Tim Ream left the New York Red Bulls to play in England's Premier League - an ambition was fulfilled for half a season: Bolton Wanderers were relegated at the end of the 2011-12 season, after Ream had joined the club in January 2012.
Since then, the American defender has made his career in the Championship. He stuck with Bolton until the end of the 2014-15 season, and then took a move to Fulham as the Trotters' financial situation and prospects of a return to the Premier League deteriorated rapidly. The transfer kept Ream in the Championship: Bolton was relegated to League One at the end of the 2015-16 season. But his first year at Fulham only saw the club deal with its own issues, finishing 20th in the Championship.
The Cottagers got off to a good start in 2016-17, but mostly without Ream - and rumors appeared suggesting he might be close to abandoning England in favor of returning home to the USA and MLS. And those rumors resurfaced in December when he fell out favor again.
But Ream has stuck it out with Fulham. He has been rewarded not just with a regular place in the starting lineup - 34 appearances, 28 starts in the league this season - but also a pretty good year for the club. The Cottagers finished sixth in the Championship this year, clinching a place in the playoffs for promotion to the Premier League.
As the sixth-placed team in the Championship, Fulham is the lowest seed in the playoffs, drawn against Reading - the third-placed team in the league this season - in the semifinals.
But the playoffs are less about a team's consistency over a full season than current form. The two standout teams in the second tier of English soccer - Newcastle and Brighton - topped the Championship table and won automatic promotion. The race for the third promotion spot to the Premiership is between the teams occupying the four places below the top two, and those four teams were separated by five points in the final league standings.
Fulham won six of its last eight games in the league - and lost only once in that stretch - so enters the Championship playoffs regarded as favorite by some observers. But Reading also won six of its last eight (losing the other two) and has its own right to be confident.
The semifinal will be decided over two legs, with the return match in Reading to be played on Tuesday, May 16. Away goals have no additional significance in the Championship playoffs: if aggregate scores are tied at the end of 90 minutes in the second leg, there will be extra time and then, if required, a penalty shoot-out. The winner moves on to the final, to be played on May 29.
Per WorldSoccerTalk.com, here's where to find the game if you're watching from the USA: