Friedel, Spurs must quickly reverse trend for chance at Champions League.
By Robert Wagman (in Washington, D.C.)
(Friday, April 27, 2012) -- Goalkeeper Brad Friedel is the only American playing in England whose club has a major accomplishment left in the offing.
With four matches remaining, Tottenham Hotspur stands in fifth place in the English Premier League after two consecutive losses at 17-9-8 with 59 points, four points behind hot Newcastle United (18-8-8), which has won six straight to climb to fourth. Spurs were 1-2-3 in that span.
While the three positions in the Premier League earn automatic entrance into the European Champions League. The fourth-place finisher goes into a Champions League play-in tournament. At worst, Tottenham will garner a spot in Europe's second-tier Europa League.
Tottenham's pursuit of the FA Cup ended Sunday with a 5-1 home loss to North London rival Chelsea in the semifinals. As was the case this season, Friedel did not play in the Cup game.
In a league match Saturday, Friedel made five saves, but Spurs fell 1-0 to Queens Park Rangers, whose offense has disappeared lately.
U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard and Everton also had their FA Cup run end in the semifinals Saturday with a 2-1 road loss to arch-rival Liverpool. Howard made four saves.
In English Premier League play, Howard made four saves in a strange 4-4 draw with league-leading Manchester United with Everton managing a pair of late goals. Howard could only be faulted on one of the Man. U. goals.
Everton is seventh in the EPL at 13-12-9 with 48 points.
Fulham (12-12-10, 46 points) is in ninth place, two points behind seventh, which brings the last EPL Europa League berth.
U.S. midfielder Clint Dempsey helped the Cottagers' cause Saturday, assisting on a goal in a 2-1 victory over Wigan Athletic.
U.S. defender Eric Lichaj continues to get first-team minutes at Aston Villa, going 90 minutes in a 0-0 draw with Sunderland on Saturday.
On Tuesday, Lichaj earned a yellow card in a 2-1 loss to visiting Bolton Wanderers for interfering with a throw-in in stoppage time.
American defender Tim Ream, playing for Bolton, also drew a yellow card in the match.
At one point late in the heated game, Bolton manager Owen Coyle and Villa manager Kevin MacDonald almost came to blows after a hard foul on Bolton's Ryo Miyaichi by Lichaj.
American Brad Guzan continues to dress as the backup keeper for Villa as he ponders his future with the club. He has been offered a new multi-year pact.
Ream went the distance Saturday for Bolton in a 1-1 draw with Swansea City.
American defender Zak Whitbread recovered from a hamstring injury, but is now out with a calf strain and has missed several more Norwich City matches, including a 2-0 loss to Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.
Tennessee-born Welsh defender Adam Henley did not dress for Blackburn.
In the second-division English League Championship, American striker Robbie Findley played the final 49 minutes for Nottingham Forest in its 2-1 loss to Hull City.
Several injured Americans continue to miss matches. Defender Jonathan Spector (thigh) for Birmingham City, forward Conor Doyle (hamstring) for Derby County, midfielder Robbie Rogers (ankle) for Leeds United all appear out for the remainder of the season.
Rogers was hurt last week after missing several weeks with a concussion.
In the third-tier League One, American striker Mike Grella is hot at Bury. After scoring the match winner a week earlier, he found net twice in a 4-2 win over Notts County on Saturday
American defender Frank Simek received a yellow card as he went the distance Saturday for Carlisle United in a 2-1 loss to Sheffield Wednesday.
American midfielder Anton Peterlin continues not to dress for Walsall.
In Scotland, although out of contention following a 10-point penalty, Rangers bounced back with a 3-0 whitewash of Heart of Midlothian.
U.S. midfielder Maurice Edu and defender Carlos Bocanegra each went 90 minutes, while midfielder Alejandro Bedoya again dressed, but did not play for Rangers.
Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.
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