The upset bug made its way around Europe over the weekend, with Mainz beating German power Bayern Munich and Getafe taming the all-mighty Barcelona, but for a few U.S. national team starters, their teams couldn't quite come up with the efforts necessary to stake claims to landmark Thanksgiving weekend victories against top competition.
Starting in Italy, Michael Bradley's Chievo Verona was always going to have a difficult time controlling an AC Milan team hitting on all cylinders, but the Flying Donkeys were blitzed out of the gate, yielding four goals before halftime in a 4-0 loss. Bradley, stationed on the wing as he has been throughout his brief foray into Serie A, had one of Chievo's rare opportunities on the day, but his volley attempt just missed the target, and Chievo was resigned to maintaining its mid-table position.
In Germany, Jermaine Jones' Schalke missed an opportunity to climb into the top three of the Bundesliga by dropping a 2-0 result to defending champion and hard-charging table leader Borussia Dortmund. While Jones has secured his place in Schalke's starting lineup after an uncertain start to the season, the hard-tackling midfielder continues to be a card liability whenever he steps onto the field. He was booked in the first half of the loss for a hard challenge, marking the fifth consecutive league game in which he has picked up a yellow card.
An unfortunate scene unfolded in Portugal, where fans of Oguchi Onyewu and Sporting Lisbon set fire to the stands at the Estadio da Luz following Sporting's 1-0 loss to rival Benfica in a matchup of top-three sides. The loss snapped Sporting's seven-game winning streak, and it also prevented Onyewu's side from keeping pace with Porto and Benfica in the three-team race atop the league standings. For Onyewu, though, the game marked his second straight 90-minute outing after returning from a groin injury that kept him out of the U.S. friendlies against France and Slovenia.
It was not an entirely bad day at the office for Clint Dempsey and Fulham, even though they missed their chance to claim London bragging rights against in-form Arsenal. The Cottagers managed to take a point off the Gunners while slowing down the red-hot Robin van Persie in the process, but they still remain perilously close to the drop zone more than a third of the way through the Premier League season.
Even though those teams featuring high-profile Americans could not fully deliver, a few others were helped by individual American efforts. Timmy Chandler made the biggest impact, scoring the only goal in FC Nurnberg's victory over Kaiserslautern for his first tally of the year.
Fabian Johnson, Jonathan Spector, Mike Grella and Michael Parkhurst all played the role of provider to assist on key goals that led directly to points for their respective teams in a week chock-full of action for Americans playing abroad. Here's how everybody fared (season statistics encompass all competitions):
The list of MLS-based Americans going overseas to train with European clubs keeps growing by the week. Here's an updated look at where players have either finished training, are currently training or will be training over the coming weeks:
Teal Bunbury, F, Sporting Kansas City (Bolton)
Juan Agudelo, F, New York Red Bulls (VfB Stuttgart)