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Americans Overseas: Last-Gasp Luca

Fulham's Luca de la Torre spared US blushes in Korea as the majority of America's soccer backpackers saw their club seasons draw to a close.

beIN SPORTS (be Phil Schoen)
 
The club season might be winding down, but many Americans are making a bang before it does. And there was plenty of drama on display as the red, white and blue got their under-20 World Cup journey underway.

Fulham youngster Luca de la Torre was the late hero for the US u20’s in its opening match, scoring an injury time equalizer in a 3-3 draw with Ecuador. Two US defensive blunders saw the Yanks trailing by two goals just seven minutes in. The U.S. faces Senegal in their second group stage match on Thursday.

 

BELGIUM

It was the fourth straight start for 21-year-old national team goalkeeper Ethan Horvath for Club Brugge in Belgium and the 2-1 win over Gent clinched a Champions League qualification berth. Gent will have to settle for the Europa League. Their lone goal came from Jacksonville, Fla. native Kenny Saief following a brilliant dribble into the box, his eighth goal in all competitions.
 
 

ENGLAND

Geoff Cameron stepped in at right back in Stoke City’s final game of the season and set up the game-winner in the Potters 1-0 win over Southampton. Stoke finished in 13th place, six points above the drop zone and just two points out of 8th.

Reading FC midfielder Danny Williams and Huddersfield Town manager David Wagner will meet at Wembley next Monday. The national team midfielder and former national team striker advanced to the Championship playoff final and the final promotion berth to the Premier League.

 

GERMANY

Former FC Dallas academy star Weston McKennie made his first team debut with FC Schalke 04 in the final round of Bundesliga action. The 18-year-old midfielder came on in the 77th minute of the Royal Blues match against fellow American Alfredo Morales and Ingolstadt. He’s the 11th-youngest player to participate in Germany’s top-flight league this season.
 
Fellow Schalke American Haji Wright, who spent time in MLS with the LA Galaxy and in the NASL with the New York Cosmos, was on the bench but still awaits his first team debut. After spending the first seven weeks in the relegation zone, Schalke finished the season in tenth place, while the u-19 team, including McKennie, Wright and fellow American Nick Taitague advanced to the semifinals. McKennie and Wright were both promoted to Schalke’s first team for next season.

Christian Pulisic turned into Borussia Dortmund’s super-sub down the stretch and did it again in the finale against Werder Bremen. The Pennsylvania native started the second half and made an impact, including drawing a last-minute match-winning penalty in Dortmund’s 4-3 comeback win that lifted them to third in the table with an automatic berth in next year’s Champions League. The 18-year-old phenom played in all but five of the yellow-and-black’s league games and scored four times in all competitions. One match remains for Dortmund, the German Cup final against Timmy Chandler and Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday in Berlin.

Fabian Johnson played 74 minutes at right back in Borussia Moenchengladbach’s 2-2 draw with last-place Darmstadt. Johnson signed a contract extension with 9th placed Gladbach last week and his recovery from an injured hamstring puts him in position for the US’s next World Cup qualification matches next month.

 

Other headlines:

- While Julian Green didn’t get off the bench in the finale, he did make 10 appearances with a goal for VfB Stuttgart since getting transferred from Bayern Munich during the winter window. After Stuttgart’s season ending victory, Green and his new teammates will be joining Bayern in the Bundesliga next season as 2.Bundesliga champions.

- Former Colorado Rapids defender Shane O’Neill wore the captain’s arm band and led NAC Breda in a shut out against Volendam in the 2-0 second leg victory of the promotion playoffs, for a 4-2 aggregate victory. O’Neill earned team of the week honors for his performance. After finishing fifth in the regular season, NAC advances to face Eredivisie strugglers NEC Nijmegen in a home-and-away series for the right to play in the Dutch top flight next season.

- Desevio Payne might be leaving Groningen, but the South Carolina native is staying in the Dutch Eredivisie. The 21-year-old right back has signed a two-year deal with Excelsior, who finished in 12th place this past season.

 


- NYC loanee Mix Diskerud earned an assist on the final goal in IFK Goteborg’s 4-0 road win at GIF Sundsvall. After 10 games, Goteborg is 10th in the table, but just four points out of the European berths.

- Brendan Hines-Ike helped Orebro earn the shutout in a 0-0 draw at Halmstad.

- After scoring 10 goals for their reserves, 21-year-old striker Maki Tall made his Ligue 2 debut count. The Washington, D.C. native came off the bench and scored five minutes later for Tours senior side in a 3-2 loss to Ajaccio in their Ligue 2 finale.
 

- Fellow D.C. native Jordan Siebatcheu was back on the scoresheet, scoring the tying goal from the spot in Chateauroux’s 1-1 draw with Les Herbiers. The point was all they needed for the National crown and promotion to Ligue 2 next year. The 21-year-old striker scored ten goals in 15 games in his loan stint from Ligue 2 side Stade de Reims. The US has some competition, as Siebatcheu has been called up for France’s u21 team.

As I mentioned earlier, we are considering reformatting our Americans Overseas coverage into a podcast, which should make it easier to share and a bit more interactive and engaging. In addition to updates on the big stories abroad, I’d love to answer whatever questions you might have, so send them in to phil.schoen@bein.net right away!

We will continue to shine the light on many more in the weeks and months to come. American soccer ambassadors continue to make inroads around the globe. Feel free to add your comments below to share your thoughts, shout-outs and suggestions. We’re asking for your help to correct any errors and make sure nothing important gets overlooked. So tweet to us @beINSPORTSUSA, or to me directly @PhilSchoen and use the hashtag #beINOverseas.