Dempsey thrives, but Fulham struggles in EPL, Europa League.
By Robert Wagman (in Washington, D.C.)
(Thursday, December 22, 2011) -- It was a week of high and lows for Fulham of the English Premier League, but quite a week for United States midfielder Clint Dempsey.
The low point came last week when playing at home at Craven Cottage with Fulham crashing out of the Europa League in its final group match by allowing Odense of Denmark a stoppage-time goal from Djiby Fall for a 2-2 draw. That left Fulham third in Group K, one point behind Poland's Wisla Kraków with the top two advancing.
Fulham's passage to the 32-team knockout stage seemed likely after Dempsey's 27th-minute goal opened the scoring en route to a 2-0 lead. Kerim Frei sent in a low cross to Bobby Zamora, who laid the ball off for Dempsey to finish.
In the English Premier League on Saturday, Fulham came back from the disappointment with a 2-0 victory over visiting Bolton Wanderers with Dempsey and Costa Rica international Bryan Ruiz providing the goals. Dempsey again opened the scoring, getting on the end of a sharp cross from Ruiz on the dead run from the left side. Two minutes later, Dempsey's lead pass put Ruiz clear and on the run before he chipped his shot over the goalkeeper.
Yesterday, Dempsey went 85 minutes for Fulham in a 5-0 rout at the hands of visiting Manchester United
In one piece of bad news, Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer will miss up to six weeks after suffering a compression injury to his thoracic spine.
American defender Daniel Potts, a 17-year-old left back, signed a professional contract with West Ham United of the second-division English League Championship. After one outing with the reserve team, Potts was promoted and thrust into the starting side for a 1-0 triumph over Barnsley.
Potts had a terrific first game and was high in the voting for "Man of the Match" honors. Potts, who has dual U.S-United Kingdom citizenship, is also eligible to play for England.
Potts' father Steve is a former captain for West Ham.
The English soccer world is in the midst of its annual frenetic holiday schedule that sees clubs playing four -- and occasionally five matches -- between last weekend and the New Year's Bank Holiday on January 2.
Today, American keeper Brad Friedel was in net for host Tottenham Hotspur, which tied Chelsea 1-1.
On Sunday, Friedel made four saves, earning a clean sheet in a 1-0 decision over Sunderland.
U.S. keeper Brad Guzan conceded a goal to midfielder Yossi Benayoun yesterday in the 87th minute, allowing visiting Arsenal to edge Aston Villa 2-1.
It was Guzan's third straight start for Villa. On Sunday, he made five saves, but Villa fell 2-0 to Liverpool..
U.S. keeper Tim Howard posted a shutout yesterday for Everton, a 1-0 victor over Swansea City.
He also did well in Everton's 1-1 draw with Norwich City on Saturday. American defender Zak Whitbread went 90 minutes for Norwich City.
American keeper Marcus Hahnemann did not dress for Everton in either match.
Whitbread also went the distance for Norwich Tuesday in a 202 road draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers
U.S. defender Eric Lichaj remains on the shelf with a bad hip for Villa, as does U.S. midfielder Stuart Holden for Bolton because of knee surgery.
In the League Championship, U.S. defender Jonathan Spector went the distance Saturday for Birmingham City, which fell 1-0 on a late goal Monday night to Crystal Palace.
U.S. striker Robbie Findley dressed, but did not play for Nottingham Forest in its 0-0 draw with Bristol City.
Irish-American forward Conor Doyle did not dress for Derby County in a 1-0 loss Saturday to Ipswich Town.
In the third-division League One, American defender Frank Simek has returned to good health and played 90 minutes for Carlisle United in a 2-2 draw Saturday with Wycombe Wanderers.
American midfielder Anton Peterlin went 90 minutes for Walsall in its 1-1 draw Saturday with Chesterfield.
American striker Mike Grella dressed, but remained on the bench for Brentford in a 1-1 draw Saturday with Bury.
In Scotland, Glasgow Rangers came out on top 2-1 over Inverness Caledonian Thistle. The match featured both teams taking numerous shots with both hitting the woodwork or seeing scoring attempts cleared off the goal-line.
Rangers win came in good measure because of the play of U.S. defender Carlos Bocanegra, who opened the scoring for Rangers with a terrific goal. He ran from the top of the penalty area deep into the box and scored off a rebound from an acute angle with a defender draped all over him. The goal was the second this Scottish Premier League campaign for Bocanegra, but in the past, his goals usually come from his head off set plays.
He defended well, getting a yellow card.
Alejandro Bedoya started and played 52 minutes for Rangers while Maurice Edu played the first half.
In the German Bundesliga, German-American midfielder Jermaine Jones played 90 minutes for Schalke 04, which drubbed Werder Bremen 5-0 on Saturday. For the first time in seven matches, Jones was not issued a yellow card during a period which included a one-match suspension.
German-American defender-midfielder Fabian Johnson went 90 minutes for TSG 1899 Hoffenheim in its 1-1 draw with Hertha Berlin on Saturday. German-American defender-midfielder Danny Williams played the final 25 minutes for Hoffenheim.
American midfielder Alfredo Morales did not dress for Hertha.
U.S. defender Steve Cherundolo dressed, but did not play for Hannover 96' in a 1-1 draw Sunday with Kaiserslautern.
U.S. defender Timmy Chandler served a one-match red-card suspension and missed 1. FC Nürnberg's 3-0 victory Saturday over Bayer Leverkusen. American keeper David Yelldell was on the bench as Leverkusen's backup.
German-American striker Terrence Boyd is off at the U.S. under-23 men's camp with Borussia Dortmund's blessing and was not available for a 4-1 triumph over SC Freiburg.
In the second-division 2. Bundesliga, U.S. forward Edson Buddle appears to be deep in the doghouse at FC Ingolstadt 04's and has been suspended by the team until at least after the January winter break. This opens the real possibility that despite being the team's leading scorer, he could be dealt in the January transfer window.
American forward Matt Taylor came off the bench and played one minute for SC Paderborn 07 in a 3-2 decision over Fortuna Dusseldorf on Friday.
American Luis Robles was on the bench as backup keeper for Karlsruher SC in a 3-1 loss Saturday to TSV 1860 Munich.
American striker Bobby Wood is out with an injured knee for 1860.
U.S. midfielder Ricardo Clark did not dress for Eintracht Frankfurt in its 2-0 loss Monday night to St Pauli.
In Italy, U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley went 90 minutes for Chievo Verona in a 2-0 victory Saturday over Cagliari.
In Portugal, U.S. defender Oguchi Onyewu went the distance for Sporting Lisbon in its 1-1 draw with Academica de Coimbra on Sunday.
Prior to that, he was one of the few starters who played in a 2-0 loss to Lazio in the Europa League. Sporting had already advanced by winning its group, so it started seven reserves and in the process allowed Lazio to move on to the round of 32.
In the Netherlands, U.S. striker Jozy Altidore played the first half for AZ Alkmaar in its 2-1 loss to NAC Breda on Sunday.
In Belgium, U.S. midfielder Sacha Kljestan played 90 minutes for RSC Anderlecht in a 3-2 victory Sunday over Lokeren.
Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.
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