Friedel posts two shutouts for Aston Villa which defeats Portsmouth, ties Doncaster.
By Robert Wagman (in Washington, D.C.)
(Wednesday, January 28, 2009) -- It has been a busy week in England with Cup matches on Saturday and league matches midweek for many clubs.
American goalkeeper Brad Friedel had two clean sheets, but it wasn't easy. Yesterday, he needed to stop John Utaka in stoppage time, his fourth save of Aston Villa's 1-0 road victory over Portsmouth in the English Premier League.
In the 21st minute, his long clearance found the head of striker Gabriel Agbonlahor, who nodded the ball into the path of Emile Heskey for the only goal of the match.
Aston Villa is in fourth place at 14-4-5 with 47 points, one behind Liverpool (13-1-9).
On Saturday, Friedel once needed help from his left post in a 0-0 FA Cup fourth-round draw at Doncaster Rovers of the second-tier League Championship. Villa should have won easily, but was frustrated by the woodwork and Doncaster's veteran keeper Neill Sullivan, who had six saves.
In one of the week's premier matches today, U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard was beaten by Robin Van Persie in stoppage time, meaning Everton had to settle for a 1-1 draw with visiting Arsenal in a league match at Goodison Park.
Everton (10-6-7, 37 points), which received a goal from Tim Cahill in the 61st minute, remained in sixth-place, five points behind the fifth-place Arsenal (12-5-6).
On Sunday, Howard made eight saves in a 1-1 draw at Liverpool in the FA Cup's fourth round.
Yesterday, U.S. midfielder Clint Dempsey went 90 minutes in Fulham's 1-0 loss at Sunderland in the Premier League. On Saturday, he also went the distance, registering a pair of assists in Fulham's 4-2 FA Cup win at Kettering Town of the fifth-tier English Conference.
American defender Jonathan Spector did not play in West Ham United 's 2-0 FA Cup triumph Saturday over Hartlepool United of the third-tier League One. He also was not dressed for West Ham's 2-0 win over Hull City on Wednesday.
U.S. striker Eddie Johnson entered in added time for Cardiff City of the League Championship which surprised Arsenal with a 0-0 draw in the FA Cup. He did not play Wednesday Cardiff City's 2-0 win over Coventry.
Hahnemannm Convey remain on sidelines
In the League Championship, U.S. keeper Marcus Hahnemann continues to make a slow recovery from a calf injury suffered in December and was not dressed for second place Reading's 1-0 decision over first-place Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The match oddly was decided in the first minute on an own goal by defender Neill Collins. Reading (17-6-6, 57) trailed the surging Wolves (18-6-5) by two points and is two points ahead of Birmingham City (16-6-7) for the second automatic promotion spot to the Premier League.
As usual, American midfielder Bobby Convey did not dress for Reading.
U.S. defender Jay DeMerit, despite remaining the team's captain and a fan favorite, has been in and out of the Watford lineup this season. On Saturday, he started, went the distance and scored in Watford's 4-3 FA Cup victory over Crystal Palace, a League Championship foe.
DeMerit opened the scoring for Watford in the 17th minute with his first goal in more than a year.
On Tuesday, DeMerit was back on the bench in Watford's 3-0 league win over Burnley with newcomer Mike Williamson, obtained from the Wycombe Wanderers, getting the start.
American defender Frank Simek continues to be out with injury and was not dressed for Sheffield Wednesday's 2-1 loss at Nottingham Forest.
In Scotland, U.S. midfielder Maurice Edu's quest for playing time with Glasgow Rangers suffered another setback when he tinjured a knee in training, making him unavailable for a 0-0 draw at Aberdeen.
Edu "twisted his knee. He is not having much luck with injuries," Rangers manager Walter Smith said. "Hopefully he will be available next week." American midfielder DaMarcus Beasley also was not dressed for the Rangers.
Onyewu goes distance in Standard victory
In Belgium, U.S. midfielder Oguchi Onyewu went the distance Saturday in Standard de Liège's 1-0 triumph at Westerlo.
U.S. defender Carlos Bocanegra played 90 minutes for Rennes' in a 2-0 French Cup decision over Saint-Etienne.
U.S. attacker Freddy Adu did not dress for Monaco's 1-0 French Cup win over Nice.
In Italy, American defender Danny Szetela saw a few minutes of action for second-division Brescia. He did not play in a 2-0 victory over Empoli, but came on for the final seven minutes of Brescia's 0-0 tie at Sassuolo.
In Germany, U.S. striker Landon Donovan played the final 23 minutes of Bayern Munich's 5-1 German Cup quarterfinal triumph over Stuttgart.
U.S. defender Heath Pearce did not play in Hansa Rostock's 5-1 German Cup loss to Wolfsburg.
U.S. defender Gregg Berhalter played 90 minutes for 1860 Munich in a 3-1 German Cup loss at Hamburg.
In Spain, American striker Jozy Altidore did not dress for Villarreal's 1-1 draw with Osasuna.
Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.
Do you have a comment on this story or something to say about soccer in general? Send us a letter.
©Copyright 2009 SoccerTimes.com. All Rights Reserved.