Dempsey absent with thigh injury, Fulham makes Europa Cup semifinals.
By Robert Wagman (in Washington, D.C.)
(Thursday, April 8, 2010) -- United States midfielder Clint Dempsey was sidelined with a thigh injury for Fulham's 1-0 victory over host VfL Wolfsburg of Germany today in a Europa League quarterfinal second-leg match at Volkswagen Arena.
Fulham of England's Premier League advanced to the semifinals with a 3-1 aggregate triumph and will play next Hamburg SV.
Dempsey, 27, has played a big part in Fulham's success in this second-tier European tournament, most notably for the decisive tally in a 4-1 victory over Juventus of Italy in the Round of 16. He also has six goals and three assists in Premier League play.
Dempsey, who has moved from the midfield to the front line, was hurt in the final minute of Sunday's 2-1 come-from behind home win over Wigan Athletic.
"Clint Dempsey has not traveled with us," Cottagers manager Roy Hodgson said. "In the very last minute of the game against Wigan, he was, in our opinion, fouled in the penalty area. Not only did we not get a penalty, we also lost a player because he was injured in the challenge.
"Unfortunately he's going to be out for a period of time, certainly (Thursday) and on Sunday against Liverpool and possibly longer. The scan has shown there is a muscular injury and it's going to keep him out for a period of time."
It was a heartbreaking Saturday afternoon for U.S. goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann and Wolverhampton in the Premier League. Despite being a man down from the 66th minute, they were only seconds away from holding powerful host Arsenal scoreless at Emirates Stadium when disaster struck. A defensive mix-up allowed unmarked Nicklas Bendtner, in the center of the penalty area, to get his head on a Bacary Sagna cross and send it low into the bottom right corner for a 1-0 Arsenal victory.
Hahnemann was terrific throughout. In the 38th minute, he stopped a hard shot from Mikaël Silvestre. In the 59th and 68th minutes, he denied Tomas Rosicky. In the 73rd minutes, he turned away Bendtner and Rosicky was stopped four minutes later. Arsenal outshot Wolves 23-5.
In a meeting of teams employing Americans, West Ham United went to Everton and came away with a 2-2 draw at Goodison Park.
West Ham's American defender Jonathan Spector was culpable on one goal in the 24th minute when he attempted to head a ball clear, but it fell to Everton's Tim Cahill who headed it to Diniyar Bilyaletdinov for a goal.
U.S. keeper Tim Howard made three saves for Everton, including stopping a penalty kick from Hossam Mido
Twice the Hammers came back from one-goal deficits.
On the hour, West Ham did level at 1-1 when Howard was screened from a corner kick and it bounced in the area and fell to Manuel Da Costa for a finish.
Everton went back ahead in the 85th minute on a tally by Ayegbeni Yakubu, but three minutes later Aruajo Ilan dove full-length on the dead run to get his head on a cross and beat Howard for the final result.
On Saturday, U.S. keeper Brad Friedel got some measure of redemption for himself and Aston Villa after last week's 7-1 mauling at the hands of Chelsea by keeping a clean sheet in a 1-0 decision over Bolton Wanderers. Friedel was sharp keeping, midway through the second stanza denying Ivan Klasnic's low drive with a reflex kick save. He has five saves on the day.
American Brad Guzan, as usual, was on the bench as Villa's backup keeper.
Hull City desperately needed point Saturday when it faced off against Stoke City, but they none in a 2-0 setback. U.S. striker Jozy Altidore started on the Hull bench, but came on in the 65th minute.
Hull could not get its offense going and was forced to play the last 15 minutes with 10 men after captain George Boateng was knocked unconscious by a Tuncay Sanli's overhead kick. Hull had made all three substitutions.
In the second-tier English League Championship, U.S. defender Jay DeMerit and relegation-challenged Watford took a big step backward with a 3-1 loss to Crystal Palace. After taking a knock in that match, DeMerit was held out of Watford's 1-1 draw away at Preston North End Saturday so he could rest up for Monday's critical visit from promotion-bound West Bromwich.
On Monday, despite being without four other starters - out with injuries or suspensions - Watford manager Malky Mackay thought captain and central defender Jay DeMerit was simply worn down and was going to hold him out.
That resolve lasted but 10 minutes when Lloyd Doyley went down and DeMerit was rushed on to play the final 80 minutes-plus. He was solid in a defense that held high-scoring West Brom scoreless despite going a man down in the 79th minute.
Watford (11-18-12) went ahead on a goal by Danny Graham, but West Brom tied it on Chris Brunt's tally five minutes into stoppage time.
Watford is above the relegation zone only by virtue of having a goal differential seven better than Sheffield Wednesday (11-19-12), which is even with Watford with 45 points. Watford holds a game in hand.
U.S. forward Kenny Cooper played the final seven minutes for Plymouth Argyle, which defeated Doncaster Rovers 2-1 Saturday.
On Monday, /b> Cooper dressed, but didn't play in a 2-0 loss to Middlesbrough.
Likewise, American defender Frank Simek dressed, but didn't play in Sheffield Wednesday's 1-0 loss to Bristol City.
In the third-division League Saturday, American striker Mike Grella played the first 75 minutes for Leeds United, which fell further from automatic promotion by losing 2-0 to Swindon Town in a major promotion battle.
Grella dressed, but didn't play in Monday's 2-1 victory over Yeovil Town. Swindon blanked Tranmere Rovers 3-0
The top two teams are automatically promoted Swindon (21-6-13) is in second place with 74 points, while Leeds is fourth at 21-8-11 with 74 points.
Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.
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