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Sunderland is likely staying up and DeAndre Yedlin is a big reason why

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Yedlin's pass sets up winning goal as Sunderland storms back against Chelsea.

Sunderland v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images

DeAndre Yedlin's move to England has not gone exactly as expected. The Seattle native has made just one senior team appearance for Tottenham Hotspur -- the team who paid a $3 million transfer fee to the Sounders -- and has been on loan to relegation battlers Sunderland all this season.

But it hasn't been all bad, as Yedlin has recently established himself as Sunderland's starting right back. In the Sunderland's last seven games -- all Yedlin starts -- the Black Cats have gone 2-1-4 and now only need a win in one of their final two games to guarantee safety. In fact, Sunderland has lost just one of Yedlin's last nine starts and allowed just nine goals, nearly a goal less per game than they had been averaging otherwise.

Yedlin's contribution was especially stark in their most recent win, 3-2 over Chelsea. With the score tied 2-2 in the 70th minute, it was Yedlin who dodged a tackle, pushed toward the endline and put in a cross that found its way to Jermaine Defoe. Although Yedlin wasn't credited with an assist, he was the driving force behind the goal (his pass is on the second of the two goals linked below).

Yedlin still gets caught out of position at times and he's still not contributing on offense as regularly as you might assume given his tool set, but he's showing dramatic improvement and has apparently won the trust of Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce. It's unclear what will happen after this loan spell lapses, but his move to England is looking a lot better than it did as recently as a few months ago.