Holden returns to Bolton as reserve after long rehabiliation of knee injury.
By Robert Wagman (in Washington, D.C.)
(Wednesday, January 16, 2013) -- United States midfielder Stuart Holden, sidelined for the better part of two years with a serious injury to his right knee, returned to action for Bolton Wanderers of the second-tier English League Championship tonight as a late substitute in a 2-0 victory over host Sunderland of the Premier League in the FA Cup third-round replay at Stadium of Light.
Holden played the final 16 minutes for Wanderers, who were in the Premier League when Holden went down.
Holden injured his right knee when he was tackled by Manchester United defender Jonny Evans during a Premier League game on March 19, 2011. Holden returned from surgery to play in a League Cup match against Aston Villa the following September 20, but required surgery on the same knee eight days later.
"It was great just to be a part of it all again," Holden told Bolton's web site. "It's been so long. I've played a few reserve games, but nothing compares to being out there with the first team.
"I was sitting in the hotel reflecting on the last year-and-a-half and how much work I've done and how many days I've spent in the gym. For that to culminate now and being back with the first team, doing what I love, was a special moment for me. We're under a new manager now and he's brought in some new philosophies, and I really feel that he'll help me move on to another level as a player. I want to kick on and get back in the team and be a regular in the starting 11."
Owen Coyle was the manager when Holden went down, but Coyle was fired in October. He was replaced by Dougie Freedman, a Scot.
"He's a battler and a winner," Freedman told BBC Radio Manchester. "When he came on the field, I was so delighted. He's got a long way to go, but he knows that this club are fully behind him."
"I must pay credit to him and the mental strength he's shown, and also to the way he handles himself around the place," Freedman told Associated Press.
Tonight's replay was necessary after a 2-2 draw between the sides at Bolton, which moves to play Everton of the Premier League.
Holden, who has 17 international appearances, was a member of the 2010 U.S. World Cup team.
The German Bunsdesliga has not resumed played, but most other European leagues outside of Scandinavia have resumed action. Americans did not have much to show for their efforts.
United States defender Carlos Bocanegra has made it back to Spain. He returned to the U.S. Christmas and then became stranded because of visa issues. He missed three matches for Racing Santander of the second-tier Segunda Division, but is expected back in action next weekend.
In the English Premier League, U.S. midfielder Clint Dempsey was surprisingly on the Tottenham Hotspur bench to begin Saturday's 0-0 draw with Queen's Park Rangers, coming in for the last 22 minutes of a match which had QPR in a defensive shell for the entirety.
American Brad Friedel was Spurs' backup keeper.
Stoke City was not expected to beat Chelsea, but it didn't help itself with a pair of own goals on the way to a 4-0 loss.
U.S. defender Geoff Cameron went the distance for Stoke.
U.S. keeper Tim Howard had three saves, but really little to do for Everton in its 0-0 draw with Swansea City.
American keeper Brad Guzan also had three saves, but once again Aston Villa could mount little offense and fell to Southampton 1-0.
American defender Eric Lichaj dressed, but did not play for Villa.
In the League Championship, Bolton Wanderers and Millwall traded penalty kicks in a 1-1 draw.
U.S. defender Tim Ream, who went 90 minutes for Bolton, committed an early error that led to the foul Millwall's spot kick.
Holden did not dress after playing earlier for the reserve team.
American defender Jonathan Spector played the second half and received a yellow card for Birmingham City in a 2-0 win over Huddersfield Town.
City's American defender Will Packwood is done for the season after breaking his left leg in four places in the previous outing.
American defender Zak Whitbread continues to be out with an injured calf for Leicester City. Irish-American striker Conor Doyle did not dress for Derby County. American forward Robbie Findley did not dress for Nottingham Forest.
In the third-tier League One, American defender Frank Simek played 90 minutes for Carlisle United, which edged Coventry City 1-0.
American striker Mike Grella also played 90 minutes for Scunthorpe United in 2-1 decision over Colchester United.
American midfielder Robbie Rogers did not dress for Stevenage in a 2-1 loss to Doncaster Rovers. His loan ended yesterday and Leeds United of the League Championship terminated his contract, so his future is up in the air.
In Italy, AS Roma suffered its second loss in a row since the holiday break, a 1-0 loss to Catania on Sunday.
U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley went the distance and might have had Roma's best chance when he missed from close-in just before the half.
In Spain's top-flight La Liga, U.S. defender Oguchi Onyewu dressed, but did not play for Málaga CF in Sunday's 3-1 loss to Barcelona.
In Mexico, U.S. defender Edgar Castillo and midfielder Joe Corona played 90 minutes for Club Tijuana's 1-0 victory over Leon.
Castillo received a yellow card, while American defender Greg Garza did not dress for Tijuana.
U.S. striker Herculez Gomez played 90 minutes for Santos Laguna in its 2-0 shutout of Chivas de Guadalajara.
U.S. midfielder DaMarcus Beasley played the first 69 minutes, while defender Michael Orozco Fiscal went the distance for Puebla in its 1-1 draw with Toluca.
Because of an ankle injury, U.S. midfielder José Torres remains sidelined for Tigres UANL, a 3-1 winner over Atlante .
American defender Jonathan Bornstein dressed, but did not play for Tigres.
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 2013 SoccerTimes.com. All Rights Reserved.