Howard stops penalty kick, rallies slumping Everton to victory, draw.
By Robert Wagman (in Washington, D.C.)
(Thursday, December 10, 2009 ) -- United States goalkeeper Tim Howard had one of his best weeks since joining Everton, making key stops in two matches in which struggling Everton gained points in the English Premier League and the Europa League.
On Sunday, Howard made one of the biggest saves of his time at Everton when he stopped Jermain Defoe's penalty kick in stoppage time to preserve a 2-2 draw with visiting Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park.
After falling behind 2-0 on early second-half goals from Defoe and Michael Dawson, Everton came storming back on tallies by Louis Saha and Tim Cahill in the last 12 minutes. The Toffees' comeback looked for naught when Tony Hibbert took down Wilson Palacios two minutes into injury time, but Howard dove to his right and smothered Defoe's effort.
"It was a vital save," Everton manager David Moyes said. "We work hard to do what we can (on penalties), but he is a good goalkeeper. He is lively and he should make penalty saves because he is very agile."
The previous Wednesday, Howard's sterling nine-save, clean sheet propelled Everton to a 1-0 victory over host AEK Athens in a Europa League match at Spyros Louis (Olympic) Stadium.
In a heavy rain, Howard's nine saves were enough to allow Diniyar Bilyaletdinov's early goal to stand up for a triumph that propelled Everton into the final 32 in the tournament's knockout stage. Howard received a yellow card in the 54th minute of the physical match.
Everton's denying Tottenham of two standings points was a big help to Aston Villa, which defeated Hull City 3-0 behind some fine goalkeeping by ageless American Brad Friedel.
Friedel commanded his penalty area for 90 minutes and posted the shutout over outmanned Hull.
Villa (7-3-5, 26 points) moved into fifth place, one point behind Spurs (8-4-3) and a point ahead of Manchester City (6-1-7), and in position to challenge for a place in the European Champions League next season.
U.S. striker Jozy Altidore played 54 minutes for Hull City, but generated few chances. American keeper Brad Guzan was on the bench behind Friedel.
Veteran American keeper Marcus Hahnemann was in net for the second week in a row for Wolverhampton, which defeated Bolton Wanderers 2-1. Hahnemann made seven saves, denying Matt Taylor on a 30-yard free kick and stopping Ivan Klasnic's hard drive in the 81st minute.
U.S. midfielder Clint Dempsey went 90 minutes Sunday for Fulham in a 1-0 decision over Sunderland.
Dempsey, who is being closely watched by the English media and fans because he will be play for the Americans against England in next summer's World Cup in South Africa, was quick to shoot and on three occasions came within inches of hitting the net.
American forward Eddie Johnson did not dress for Fulham.
U.S. defender Jonathan Spector went the distance on the right side for West Ham United, which was completely outclassed by injury-decimated Manchester United 4-0.
In the second-tier League Championship, Jay DeMerit has healed from eye surgery and is back, playing the second half for Watford in a 3-1 win over Queens Park Rangers Monday night. On Saturday, he dressed, but did not play in a 2-0 road loss at Newcastle United.
American defender Frank Simek did not dress for Sheffield Wednesday in a 2-0 setback to Reading.
In the third-tier League One, American attacker Mike Grella stayed on the bench for Leeds United in a draw with Huddersfield.
Bradley assists goal in Mönchengladbach loss
In the German Bundesliga, U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley went 79 minutes in a fine effort by somewhat resurgent Borussia Mönchengladbach, which fell 2-1 at Bayern Munich.
Bradley assisted on Mönchengladbach's lone goal.
U.S. defender Steve Cherundolo has recovered from a mild knee strain and was back in the lineup for Hannover 96, which showed an improved defense in a 0-0 draw with Bayer Leverkusen.
In the 2. Bundesliga, American keeper David Yelldell was shelled in goal in TuS Koblenz's 5-1 loss to St. Pauli.
American striker Matt Taylor played the final five minutes of FSV Frankfurt's 2-0 loss at Augsburg.
American Luis Robles was the backup keeper in Kaiserslautern's 1-0 victory at Hansa Rostock.
In France's Ligue 1, U.S. defender Carlos Bocanegra was solid on the back-line in Stade Rennes' 1-0 win over Lorient.
In Scotland's Premier League, U.S. midfielder DaMarcus Beasley played the final 28 minutes of Galsgow Rangers' 3-1 decision over host Falkirk.
In the Portugese Liga, U.S. midfielder Freddy Adu dressed, but didn't play in Belenenses' 0-0 draw at Rio Ave.
In Denmark's Superliga Monday night, U.S. midfielder Benny Feilhaber went 90 minutes in AGF Aarhus' 1-1 draw with Esbjerg FB. Jeremiah White did not play for Aarhus.
American defender Michael Parkhurst went the distance for Nordsjaelland, which prevailed 3-0 over Midtjylland.
American forward Marcus Tracy went 77 minutes for Aalborg, which fell 2-0 at Sonderjyske.
Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.
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