Dempsey scores again for Fulham in draw with Chelsea.
By Robert Wagman (in Washington, D.C.)
(Thursday, December 29, 2011) -- United States midfielder Clint Dempsey continued his recent scoring tear for Fulham, helping the visiting Cottagers earn a 1-1 draw with Chelsea Monday in a West London derby in the English Premier League at Stamford Bridge Stadium.
The United Kingdom was the only country playing high level soccer in the past week with the other leagues on winter break.
Dempsey notched his fourth his fourth goal in six outings, recording the tying tally in the 56th minute, nine minutes after striker Juan Manuel Mata had put Chelsea up 1-0.
Fulham manager Martin Jol employed what resembled a defensive 4-1-4-1 formation with Dempsey in the center of midfield, rather than on the wing. Dempsey was saddled with more defensive duties than usual, repeatedly chasing back, trying to stop Chelsea from getting away on the break. In the seventh minute, Dempsey used his hands to impede an attack and was issued a yellow card.
In the 56th minute, Fulham forward Bryan Ruiz gained the ball on the right side and beat a defender before getting off a low cross, Sliding at the near post, Dempsey stabbed the ball past goalkeeper Petr Cech for Fulham's fourth road goal in league, the lowest total in the Premier League.
In Scotland, Glasgow Rangers lost two matches and were overtaken from first place of the Scottish Premier League last night when host Glasgow Celtic used a goal by midfielder Joseph Ledley in the 52nd minute to capture the Old Firm match 1-0 at Glasgow Stadium.
Defender Carlos Bocanegra went the distance for Rangers, earning a yellow card in the 60th minute, while U.S. men's teammate Maurice Edu replaced Lee Wallace in the midfield in the 78th minute. U.S. midfielder Alejandro Bedoya did not dress for Rangers, who fell to 15-3-3 for 48 points, two behind Celtic (16-3-2, 50 points).
On Saturday, Rangers were surprised by St. Mirren 2-1 after being reduced to nine men by the end.
At tiny St Mirren Park, Rangers had a man sent off in the 24th minute and another in the 84th. Bocanegra started and played 74 minutes before being pulled in favor of an attacking midfielder. Edu entered in the 27th minute and went the rest of the way. Bedoya did not dress.
In other Boxing Day matches Monday in the EPL, U.S. keeper Brad Guzan needed to make one save to post his first league clean sheet for Aston Villa in a 0-0 draw with Stoke City.
U.S. defender Eric Lichaj, who has been out since the end of August with a hip injury, was not available for Villa.
U.S. keeper Tim Howard also made one save and was solid for Everton in a 1-1 draw with Sunderland. His U.S. men's teammates, keeper Marcus Hahnemann did not dress for Everton.
In the second-division English League Championship, U.S. defender Jonathan Spector went the distance for Birmingham City, which used a goal by defender David Murphy in the 81st minute to draw 1-1 with West Ham United. Defender Daniel Potts, who grew up in England, but has U.S. eligibility, also played 90 minutes for West Ham.
American forward Conor Doyle did not dress for Derby County in its 1-0 victory over Leeds United.
U.S. striker Robbie Findley dressed, but did not play for Nottingham Forest in a 1-0 loss to Peterborough United.
In the third-tier League One, American midfielder Anton Peterlin went the distance for Walsall, which defeated Sheffield Wednesday 2-1.
American forward Mike Grella played the final 15 minutes for Brentford which played a 1-1 draw with AFC Bournemouth.
American defemder Frank Simek went the distance and received a yellow card for Carlisle United in a 3-3 draw with Preston North End.
Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.
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