Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore strike loudly; Americans Abroad
As a horde of U.S. national team hopefuls compete in training camp in California, hoping to win over Jurgen Klinsmann for World Cup qualifiers and Gold Cup matches, the current batch of A-listers were going about their business to ensure they don't lose their standing in the player pool anytime soon.
Clint Dempsey had the most notable moment of the past week, notching a dramatic game-tying goal against Manchester United for Tottenham. During a time when Dempsey is out to prove his worth to Andre Villas-Boas that he can pair with Jermain Defoe up top while Emmanuel Adebayor is with Togo for the African Cup of Nations, Dempsey scored against the Premier League's top dog for the second time this season. He scored his first goal with Tottenham at Old Trafford in September, and that eventual game-winner combined with his stoppage-time equalizer Sunday means that he is directly responsible for four points that Spurs have taken off the Red Devils.
Not to be outdone, Jozy Altidore recorded his second hat trick this season, torching Vitesse for three goals in a 22-minute span to lift AZ Alkmaar to a win. Altidore scored his first on a run to the far post for an unmarked header, notched his second on a diving header from the right edge of the six-yard box and capped his landmark day with a close-range finish with his right foot after settling a cross off his chest and firing on goal. He now trails just Ivory Coast international Wilfried Bony, who has 16 goals, in the race for the league's Golden Boot. Altidore's 14 non-penalty goals are tied with Bony for the most in the league.
One of Altidore's former teams, Bursaspor, welcomed playing time-starved Maurice Edu on loan from Stoke City, a move that paid immediate dividends for the U.S. midfielder. In one day with Bursaspor, Edu played two-and-a-half more times as much as he did in almost five months with Stoke, pitching in 25 minutes off the bench for the Super Lig's fifth-place team before really having a chance to be integrated with the club.
Elsewhere among midfielders, Stuart Holden made his long-awaited return to Bolton's first team as a substitute in the FA Cup before being held out of the club's league game over the weekend as the Trotters ease him back into action. Michael Bradley continued his consistent, first-class play for Roma, helping the Italian club get by Fiorentina and into the semifinals of the Coppa Italia in addition to winning a penalty off Inter Milan in the clubs' draw over the weekend.
Easy to be overlooked amid attacking exploits but important considering the first World Cup qualifying hexagonal game is approaching, Tim Howard recorded his second straight clean sheet for Everton to preserve points in a game in which his team did not score.
With some of the top U.S. national team stars turning in fine performances and leagues in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium returning to action after a brief winter break, here is how the Americans playing abroad fared this past week (season statistics encompass all competitions):