover 96 on Sunday. Chandler sent in a cross from the right that Sebastian Polter latched onto at the near post and redirected into the net for the equalizer.
SEASON: 23 games, 23 starts, 1 goal
Steve Cherundolo, D, Hannover 96 -- Not in the 18 for Hannover's 3-1 loss to Anzhi Makhachkala in the first leg of their Europa League round of 32 tie on Thursday or a 2-2 draw with FC Nurnberg in league play Sunday.
SEASON: 28 games, 27 starts
Fabian Johnson, D, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim -- Started, played 90 minutes in Hoffenheim's 1-0 loss to VfB Stuttgart on Sunday.
SEASON: 21 games, 21 starts, 3 goals
Jermaine Jones, M, FC Schalke 04 -- Started, played 90 minutes in Schalke's 2-2 draw with Mainz 05 on Saturday.
SEASON: 24 games, 21 starts, 1 goal
Michael Parkhurst, D, FC Augsburg -- Started, was substituted for in second-half stoppage time of Augsburg's 2-1 loss to Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday.
SEASON: 23 games, 21 starts, 2 goals (21 games, 20 starts, 2 goals with FC Nordsjaelland)
Danny Williams, D/M, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim -- Started, played 54 minutes and picked up a yellow card in Hoffenheim's 1-0 loss to Stuttgart.
SEASON: 17 games, 13 starts, 1 goal
John Anthony Brooks, D, Hertha Berlin -- Started, played 90 minutes in Hertha Berlin's 1-0 win over Aalen on Saturday.
SEASON: 18 games, 15 starts
Joe Gyau, M, St. Pauli -- Not in the 18 for St. Pauli's 1-0 loss FC Cologne on Monday.
SEASON: 9 games, 2 starts
Alfredo Morales, D/M, Hertha Berlin -- Started, played 90 minutes in Hertha Berlin's 1-0 win over Aalen.
SEASON: 2 games, 1 start
Bobby Wood, F, TSV 1860 Munich -- Started, played the first half of 1860 Munich's 1-0 loss to VfL Bochum on Friday.
SEASON: 9 games, 5 starts, 2 goals
Andrew Wooten, F, SV Sandhausen -- Started, played 90 minutes and scored a goal in Sandhausen's 3-1 loss to Dynamo Dresden on Sunday. Wooten was the recipient of a pass in the area after a Dynamo Dresden turnover, and he finished with a confident right-footed strike while a defender closed down in the 57th minute to pull Sandhausen level at 1-1 at the time.
SEASON: 17 games, 10 starts, 4 goals
Michael Bradley, M, AS Roma -- In the 18, came on in the 68th minute on Roma's 1-0 win over Juventus on Saturday. It marked the first time since late October that Bradley was not in the starting lineup.
SEASON: 22 games, 20 starts, 1 goal
Oguchi Onyewu, D, Malaga -- In the 18, did not play in Malaga's 1-0 win over Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.
SEASON: 8 games, 7 starts, 2 goals
Carlos Bocanegra, D, Racing Santander - In the 18, did not play in Racing Santander's 1-0 loss to Recreativo Huelva on Sunday.
SEASON: 19 games, 19 starts (7 games, 7 starts with Rangers)
Jozy Altidore, F, AZ Alkmaar -- Started, played 90 minutes and scored in the 34th minute of AZ's 2-2 draw with Roda JC on Saturday. Altidore bodied up a defender to receive a pass just outside the top of the area with his left foot, took two touches and struck a clinical 19-yard blast low and inside the left post to make the score 1-1 at the time.
SEASON: 30 games, 30 starts, 21 goals
Sacha Kljestan, M, RSC Anderlecht -- Started, played 76 minutes and assisted on the second goal in Anderlecht's 2-0 win over Charleroi on Friday.
SEASON: 35 games, 28 starts, 2 goals
Terrence Boyd, F, Rapid Vienna -- In the 18, came on as a 65th-minute substitute in Rapid Vienna's 2-1 loss to rival Austria Vienna on Sunday. The game was the first for Rapid Vienna after a two-month winter break.
SEASON: 29 games, 23 starts, 13 goals
Maurice Edu, M, Bursaspor -- Started, played 90 minutes and picked up a yellow card in Bursaspor's 1-0 win over Elazigspor on Sunday.
SEASON: 8 games, 6 starts (1 game with Stoke City)
Caleb Patterson-Sewell, GK, Vitoria Setubal -- In the 18, did not play in Vitoria Setubal's 1-0 win over Olhanense on Sunday.
SEASON: 5 games, 5 starts, 12 goals allowed, 1 clean sheet
Tony Taylor, F, Estoril Praia -- In the 18, came on as an 81st-minute substitute in Estoril's 2-1 loss to Maritimo on Sunday.
SEASON: 12 games, 4 starts
DaMarcus Beasley, M, Puebla -- In the 18, came on as a halftime substitute in Puebla's 3-1 win over Merida in the Copa MX on Wednesday. Beasley started and played 67 minutes in Puebla's 1-1 draw with Chivas de Guadalajara in league play Sunday.
SEASON: 9 games, 6 starts, 2 goals
Jonathan Bornstein, D, Tigres UANL -- Not in the 18 for Tigres' 1-1 draw with Santos Laguna on Saturday.
SEASON: 0 games
Edgar Castillo, D, Tijuana -- Started and was sent off in the 48th minute of Tijuana's 2-0 loss to Jaguares on Friday. Castillo was ejected after a foul in the penalty area, which conceded a spot kick that Jaguares converted to open the scoring.
SEASON: 7 games, 7 starts
Joe Corona, M, Tijuana -- Started, played the first half of Tijuana's 2-0 loss to Jaguares.
SEASON: 6 games, 5 starts
Michael Orozco Fiscal, D, Puebla -- Not in the 18 for Puebla's 3-1 win over Merida in the Copa MX. Orozco Fiscal started and played 90 minutes in Puebla's 1-1 draw with Chivas de Guadalajara in league play.
SEASON: 7 games, 7 starts
Greg Garza, D/M, Tijuana -- Not in the 18 for Tijuana's 2-0 loss to Jaguares.
SEASON: 0 games
Herculez Gomez, F, Santos Laguna -- Started, played 86 minutes in Santos Laguna's 1-1 draw with Tigres UANL on Saturday.
SEASON: 7 games, 7 starts, 1 goal
Benji Joya, M, Santos Laguna -- Not in the 18 for Santos Laguna's 1-1 draw with Tigres UANL. Joya is with the U.S. Under-20 national team for the CONCACAF U-20 championship.
SEASON: 0 games
Jose Torres, M, Tigres UANL -- Started, played 74 minutes in Tigres' 1-1 draw with Santos Laguna.
SEASON: 6 games, 6 starts