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Donovan assists twice in 2-1 win over Dempsey, Fulham

Score one for Landon Donovan -- because he helped Everton score two.

In a high-profile match-up of American stars, Donovan served up two assists in Everton's 2-1 victory over Clint Dempsey's Fulham squad Friday night at Goodison Park. With the victory, the Toffees advanced to the fifth round of the FA Cup.

The debate of "Who's better: Donovan or Dempsey?" is a popular one for American soccer fans and it would seem the Californian edged the Texan in this proverbial round. Making his sixth start on his loan from the Galaxy, Donovan assisted on each goal on either side of halftime. In the 27th minute, he found Denis Stracqualursi in the box with a curling cross from the right wing. The bulky Argentinian's header tied the score. In the 73rd minute, Donovan lofted a ball to Marouane Fellaini, who headed it past Fulham keeper David Stockdale for the game-winner.

Dempsey, who had scored a pair of hat tricks earlier this month and leads Fulham with 15 goals in all competitions, had a quiet match on the attacking end.

The unsung American of the match, Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard, was making his 250th appearance for the Toffees.

Both teams and their American stars were off to a slow start in the first half, aside from a long-range blast from Dempsey in the first few minutes that sailed well wide.

The game seemed to intensify after Everton earned a handful of consecutive corners -- Donovan curling in the ones from the left side. The Toffees never found the net, but the chances certainly electrified the crowd after an uneventful first 20 minutes for the home team.

Fulham's goal came from the penalty spot in the 13th minute. After John Heitinga handled the ball in the box, Danny Murphy calmly beat Tim Howard from the spot to give the Cottagers a 1-0 lead.

While Donovan was an active catalyst from the wing, Dempsey's only significant scoring chance came in the 52nd minute, but his header from a few yards out went high.

Both teams -- tied with 26 points in the middle of the table -- return to league play next week. Everton clashes with first-place Manchester City at Goodison Park Tuesday, while Fulham hosts West Brom Wednesday.

New York Sports