Howard, Donovan go down with Everton, eliminated from FA Cup.
By Robert Wagman (in Washington, D.C.)
(Tuesday, January 26, 2010) -- Everton was absolutely flat in the first half when visiting Birmingham City put a pair of goals past United States goalkeeper Tim Howard and then held on for a 2-1 victory in a match of English Premier League clubs Saturday at Goodison Park, knocking Everton out of the FA Cup in the fourth round.
American Landon Donovan started on the right side of the attack and, after two strong performances in his Everton debut, at times had problems meshing with his new teammates. But Donovan played hard, often dropping all the way back into his own penalty area to play defense.
Donovan came out in the 75th minute when Mikel Arteta made his first appearance in more than a year after suffering knee ligament damage.
In another FA Cup game, U.S. keeper Brad Guzan was beaten twice, but the EPL's Aston Villa survived a scare from third-division Brighton and emerged with a 3-2 triumph. The two teams traded goals as Brighton put up a good fight and was tied 1-1 after 45 minutes. But Villa jumped ahead 3-1 during the next 18 minutes before Guzan surrendered a goal in stoppage time.
Guzan finished with three saves.
American keeper Marcus Hahnemann and seven other starters remained on the bench for the Premier League's Wolverhampton, which used a late goal to draw 2-2 with second-tier Crystal Palace, forcing a replay.
American forward Mike Grella dressed, but did not play for third-tier Leeds United, which used Jermaine Beckford's stoppage-time penalty kick -- his second goal -- and some sensational goalkeeping from Casper Ankergren (13 saves) to draw 2-2 at the Premier League's Tottenham Hotspur and force a replay at Leeds.
In the only Premier League match of the weekend, U.S. striker Jozy Altidore was still excused by Hull City for personal reasons tied to the earthquake in Haiti. Hull, in the relegation zone in 19th place was no match for league-leading Manchester United, which won 4-0 at home behind four goals by Wayne Rooney, three in the final eight minutes.
In the third-tier League One, U.S. defender Jay DeMerit went the distance for Watford, which fell 3-2 to Blackpool, which tied the match in the last minute of regulation and won in injury time.
Frank Simek remained on the bench as Sheffield Wednesday defeated Peterborough United 2-1.
Holden signs with Bolton Wanderers
After having been thought to be headed to Portugal, it now looks as U.S. midfielder Stuart Holden, formerly of Major League Soccer's Houston Dynamo, will stick with the EPL's Bolton Wanderers.
Holden signed a contract for the remainder of the season with a deal believed to include option years.
Halfway through a two-week trial, it looked like Holden would move on to Sporting Braga of the Portugese Liga. But manager Owen Coyle apparently reconsidered.
"Stuart has been training with us and he has done well," Coyle told his team's web site. "He has a great energy and desire, and he wants to show that he can play in the best league in the world, so he is a young man with a point to prove."
"It is exciting to have this type of opportunity and I'm looking forward to being a Bolton Wanderer," Holden said on his web site.
Eighteen-year-old American defender Gale Agbossoumonde, who has been training with Braga, looks to be near signing a six-month contract, essentially a loan from Traffic Sports, a Brazilian sports agency in Miami, Fla., and Miami FC, an American second-division club.
The contract is also said to allow the youngster to buy himself out of the deal.
Edu, Beasley sit with injuries
In Scotland, U.S. midfielders Maurice Edu, with an ankle injury, and DaMarcus Beasley, with a thigh ailment, did not dress for Glasgow Rangers in a 1-1 tie with visiting Heart of Midlothian at Ibrox Stadium.
In France's League 1, Carlos Bocanegra went the distance last Tuesday for Stade Rennes, which drew 0-0 with St Etienne.
On Friday, Bocanegra also played 90 minutes as Rennes outclassed Saumur 4-0 in a Coupe De France second-round match. Three of Rennes goals came in the closing six minutes.
In the German Bundesliga, U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley went the distance for Borussia Mönchengladbach, which came up empty on a first-half penalty kick and drew 0-0 with last place Hertha Berlin.
U.S. defender Steve Cherundolo went 90 minutes for Hannover 96 and its new coach Mirko Slomka, but the fading team dropped a 1-0 decision to 1. FSV Mainz 05
Cherundolo received a yellow card in stoppage time as Hannover fell one point into the relegation zone.
In Greece, U.S. striker Eddie Johnson came on in the 68th minute and provided a lift for host Aris Thessaloniki, which drew 0-0 Sunday with league-leading Panathinaikos at Kleanthis Vikelides (Harilaou) Stadium.
Johnson triggered an open shot from the middle after running onto a cross, but he was denied by a good save.
American midfielder Freddy Adu, newly acquired like Johnson, was formally presented to the Aris fans and media this week, but he is not expected to crack the lineup for awhile.
"At this moment, Adu is improving a lot," Aris coach Hector Raul Cuper said Friday. "His playing minutes so far haven't been as many as he should have. If nothing changes until Sunday, he will be in the 18 (-player game roster). He might get some participation time, but for few minutes, because he's not yet at the same condition as the rest of his teammates."
Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.
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