Dempsey records another hat trick to lead Fulham past Newcastle 5-2.
By Robert Wagman (in Washington, D.C.)
(Tuesday, January 24, 2012) -- Midfielder Clint Dempsey is making his case that he's the best American field player ever, notching his second hat trick in three weeks to lead Fulham to a 5-2 victory Saturday over visiting Newcastle United.
He became the first American to record three goals in an English Premier League game.
After Newcastle took a 1-0 first half lead on a late goal, Fulham came out for the final 45 minutes after a tongue-lashing from manager Martin Jol and turned on the heat. In the 52nd minute Danny Murphy converted a penalty kick draw Fulham level.
Seven minutes later Dempsey scored the first of his three goals, converting a goal mouth cross. In the 65th minute, he made it 3-1 after putting away a nice cross from striker Bobby Zamora.
After Fulham went up 4-1 on another penalty kick and United scored, Dempsey netted his third tally when he controlled near midfield, went on a long run, culminating by sliding the ball past goalkeeper Tim Krul.
Dempsey was named "Man of the Match" and was selected for the Premier League "Team of the Week."
Dempsey has eight EPL goals this season and a career-best 15 across all competitions, including the three he scored three weeks ago in Fulham's 4-0 FA Cup win over Charlton Athletic.
Dempsey's scoring has renewed rumors that manager Arsene Wenger is willing to pay whatever it takes to acquire Dempsey for goal-hungry Arsenal. It's not going to happen, according to Fulham manager Jol, who said, "He has a long contract and that's that."
Elsewhere in the Premier League, Mario Balotelli beat American keeper Brad Friedel in stoppage time to lift league-leading host Manchester City past Tottenham Hotspur 3-2. Spurs had tied the match with two second-half goals, before losing on Balotelli's 95th-minute penalty kick.
United States keeper Tim Howard was partially liable for visiting Blackburn Rovers' late equalizer in Everton's 1-1 draw Saturday.
After a strong match, Howard came out to field a corner kick in the 72nd minute, but became sandwiched between two players and could not get high enough. The ball bounced off several players before it was head on goal. Everton defender Tim Cahill cleared it off the goal-line, but it hit Blackburn forward David Goodwillie in the midriff and the ball bounced into the net.
Once again, U.S. midfielder Landon Donovan was Everton's best player. His crosses were spot on all afternoon and, in the 24th minute, his chip into the box set up Cahill for Everton's only goal.
American defender Zak Whitbread was another hero this weekend, leading a strong Norwich City defense to hold Chelsea to a 0-0 draw.
U.S. keeper Brad Guzan watched from the Aston Villa bench his club fight back for a 3-2 triumph at Wolverhampton Wanderers.
In other Villa news, it appears American defender Eric Lichaj, has nearly recovered from a hip injury that has kept him sidelined all season, but he will not be loaned to Leeds United for the second half of the season. He was at Leeds on loan last season and looked to be heading back, but Villa manager Alex McLeish said he would rather Lichaj stay and fight for minutes behind current starting right back Alan Hutton.
Lichaj played half of a reserve team match last week for his first action this season.
In the second-tier English League Championship, U.S. defender Jonathan Spector helped Birmingham City to a fine effort on a very cold day in a 3-0 decision over Watford.
It capped off a strong week after Birmingham shocked the Premier League's Wolverhampton 1-0 in an FA Cup third-round replay 1-0. Spector went 90 minutes and helped lead a stout defense.
American midfielder Robbie Rogers has been granted a work permit to play for Leeds United. After being turned down initially, as expected, he was granted the needed permit by a special panel.
In the third division League One, American defender Frank Simek was charged with the late goal-mouth foul which led to an equalizing penalty kick for Carlisle United had to settle for a 1-1 draw with visiting Walsall.
American midfielder Anton Peterlin played 72 minutes for Walsall.
American forward Mike Grella did not dress for Brentford Saturday in its 3-2 loss to Huddersfield Town.
In Scotland's Premier League, U.S. midfielder Maurice Edu's third goal of the campaign gave Glasgow Rangers a 1-1 home draw with Aberdeen.
Edu's shot came from the top of the penalty area and deflected into the net. He went the distance, as did U.S. defender Carlos Bocanegra, who was robbed of a last-second winner after Rangers threw everyone forward.
U.S. midfielder Alejandro Bedoya was dressed, but did not play for Rangers.
Germany is back from its winter break and in the Bundesliga, Hannover 96 captain, U.S. defender Steve Cherundolo was back in the lineup, playing well at right back in a 0-0 road draw at Hoffenheim.
The home side had American Daniel Williams play defense and Fabian Johnson playing the final 24 minutes in midfield.
Two Americans are serving suspensions. Midfielder Jermaine Jones was with the U.S. men in California while serving an eight-week suspension for Schalke 04 following a stomping incident.
Defender Timmy Chandler, serving a two-match red-card suspension, did not dress for 1. FC Nürnberg's 2-0 victory Saturday over Hertha Berlin.
In Italy, U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley and Chievo Verona gave up an early two-goal lead Sunday and settled for a 2-2 draw at Lecce.
In the Netherlands, U.S. striker Jozy Altidore came on for the final 17 minutes for AZ Alkmaar, which allowed a late goal in a 1-1 draw with visiting Ajax.
It was AZ's second meeting of the week with Ajax after defeating the Amsterdam side 3-2 to advance in the Dutch Cup. Altidore played the final 22 minutes in a half-filled Ajax ArenA with the crowd composed of only women and children under the age of 12 in punishment of an Ajax crowd that stormed the field in its last Cup match.
In Belgium's Pro League, U.S. midfielder Sacha Kljestan and Anderlecht remained at the top of the table after a narrow 1-0 win at host Kortrijk.
In Portugal, Oguchi Onyewu went the distance Monday night for Sporting Lisbon in a 0-0 draw with Olhanense.
In Mexico, American defender Edgar Castillo went the first 55 minutes for Tijuana, which surprised Chivas at home 2-0.
American defender-midfielder Michael Orozco Fiscal went the distance for San Luis, a 2-0 road loser at Morelia.
U.S. midfielder DaMarcus Beasley is back in the good graces at Puebla, going 90 minutes in a 2-1 loss to visiting Atlante.
U.S. midfielder Jose Francisco Torres went 90 minutes for Pachuca in a 1-1 road draw at Cruz Azul.
American forward Herculez Gomez played the final 15 minutes for Santos Laguna, which defeated Jaguares 1-0 on a late goal.
U.S. defender Jonathan Bornstein did not play for Tigres, who lost 2-1 at Toluca.
Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.
Do you have a comment on this story or something to say about soccer in general? Send us a letter.
©Copyright 2012 SoccerTimes.com. All Rights Reserved.