Dempsey goal, assist power Spurs to win, stay alive for Champions League entry.
By Robert Wagman (in Washington, D.C.)
(Wednesday, May 15, 2013) -- United States midfielder Clint Dempsey provided a goal and an assist for Tottenham Hotspur in its must-win 2-1 come-from-behind victory Sunday over host Stoke City in the English Premier League.
Spurs, who were undefeated (4-0-4) in their last eight league outings, still need help in the Premier League’s final weekend to accomplish its goal of earning a berth in next season’s European Champions League.
The top three teams earn spots in the Champions League main draw, while the fourth-place club enters the tournament’s qualifying round. Tottenham (20-8-9, 69 points) is in fifth place, one point behind Arsenal (20-7-10) and three points below Chelsea (21-7-9).
Spurs cannot finish third because at best it can tie Chelsea, but it would lose the tiebreaker -- goal differential, in which they are 16 worse than Chelsea and 15 worse than Arsenal. The only way it can finish fourth is by winning its visit to 17th-place Sunderland (9-16-12, 39), while Arsenal ties or loses at an equally weak opponent, Newcastle United (11-18-8, 41).
Stoke jumped ahead early against Tottenham with Steven N'Kemboanza’s goal in the third minute.
Dempsey appeared to draw Spurs level in the 15th minute, but his goal was disallowed because of a questioned offside call.
Five minutes later, Stoke defender Marc Wilson and goalkeeper Asmir Begovic had difficulty with a Tottenham cross with Wilson clearing it to Dempsey. Dempsey used his first touch to lob a shot over Begovic and into the net from 30 yards.
In the 83rd minute, Dempsey beat defenders to send a low cross into the goal-mouth and it was tapped home by a sliding Emmanuel Adebayo for the triumph
Dempsey, who has seven goal in league and 12 in all competitions this season, came out after that strike in favor of an additional defender.
At the other end of the standings, Aston Villa, with its American keeper Brad Guzan and defender Eric Lichaj is safe from relegation after Wigan Athletics’s loss to Arsenal. With one match left, Villa (10-17-10, 40) is two positions and more importantly five points clear of Wigan despite a 2-1 loss to Chelsea.
Wigan, which stunned Manchester City 1-0 to capture the FA Cup, became the first Cup winner to wind up demoted, finishing 18th and joining Reading and Queens Park Rangers in going down to the League Championship.
On the prior weekend, Aston Villa registered an important victory, 2-1 over Norwich City.
Guzan was in net for both matches for Villa, while Lichaj went the distance against Chelsea and came off the bench for the final 63 minutes against Norwich.
In Germany’s Bundesliga, U.S. defender Steve Cherundolo, who has had minor injury problems all season, is fully fit and set a milestone for Hannover 96 Saturday when he made a team record 299th league appearance in a 3-1 loss to Bayer Leverkusen.
Cherundolo joined the club in 1999 and just signed a one-year contract to play next season.
German-American defender Timothy Chander has sustained minor ligament damage to his left knee and his season at 1. FC Nürnberg ended with two matches to go. Chandler revealed to Goal.com that the injury was caused when a teammate awkwardly fell on his knee and he admitted that he could be out longer than the three or four weeks that was initially reported.
"I could be out for four to five weeks for recovery," Chandler said. "I have to look at what the doctor says from our team."
Chandler will certainly U.S. friendlies against Belgium May 29 in Cleveland and Germany June 2 in Washington D.C. He will await further tests next week to determine his availability for three CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers -- at Jamaica June 7 in Kingston, against Panama June 11 in Seattle and against Honduras June 18 in Sandy, Utah.
Chandler likely would be a backup to Cherundolo up at right back, but he can also play in the defensive midfield..
In other English Premiership action, U.S. defender Geoff Cameron made a couple of substitute appearances for Stoke City. On Sunday, he played the final 15 minute against Spurs.
On May 5, he played the second half of a 1-1 draw with Sunderland. U.S. midfielder Brek Shea did not dress for Stoke in either match.
U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard was in net for a 2-0 shutout of West Ham United. A week earlier, he also kept a clean sheet in a 0-0 draw with Liverpool.
In the second-tier League Championship promotion tournament, injured Zak Whitbread did not dress for Leceister City, which was ousted by Watford 3-1 for an aggregate 3-2 loss in the semifinals.
The German Bundesliga played its next-to-last weekend with German-American midfielder Jermaine Jones and FC Schalke 04 trying to hang onto fourth place and its attendant Champions League qualifying play-in berth next year.
Jones went the distance Saturday in Schalke’s 2-1 loss to VfB Stuttgart. He also played 90 minutes a week earlier in a 1-0 decision over Borussia Mönchengladbach.
With a Saturday match at SC Freiburg remaining, Schalke is in fourth place at 15-11-7 with 52 points, one point ahead of Freiburg (14-10-9) and two clear of Eintracht Frankfurt (14-11-8).
German-American defender Fabian Johnson played the second half of TSG 1899 Hoffenheim’s 4-1 loss to Hamburg. That followed a game in which he played the first half of a 2-2 draw with Werder Bremen.
German-American Danny Williams was out with an ankle injury.
Hoffenheim needs to win and root for losses by Fortuna Düsseldorf and FC Augsburg this weekend to avoid relegation.
U.S. defender Michael Parkhurst dressed, but did not play for Augsburg in a 2-0 loss Freiburg Saturday. He did not dress in a 3-0 loss to Bayern Munich the prior weekend.
In the 2. Bundesliga, Germany-American defender John Anthony Brooks and midfielder Alfredo Morales played 90 minutes for Hertha Berlin in a 3-2 victory over FC Erzgebirge Aue.
In the previous outing, Morales scored a goal in a 2-1 triumph over FC Cologne.
Going into the final weekend, Hertha had a nine-point lead, clinching the second-division title at 22-2-9 with 75 points to earn promotion.
German-American striker Andrew Wooten played 90 minutes for SV Sandhausen in its 3-0 loss to Energie Cottbus.
Sandhausen has already been relegated.
American forward Bobby Wood played the final five minutes for TSV 1860 Munich in a 2-0 loss to SC Paderborn. The previous weekend, he dressed, but did not play in a 3-0 whitewash of FC Union Berlin.
American midfielder Joe Gyau did not dress for FC St. Pauli’s last two matches.
In Italy, U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley played 90 minutes for AS Roma in its last two matches, both impressive defensive showings – a 0-0 draw with AC Milan preceded by a 1-0 victory over Fiorentina.
In Spain’s top-level La Liga, U.S. defender Oguchi Onyewu dressed, but did not play for Málaga in its 0-0 draw with Sevilla.
Befopre that, Onyewu did not dress in a 1-0 loss to Granada.
In the Segunda Division, U.S. defender Carlos Bocanegra played 90 minutes for Racing Santander in a 2-1 loss to Almeria. Following that, he received a yellow card in Santander’s 1-0 decision over Real Madrid B (Castilla).
Santander was relegated.
In Belgium, U.S. midfielder Sash Kljestan went the distance Sunday for RSC Anderlecht in a 2-1 victory over Racing Genk in the Pro League playoff hexagonal. Prior to that, he played 90 minutes in a 2-0 shutout of Standard de Liège.
With one match remaining, Anderlecht is first at 4-3-2 with a cumulative 48 points, two ahead of Zulte-Waregem (4-3-2).
In Turkey Maurice Edu has a thight injury and missed Bursaspor’s last two matches, a 4-2 win over Orduspor followed by a 0-0 draw with Eskisehirspor.
In Austria, German-American striker Terrence Boyd came on as a first-half injury replacement and played 76 minutes for Rapid Wien in a 0-0 draw with Wolfsberger AC. In the prior outing, he dressed, but did not play in a 3-1 triumph over Sturm Graz.
In Brazil, American midfielder Freddy Adu did not dress for Bahia, a 1-0 winner over Juazeiro Ba in the Baiano semifinal. Then, he did not dress in a 7-3 loss to Vitoria in the first leg of the Baiano final.
In Sweden, which is still early in its season, U.S. midfielder Alejandro Bedoya had two assists in Helsingborg IF’s 5-0 win over BK Hacken. Previously, he scored his team’s goal in a 1-0 victory over Syrianska FC.
Bedoya has three goals in league play and five from all competitions.
American midfielder Brian Span dressed, but did not play for Djurgårdens IF in a 3-2 triumph over Malmö SC. That followed a 66-minute effort in a 5-1 loss to Atvidabergs.
In Denmark, U.S. defender Clarence Goodson has had two good weeks. He played the first 64 minutes and scored a goal for Brøndby IF in a 1-1 draw with Aalborg. That followed a 90-minutes performance in a 0-0 draw with FC Copenhagen.
American forward Charlie Davies played the final minute for Randers FC in a 1-0 shutout of AGF Aarhus. Then, he dressed, but did not play in a 1-0 loss to FC Midtjylland.
American midfielder Conor O’Brien played the final 12 minutes for FC Nordsjællands in a 4-1 triumph over Odense. Then, he dressed, but did not play in a 2-2 draw with Silkeborg IF.
In Norway, U.S. midfielder Mix Diskerud played 84 minutes for Rosenborg BK in a 2-1 victory over Hønefoss BK.
American Steve Clark was in goal for Hønefoss.
Prior to that, Clark was in net for Hønefoss in a 1-1 draw with Tromsø IL. Diskerud played the first half of Rosenborg’s 2-2 draw with Aalesund.
American midfielder Josh Gatt played 90 minutes for Molde FK in a 0-0 draw with Sandnes. In the prior match, he did not dress in a 1-1 draw with IK Start.
Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.
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