By FRANCO PANIZO
Time is winding down on many of the European seasons, and that means a good chunk of the focus will turn towards relegation battles.
Jozy Altidore and Sunderland are involved in one of the more interesting ones, and they will need a big performance in order to keep themselves in the safety zone. The Black Cats visit Old Trafford to take on Manchester United in their third-to-last match of the season, and only a surprise three points will be enough to guarantee that Sunderland do not fall back into a relegation spot. Altidore’s role in the match is unknown, but he showed a few weeks ago that he can come off the bench and make an impact despite his ongoing scoring woes.
Another player in the midst of a fight against relegation is Timmy Chandler. FC Nurnberg have two games left in their Bundesliga campaign to steer clear of the drop, and are set to play their last home match of the season against Hannover on Saturday. Chandler will surely be hoping to help Nurnberg grab a victory and build on his 45-minute return performance from last week in order to improve his World Cup chances with the U.S. Men’s National Team.
While Altidore and Chandler try to keep their clubs afloat in their respective top divisions, Club Tijuana’s American contingent will attempt to keep their Liga MX playoff dreams alive. Xolos will play the second match of the two-legged series against Toluca on Sunday, and that short turnaround could thrust reserve players like Greg Garza and Herculez Gomez into prominent roles.
Here is who the Americans Abroad face off against this weekend:
Sebastian Lletget and West Ham United play Brad Friedel and Tottenham Hotspur.
Brad Guzan and Aston Villa play Hull City.
Jozy Altidore and Sunderland play Manchester United.
Geoff Cameron, Brek Shea and Stoke City play Fulham.
Cody Cropper and Southampton play Swansea City.
Tim Howard and Everton play Manchester City.
Tim Ream, Stuart Holden and Bolton Wanderers play Jonathan Spector, Will Packwood and Birmingham City. (Holden is out injured.)
Oguchi Onyewu and Sheffield Wednesday play Ipswich Town.
Zak Whitbread and Derby County play Leeds United.
Eric Lichaj and Nottingham Forest play Brighton & Hove Albion. (Lichaj is out injured.)
Danny Williams and Reading play Burnley.
Duane Holmes and Huddersfield Town play Watford.
Gboly Ariyibi and Tranmere Rovers play Bradford City.
Fabian Johnson, Joe Gyau and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim play Borussia Dortmund.
David Yelldell and Bayer Leverkusen play Eintracht Frankfurt.
Timmy Chandler and FC Nurnberg play Hannover 96.
John Brooks and Hertha Berlin play Werder Bremen.
Aron Johannsson and AZ Alkmaar play Feyenoord Rotterdam.
Juan Agudelo and FC Utrecht play Vitesse Arnhem.
Jermaine Jones and Besiktas play Kasimpasa.
Michael Farfan and Cruz Azul play Dennis Flores, Miguel Palafox and Club Leon.
Andrew Wooten and FSV Frankfurt play Arminia Bielefeld.
Alfredo Morales and FC Ingolstadt 04 play SV Sandhausen.
Bobby Wood and TSV 1860 Munich play VfL Bochum.
Alejandro Bedoya and FC Nantes play Toulouse.
Sacha Kljestan and RSC Anderlecht play Club Brugge in the Pro League playoff.
Terrence Boyd and Rapid Vienna play FC Wacker Tirol.
Babajide Ogunbiyi and Viborg FF play SonderjyskE.
Herculez Gomez, Joe Corona, Edgar Castillo, Greg Garza, Paul Arriola, Alejandro Guido, Fernando Arce Jr and Club Tijuana play Toluca.
Zarek Valentin and FK Bodo/Glimt play Stromsgodset. (Valentin is out injured.)
Mix Diskerud and Rosenborg BK play Josh Gatt, Ethan Horvath and Molde FK. (Gatt is out injured.)
Conor O’Brien and Odense BK play AGF Aarhus.
Michael Stephens and Stabaek IF play Valerenga.
Which of these matches are you most anticipating? Think Altidore and Sunderland get a result vs. Manchester United? How do you see Chandler faring this weekend?
Share your thoughts below.