Johnson, Spector, Onyewu, Shea and Brooks return

BY foxsports • February 26, 2014

American midfielder Fabian Johnson appears to have recovered from a broken hand, which should please U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

Finishing out the final season of his contract with Hoffenheim, Johnson has agreed to join fellow Bundesliga club Borussia Moenchengladbach. The new deal starts with the 2014-15 season and runs for four years.

The 26-year-old has built a reputation as a versatile player who can both defend and support the attack as an outside midfielder.

''Fabian Johnson is a very interesting player,'' Borussia Moenchengladbach executive Max Eberl was quoted as saying on the club's website. ''We're delighted he's opted to join us.''

Johnson grew up in Germany and competed for the Germans' Under-21 team that won the 2009 European title. Born to a German mother and American father who served in the U.S. military, Johnson switched to the U.S. program in 2011 and has made 16 appearances for the U.S. senior team.

Johnson has played in 91 Bundesliga games, starting with Wolfsburg in 2009 and then Hoffenheim since 2011. He has scored six career goals in German first-division action.

BACK IN ACTION: Midfielder Jonathan Spector, defender Oguchi Onyewu, midfielder Brek Shea and defender John Anthony Brooks all returned from absences of various lengths last weekend, bolstering their chances of getting some playing time from Klinsmann in some of the U.S. team's final exhibition matches before the World Cup.

Coming back from a thigh injury that had sidelined him since Oct. 5, Spector played a full match for Birmingham of the second-tier English League Championship in a 2-1 triumph over Blackpool. It was his first game since Oct. 5.

Brooks played five minutes as a substitute in Hertha Berlin's 2-1 victory over Stuttgart in the Bundesliga, his first action since Dec. 13, when he was taken out after 38 minutes against Werder Bremen. Hertha coach manager Jos Luhukay was angry with Brooks' play that night, and Brooks strained a left knee ligament during training in January.

Onyewu returned from a calf strain to the starting lineup for second-tier Sheffield Wednesday, playing 68 minutes in a 2-0 victory over Huddersfield Town.

Shea returned for Barnsley - also of the Championship - after an illness and played 27 minutes as a substitute in a 1-0 victory against Millwall.

HOWARD'S TOUGH ENDING: U.S. and Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard was within minutes of a memorable away shutout at Stamford Bridge when first-place Chelsea struck for a late goal that lifted the Blues to a 1-0 victory.

The game was more than two minutes into injury time when Frank Lampard's curling free kick found its way into the net off of Howard's left hand.

Howard appeared to be thrown off by Chelsea defender John Terry, who was charging toward the goalmouth and lunged just in front of Howard but fanned on his attempt to redirect the ball.

It was a bitter end to an otherwise stellar performance by Howard, who produced several highlight-reel saves. They included a diving left-handed stop of a low, scorching drive by Eden Hazard. Moments later Howard deftly cut down the angle on Branislav Ivanovic, who pounded a point-blank volley off of the goalkeeper's chest. Howard also made sprawling saves on scoring chances by Samuel Eto'o and Lampard.

Perhaps no one related to Howard's disappointment more than American No. 2 goalkeeper Brad Guzan, who also lost a shutout in injury time when Loic Remy's goal lifted Newcastle over Aston Villa 1-0.

PREMIERSHIP WOES: Jozy Altidore started for Sunderland against Arsenal, but was subbed out for the second half of a 4-1 loss. Altidore has played in 32 games this season for Sunderland in the Premier League and domestic cup competitions combined, and has scored only twice. He could make his first Wembley club appearance Sunday in the League Cup final against Manchester City.

Clint Dempsey was inactive - for a third straight match - for Fulham's 1-1 tie at West Bromwich Albion. This weekend's home game against Chelsea marks the end of Dempsey's loan to one of his old Premier League clubs before he returns to Seattle for its Major League Soccer opener. Dempsey has not scored for Fulham in five starts and one substitute appearance.

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