Dempsey hat trick sparks Fulham to advance to FA Cup fourth round.
By Robert Wagman (in Washington, D.C.)
(Monday, January 9, 2012) -- United States midfielder Clint Dempsey had possibly his best match ever for Fulham of the English Premier Legaue, scoring three goals to lead a 4-0 victory Saturday over Charlton Athletic in the FA Cup third round in a match-up of London clubs.
With some 7,000 of its fans among the 20,317 in attendance at Craven Cottage, visiting Charlton of the second-tier League Championship actually played well, but the day belonged to Dempsey.
Dempsey opened the scoring in the eighth minute when he connected with a deflected through ball from Danny Murphy and flicked it home.
In the 61st minute, he worked a give-and-go with Costa Rican international Bryan Ruiz taking a return pass and putting it under goalkeeper John Sullivan.
Dempsey completed the hat trick with a penalty kick in the 81st minute.
U.S. keeper Tim Howard made a pair of saves in a clean sheet for Everton, which won its FA Cup third-round match 2-0 over fifth-division Tamworth of the Conference National.
In his second game for Everton since arriving on loan from the Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy, U.S. midfielder Landon Donovan had a strong match, assisting on Everton's first goal with a perfectly placed corner kick that Johnny Heitinga headed home in the fifth minute.
Near the end, Donovan hit the inside of a goal-post from close-range.
American Marcus Hahnemann was dressed as Howard's backup.
U.S. keeper Brad Guzan excelled for Aston Villa, which overcame a strong challenge from Bristol Rovers of the fourth-tier League Two to triumph 3-1.
Guzan made six saves, including a saving a penalty kick, and the only goal he gave up was the result of a lazy, misplaced back-pass that never reached him.
U.S. defender Jonathan Spector went 90 minutes for Birmingham City of the League Championship which drew 0-0 with the Premier League's Wolverhampton Wanderers, necessitating a replay.
American defender Daniel Potts went the distance and was issued a yellow card for the League Championship's West Ham United as the second-division club was ousted from the FA Cup 1-0 by Sheffield Wednesday of the third-tier League One, thanks to an 88th-minute goal.
Glasgow Rangers of Scotland's Premier League had an easy time winning their fourth-round William Hill Scottish Cup match 4-0 over Arbroath of the second division.
U.S. defender Carlos Bocanegra and midfielder Maurice Edu both went 90 minutes with Rangers taking no chances, even though they were playing a lower-division opponent.
Bocanegra received a yellow card in stoppage time, while U.S. midfielder Alejandro Bedoya was dressed, but didn't play for Rangers.
Earlier in the week, Rangers turned down a reported offer of $773,000 offer to send Edu to Sochaux. The French team, home of American striker Charlie Davies, has been after Edu for some time.
"What I would say is the bid that they put in was so far away (below what Rangers might expect) that I would be very surprised if they came back in," Rangers manager Ally McCoist told the BBC.
In Italy, Serie A is back in action and U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley and visiting Chievo Verona fel 2-0 at Roma on Sunday afternoon. Chievo actually played well, but Francesco Totti converted two penalty kicks to provide the margin of victory.
In a highly physical encounter in Portugal that resulted in eight yellow cards, Sporting Lisbon drew 0-0 with rival FC Porto. U.S. defender Oguchi Onyewu went the distance for Sporting and drew one of the club's four cautions.
Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.
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