By FRANCO PANIZO
Danny Williams came back from his latest knee setback this past Monday and now he has a golden opportunity to show just how healthy he really is.
Williams and Reading will play the second of their three matches in nine days when they visit Wigan Athletic in what is surely to be an intense match with promotional play-off implications on Friday. Fifth-placed Wigan hold a three-point cushion over sixth-placed Reading in the Championship, but neither team is likely to be looking for a draw as there are two other clubs hot on their trails for the final two promotional play-off spots. Williams has been one of the Royals’ stronger performers down the past few months, and he will hope that trend continues in order to boost his chances of playing in the Premiership next season and in Brazil this summer.
Tim Howard is another player still with plenty to play for this season. Howard and Everton suffered a blow to their UEFA Champions League hopes earlier this week when they suffered a 3-2 loss to Crystal Palace, but they can make up for it if they defeat Howard’s former club, Manchester United, at home on Sunday. The veteran goalkeeper – who just signed an extension with the Toffees – will also be crossing his fingers that fourth-placed Arsenal drop points at Hull City as that would open the door for Everton to leapfrog the Gunners in the standings.
Wondering what other match might be worth watching? Look no further than Jermaine Jones and Besiktas vs. Fenerbahce in the battle of the top two teams in the Super Lig. Besiktas have essentially no chance of displacing Fenerbahce from the top of the table, but still need a win in order to prevent third-placed Galatasaray from surpassing them in the standings and claiming Turkey’s lone UEFA Champions League qualifiers spot.
Here is who the Americans Abroad square off against this weekend:
Oguchi Onyewu and Sheffield Wednesday play AFC Bournemouth.
Tim Ream, Stuart Holden and Bolton Wanderers play Charlton Athletic. (Holden is out injured.)
Duane Holmes and Huddersfield Town play Brighton & Hove Albion.
Danny Williams and Reading play Wigan Athletic.
Zak Whitbread and Derby County play Doncaster Rovers.
Gboly Ariyibi and Tranmere Rovers play Gillingham.
Michael Farfan and Cruz Azul play Morelia.
Brad Friedel and Tottenham Hotspur play Fulham.
Brad Guzan and Aston Villa play Cody Cropper and Southampton.
Geoff Cameron, Brek Shea and Stoke City play Cardiff City.
Sebastian Lletget and West Ham United play Crystal Palace.
Jozy Altidore and Sunderland play Chelsea.
Eric Lichaj and Nottingham Forest play Jonathan Spector, Will Packwood and Birmingham City. (Lichaj is out injured.)
John Brooks and Hertha Berlin play FC Augsburg.
Fabian Johnson and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim play Werder Bremen.
Bobby Wood and TSV 1860 Munich play Arminia Bielefeld.
Alonso Hernandez and Monterrey play Veracruz.
DaMarcus Beasley, Michael Orozco and Puebla play Pachuca.
Gabriel Farfan and Jaguares de Chiapas play Santos Laguna.
Dennis Flores, Miguel Palafox and Club Leon play Jose Torres and Tigres UANL.
Tim Howard and Everton play Manchester United.
Timmy Chandler and FC Nurnberg play David Yelldell and Bayer Leverkusen. (Chandler is out injured.)
Andrew Wooten and FSV Frankfurt play Kaiserslautern.
Alfredo Morales and FC Ingolstadt 04 play VfR Aalen.
Alejandro Bedoya and FC Nantes play Valenciennes.
Jermaine Jones and Besiktas play Fenerbahce.
Terrence Boyd and Rapid Vienna play SV Grodig.
Conor O’Brien and Odense BK play FC Vestsjaelland.
Jonathan Bornstein and Atlante play Herculez Gomez, Joe Corona, Edgar Castillo, Greg Garza, Paul Arriola, Alejandro Guido, Fernando Arce Jr and Club Tijuana.
Jonathan Spector, Will Packwood and Birmingham City play Blackburn Rovers.
Zak Whitbread and Derby County play Barnsley.
Oguchi Onyewu and Sheffield Wednesday play Charlton Athletic.
Duane Holmes and Huddersfield Town play Yeovil Town.
Eric Lichaj and Nottingham Forest play Leeds United. (Lichaj is out injured.)
Gboly Ariyibi and Tranmere Rovers play Sheffield United.
Sacha Kljestan and RSC Anderlecht play Racing Genk in the Pro League playoff.
Babajide Ogunbiyi and Viborg FF play FC Midtjylland.
Josh Gatt, Ethan Horvath and Molde FK play Sarpsborg 08. (Gatt is out injured.)
Michael Stephens and Stabaek IF play Odd.
Zarek Valentin and FK Bodo/Glimt play Mix Diskerud and Rosenborg BK. (Valentin is out injured.)
Which of these matches are you most anticipating? Think Williams and Reading will pick up a victory this weekend? Do you see Howard and Everton winning and getting their desired result from Arsenal-Hull?
Share your thoughts below.