RECAP: WEEKEND ENGLISH ACTION
Several Americans saw action and made it to the fourth round as FA Cup fever swept across England over the weekend.
Aston Villa 3-1 Blackburn Rovers
The two Brads exchanged roles as Guzan played the full ninety minutes and Friedel was an unused substitute as Villa faced Rovers in the first of three games between the teams within thirteen days. Eric Lichaj's loan at Northampton Town has been completed, but he did not make the squad for the hosts.
The Villans went ahead in the 12th minute with a goal from promising youngster Nathan Delfouneso. Fabian Delph passed to Ashley Young on the left-wing, who cut inside and crossed for the young forward, whose header from ten yards went into the bottom-left of the goal.
Blackburn could have equalised from a penalty in the 31st minute, but David Dunn's shot was saved by Guzan, diving to his left. The spot-kick had been awarded when Nigel Reo-Coker fouled Steven Reid at the front-right of the area.
Carlos Cuellar made Rovers pay for the miss with a goal in the 37th minute from a left-wing free-kick after David Salgado had fouled Stephen Warnock. Young was again provider, as his curling cross was headed into the bottom right corner from thirteen yards by the Spanish defender.
The game looked virtually over in the 42nd minute when the visitors had El-Hadji Diouf sent off for a late two-footed challenge on fellow Senegalese Habib Beye by the right corner flag.
Guzan made a rare error in the 55th minute when he gifted a goal to Nikola Kalinic. A right wing corner by Morten Gamst Pedersen was dropped by the American, and left the Croatian with the simple task of tapping the ball into the lower-right of the unguarded net from less than a yard out.
Villa wrapped up the game in the 91st minute with a John Carew penalty. Gael Givet fouled the Norwegian within feet of where Reo-Coker committed his foul for Blackburn's penalty, but the forward showed how it should be done by sending the goalie the wrong way before passing the ball into the bottom-left corner.
Aston Villa will travel to Blackburn on Tuesday evening for the first of a two-leg semi-final of the Carling Cup. They will then travel to Wigan Athletic on Saturday for Premier League action.
Fulham 1-0 Swindon Town
Clint Dempsey went the distance as the Cottagers easily progressed to the fourth round of the FA Cup. The visitors tried hard, but the gulf in class was obvious throughout.
The only goal of the game came in the 16th minute, and was scored by red-hot Bobby Zamora for his sixth score in seven games, and eleventh goal of the season. The forward ran on to a long pass from Stephen Kelly, and held off a challenge by Gordan Greer before chipping over goalkeeper David Lucas from eight yards into the far-left corner.
The hosts were awarded a penalty in the 62nd minute, but Andy Johnson's effort was saved by Lucas after the goalie had fouled the forward. The England man shot to the right of the goal, but was too near to the keeper.
Fulham are ninth in the standings, and will travel to twelfth ranked Stoke City on Tuesday evening, before hosting twentieth ranked Portsmouth on Saturday.
Everton 3-1 Carlisle United
Tim Howard was a ninety minute man as Everton saw off a spirited challenge from lower league opposition.
The Toffees took the lead in the 12th minute when James Vaughan was given a late Christmas present by the visitors. Adam Clayton tried a forty yard back-pass, but the Evertonian beat the goalkeeper to the ball, rounded him, and then slotted home from ten yards into the bottom-right corner.
The Cumbrians didn't give up, and were level in the 18th minute when Kevan Hurst tapped into the bottom-right corner of the goal from one yard. Vincent Pericard received the ball on the edge of the area, found Clayton just to the left of the goal with a lovely flick, and the midfielder beat Howard from seven yards only to see his team-mate take the glory from close-in at the far post.
The hosts won the game with two late goals, the first scored by Tim Cahill in the 82nd minute. Seamus Coleman dribbled into the right side of the area where Diniyar Bilyaletdinov received his cross, and fed the Australian, who scored from seven yards into the bottom-right corner at the second attempt after Adam Collin saved his first shot.
Leighton Baines made the game safe with a penalty in the 95th minute after Keiran Agard was fouled by Collin just to the right front of the area. The Welshman scored with a left-foot shot into the bottom-right of the goal as Collins dived the wrong way.
Eleventh ranked Everton will travel on Saturday to Arsenal, who are ranked third in the standings.
Chelsea 5-0 Watford
Jay DeMerit played the full game, and was team captain, as the Hornets were stung by the Premier League leaders at the Stamford Bridge Stadium.
The Blues went ahead in the 5th minute with a goal from new-boy Daniel Sturridge. A left-wing corner from Frank Lampard was headed across the goal by Alex from the far post, and a twelve yard shot by John Terry was deflected by the young forward into the bottom-right corner from one yard.
The second goal was an own goal scored by John Eustace as he tried to clear on the edge of the six yard box. Florent Malouda crossed from the left edge of the area, and when Joe Cole shot across goal from the right DeMerit's attempted clearance rebounded off Lampard, and left the defender with little chance but to slice the ball into the bottom-center of the net.
Malouda scored the third goal in the 22nd minute. Yuri Zhirkov struck a powerful shot from 20 yards, and the ball struck the Frenchman fifteen yards out, which sent goalie Scott Loach the wrong way, as the ball nestled low in the center of the goal.
The fourth goal was scored by Lampard in the 64th minute. He received the ball slightly to the left of goal and hit a fierce shot from twenty-three yards that flew into the top-left corner of the net beyond the reach of the diving Loach.
Sturridge scored his second goal, and Chelsea's fifth in the 68th minute. Zhirkov fed Cole down the left wing, and the midfielder cut inside before chipping it to the forward, who controlled before slipping the ball under the keeper into the center of the goal from six yards.
Watford are thirteenth ranked in the Championship, and will host seventh ranked Sheffield United on Saturday.
Wycombe Wanderers 0-1 Norwich City
Jon-Paul Pittman was a ninety-minute man as the relegation-threatened Choirboys slipped to a narrow defeat against the Canaries who are pushing hard for promotion.
Pittman had a good chance to open the scoring in the seventh minute, but his snap shot went over the crossbar. He was lively throughout, but saw one shot blocked and another deflected agonisingly wide of the post.
The visitors had the better of the game in the second-half, and goalie Scott Shearer made several important saves for the hosts.
The only goal came in the 77th minute of the contest, and was scored by Korey Smith. Wes Hoolahan crossed from the left-wing, finding the forward just inside the area, who slid home his third goal of the season from sixteen yards into the bottom-right of the net.
Wycombe are twenty-third in the League One Standings, and face a difficult visit to first ranked Leeds United on Saturday.
Jozy Altidore played only the last eleven minutes as Hull City lcrashed out of the FA Cup 4-1 at Wigan Athletic after going ahead.
Mike Grella was an unused substitute as Leeds United travelled to Manchester United in the FA Cup, and earned an unexpected 1-0 victory over the reigning Premier League Champions.
Marcus Hahnemann was rested on the bench as Wolverhampton Wanderers won 1-0 at League One Tranmere Rovers.
Jonathan Spector watched from the stands as West Ham United lost 2-1 to Arsenal at Upton Park.
Zak Whitbread was unavailable through injury as Millwall earned a 1-1 draw at the New Den against Championship team Derby County.
Jemal Johnson was on the bench throughout as Milton Keynes Dons lost 2-1 against Premier League Burnley at Stadium MK.
Ian Joyce had a rest day, as Southend United were eliminated from the FA Cup in Round One.
Seb Harris made the bench as Northampton Town had a surprise 2-1 win at red-hot Bournemouth.