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Americans Overseas: Once Sisters

Alex Morgan and Carli Lloyd brace themselves for battle on the European stage as Lyon and Manchester City prepare to square off in the semi-final stage of the Champions League.

By Phil Schoen

While some U.S. ladies looked for glory in the cup, some U.S. youngsters have already found it. That’s just part of what’s drawing attention in this week’s Americans Overseas spotlight.

Alex Morgan lit the lamp for Olympique Lyonnais four times in a 10-0 thrashing at Henin-Beaumonth if the semifinals of the women’s Coupe du France. Morgan scored the third goal to put the game out of reach, and then the final three goals of the match within a ten-minute span to close out the rout for the defending champions. Morgan leads Lyon into the final against Canadian national team defender Ashley Lawrence and PSG on May 20 in Vannes after the Parisians 4-1 win over St. Etienne.

 

While she couldn’t convert on several chances to net a goal of her own, Manchester City’s Carli Lloyd is headed to Wembley for the FA Cup Final after a 1-0 win over Liverpool. The City women will take on Birmingham, who knocked out Crystal Dunn and Chelsea 4-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

 

Prior to their respective cup final appearances, the two national team legends square off in the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League. The first leg is set for Manchester this weekend with the return leg in Lyon next weekend. Barcelona faces PSG in the other semifinals (which you can watch on beIN SPORTS Connect 5, Saturday 11:45am ET) with the winners meeting in Cardiff next month for the European crown.

With the CONCACAF under-20 title already in their pocket, the U.S. now sets sight on the region’s u17 crown. The World Cup qualification tournament gets underway next week, and manager John Hackworth just named his 20-man roster. While more internationally-based players will be in the mix should the U.S. qualify for India 2017 in October, only two will be competing in Panama this month. Philadelphia native C.J. Dos Santos plays for Benfica and will be competing for the starting goalkeeper position, while New York’s Timothy Weah, the son of the AC Milan legend, has been scoring goals for both PSG’s u17 and u19 teams this season.

 

Some international history was made right here in the U.S. this week as FC Dallas’s u18 team became only the second American team to ever win the Gordon Jago Super Group title in the prestigious Dallas Cup, edging out Mexican powerhouse CF Monterrey in the final, 2-1. U.S. u20 midfielder Jonathan Gonzalez started for the Rayados. National team defender Omar Gonzalez helped the Dallas Texans win it all in 2006, and tipped his cap to the 2017 champions.

 

While they didn’t make it to the final, Manchester United’s u19s made some positive impressions, perhaps none more so than U.S. u20 fullback Matthew Olosunde.  The Trenton, N.J. native switched flanks to play on United’s left side and scored twice (including a phenomenal dribble and finish at the 2:17 mark in the highlights) during the tournament to lead United in scoring over their three games.

 

The U.S. u16 team opened some eyes but could not defend their title at the Mondial Minimes tournament in Montaigu, France, especially Barcelona youngster Konrad de la Fuente. The native Miamian scored three goals to lead the Yanks in scoring. He earned and scored a penalty for the lone goal in a 1-0 opening win over Belgium, hit the net just three minutes in in a 3-2 loss to Japan and netted the second in a 3-0 win over Mexico in the medal rounds. Ironically, Japan’s winning goal in the group stage was scored by Japanese American striker Noah Browne, who plays for Yokohama F. Marinos junior team. The U.S. fell to Brazil 2-0 in their final match to finish sixth and surrender their crown to Portugal, who beat France in the championship game.

 

Back home with Real Salt Lake on loan, Liverpool phenom Brooks Lennon netted his first MLS goal with a deft move and a strong blast.

 

And now a look at some more of what was happening on the field:

 

DENMARK

Former Columbus Crew goalkeeper Steve Clark earned his first win in Denmark with a five-save shutout to help Horsens earn a 1-0 win at Esbjerg on Saturday. Fellow Yank Conor O’Brien played the full 90 in midfield for Horsens, who stand second in their group table, still fighting for a Europa League berth.

 

ENGLAND

Geoff Cameron helped Stoke City to a 3-1 win over Hull City, as the Potters climbed to 11th in the table. While Europe is out of the question, Stoke are just five points out of eighth with five games remaining.

Brad Guzan made a rare Premier League start on Monday, just his fourth of the season, as Middlesbrough hosted Arsenal. However, the Gunners got better at Guzan’s expense, walking out 2-1 winners. Guzan is set make his return to MLS at the end of the EPL season, joining Atlanta United.

DeAndre Yedlin makes his return from a torn thigh muscle with six-minute stint off the bench in Newcastle United’s 1-1 draw against Leeds on Friday. He followed that up on Monday with his first start since February, but in a 3-1 loss at Ipswich Town. The defeat likely ends the Toon’s chase for the Championship crown, but the Magpies are still a lock for promotion back to the top flight next season, and some fans are asking Yedlin to help strengthen the squad for their EPL return.

 

Danny Williams helped Reading to two straight victories. The Royals registered a 3-1 win at Aston Villa on Saturday, and followed that up on Monday with a 2-1 home win over Rotherham United with Williams starting the play that netted the winner. The victory lifts Reading up to third in the table.

 

A bit of a stumble on Monday, but former U.S. national team striker David Wagner continues to take steps towards joining his old boss Jurgen Klopp in the Premier League next season. Hudderfield Town edged Preston North End 3-2 last Friday, but fell victim to a late equalizer on Monday at Derby County. The 1-1 result sees the Terriers slip to fourth in the table.

Tim Ream helped Fulham to back-to-back 3-1 wins, on Friday at Norwich City and Monday at home against Aston Villa, heading away a key clearance in the process. The six points lifts the Cottagers back to sixth in the table and into the final promotion playoff spot with three games remaining.

Brighton has already clinched promotion and Newcastle is certain to join them with automatic promotion almost guaranteed. Huddersfield Town, Reading, Sheffield Wednesday, Fulham and Leeds are battling for the four playoff spots with the Cottagers ahead of Leeds on goal differential.

 

FINLAND

A goal for an encore for Brian Cobi Span, scoring the equalizer for a 1-1 home draw for IFK Mariehamn against HJK Helsinki. Span had a goal and three assists in last week’s opener, as he tries to help Mariehamn defend the Veikkausliga title it won last season.

 

GERMANY

Dortmund sensation Christian Pulisic and Tottenham’s promising central defender Cameron Carter-Vickers have both been nominated for the European Golden Boy award. Both are vying to become the first American to win the award in its 15-year history. While Carter-Vickers is recovering from an injured knee suffered in last week’s U.S. u20 training camp in London, Pulisic is preparing for the second leg of Borussia Dortmund’s Champions League quarterfinal match in Monaco midweek. The Hershey, Penn. native provided a spark off the bench in the first leg, becoming just the fourth American in history to play in a Champions League quarterfinal match. He followed that up with an assist over the weekend in the black-and-yellow’s 3-1 win over Timmy Chandler and Eintracht Frankfurt. Dortmund stands fourth in the Bundesliga ladder with five games left to play.

 

Bobby Wood returned to training this week after sitting out Hamburg’s 2-1 loss at Werder Bremen with a sore knee. HSV says they expect the U.S. striker to be available for their home match against Darmstadt on Saturday.

In the 3.Liga, Jann George set up the game-winning goal with a nice cross, (it’s at 2:00 of the highlights) and was dangerous all game long as SSV Jahn Regensburg won 3-1 at home against Werder Bremen II. The win lifts the Regensburg side to second in the standings with a one point hold on an automatic promotion spot, five points off the lead with five games left to play.

While he continues his suspension for a red card last month, McKinze Gaines’ Wolfsburg teammates continue to win without him, including last week’s 2-0 win at Hannover. The victory clinched the regional u19 title and a spot in the u19 semifinals for the Wolves, who hold a 12-point lead in their group with three games remaining. Gaines has six goals with seven assists so far this season.

 

Germany seems to be a focal point for young U.S. goalkeepers. Under-20 goalie Jonathan Klinsmann was recently on trial at VfB Stuttgart, where his legendary father used to play. Another youth national team netminder, Justin vom Steeg, is playing for Fortuna Dusseldorf. Now, fellow u20 keeper J.T. Marcinkowski is training with Eintracht Frankfurt.

 

IRELAND

Ciaran Nugent kept a clean sheet as Galway United earned a 2-0 home win over Derry City in League Cup action. The Massachusetts native made three saves on the night, including a key stop with a quarter hour remaining, leading by a single goal. The win sees United advance to the quarterfinals. Nugent moved to Galway in the off-season and is trying to strengthen his hold on the starting spot full-time.

 

Meanwhile, Bronx-born Irish-American manager John Caulfield has Cork City quick out of the traps. City top the Premier Division with a nine point lead after just nine games played. The 52-year-old boss stepped in after Cork City came out of bankruptcy and is now in his fifth year in charge of the Rebel Army. While he was born in New York City, his family returned to Ireland when he was four and he eventually played nearly 500 games as a forward for City, retiring as the club’s all-time leading scorer. City won the Irish Cup last year, and while it’s barely a third of the way through the new season, they’re well on track towards winning their third league crown, and first in more than a decade.

 

ITALY

Joshua Perez earned a penalty and scored the finale, slotting home a nice pass in Fiorentina primavera’s 6-1 thrashing of Perugia. It’s the 11th goal in all competitions, to go along with seven assists, for the Montebello, Calif. native. The win lifted the Viola back into second place behind Lazio in their group with just two matches to go in the regular season.

 

JAPAN

After six years of waiting, 25-year-old Japanese American goalkeeper Daniel Schmidt made his top-flight J-League debut, but it came in a 4-1 defeat as Vegalta Sendai lost 4-1 at home against second placed Kashima Antlers. The 6-foot-5 Illinois native earned the start after making four saves in a 2-0 J-League Cup win against Jubilo Iwata midweek. Sendai are fourth in their group with four games remaining, a point out of second and advancement.

 

Stephen Lenhart’s Japanese adventure just took a good turn as FC Imabari earned its first league win in club history. After starting the season with three draws and a defeat, the fourth-tier JFL debutants were scoreless at the half on the road at Briobecca Urayasu. The former MLS striker came off the bench to start the second half and Imabari scored twice to earn the victory. The win lifts them to ninth in the table.

 

MEXICO

With the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League Final set for Tuesday in Nuevo Leon against Tigres, Dallas native Omar Gonzalez returned to action, helping Pachuca shut out Chivas to earn a point in a scoreless draw in Guadalajara. Pachuca holds on to the final playoff spot after 14 rounds have been played.

Quite a week for Club Tijuana winger Paul Arriola. The Chula Vista, Calif. native set up the game-winning goal in Xolos 2-1 win at Chiapas over the weekend after putting in a full shift in their midweek 1-0 home win over Queretaro. Midfielder Joe Corona played close to an hour in each match, while defender Michael Orozco is recovering from injury. With the six points, Xolos climb back to second place in the standings, just a point off the lead.

 

Following up on a midweek clean sheet in Club Leon’s scoreless draw at Chiapas, William Yarbrough got back on the winning track with three saves in a 2-1 road victory at Morelia over the weekend. With just three games remaining before the playoffs, Leon needs to make up four points in the table to qualify.

U.S. youth international Fernando Arce made his first start in a month and only his second of the season, but he made it count, putting in a full 90 and starting the play that led to a goal. However, the comeback fell short in a 2-1 home loss to Correcaminos. The loss leaves the defending champions in second place by a point at the end of the regular season. Dorados faces Zacatepec in the quarterfinals this weekend.

He can’t find a spot on Monterrey’s first team, but 23-year-old Joaquin Hernandez is drawing attention with their reserves in the Segunda Division. Hernandez hat a hat trick in the final round of the regular season, a 7-1 home win over Saltillo FC. The El Paso, Texas native scored 15 goals to lead the league in scoring, as Rayados finished fifth in the table, five points out of the post-season.

 

NETHERLANDS

After helping lead Vitesse Arnhem to three straight wins, Matt Miazga limped off injured after less than half-an-hour in a 1-0 loss at Excelsior. The former NY Red Bull star and Chelsea loanee suffered a pulled hamstring adding to the club’s injury woes. Vitesse stands fifth in the table, but is practically assured of a spot in the Europa League playoffs with just three matches remaining in the regular season. However, they also have a date with AZ Alkmaar at the end of the month in the Final of the Dutch Cup.

Gedion Zelalem came off the bench for a half-hour’s work as VVV Venlo edged out Walwijk 2-1. The win was good enough to clinch the Eerste Divisie crown and promotion to the Eredivisie.  Three games remain in the regular season, providing a chance for more playing time for the 20-year-old Washington, D.C. product and Arsenal loanee.

 

SCOTLAND

Emerson Hyndman used quick thinking and fancy footwork to earn his fourth assist since joining Rangers FC midseason in the Glasgow giants 2-0 win over Partick Thistle. He’s also scored four goals since joining on loan from Bournemouth. Rangers finish the first phase of the season in third place and move on to the Champion’s Round in an effort to clinch a European berth, opening of the final five match push hosting an Old Firm derby against Celtic next weekend.

 

Perry Kitchen was back in the starting lineup and wearing the captain’s armband for Hearts in a scoreless draw at Kilmarnock. Hearts finished the first part of the season in fifth, and open up their Champions Round at home to Partick Thistle next Saturday.

 

SPAIN

Giuseppe Rossi is facing at least six months in recovery, again. Just as the New Jersey native was returning to form in a loan spell with Celta Vigo after numerous problems with his right knee, he tore the ACL in his left knee last weekend against Eibar. Support and best wishes poured in from around the planet, including from Rossi’s old Fiorentina teammates, and he vowed that he will be return to action.

 

SWEDEN

Former DC United goalkeeper Josh Wicks cleaned up this week, with a shutout in IK Sirius’s 2-0 win at IFK Norrkoping, his second win in three games with his new club. The win lifts Sirius up to third in the table. Wicks also pulled out a razor and got rid of his trademark beard, dating back to his MLS days.

 

Brendan Hines-Ike helped Orebro SK earn a 2-1 win at home against Ostersunds FK. The 22-year-old Denver native has started all three games for unbeaten Orebro this season, who stand second in the standings.

 

These are just a few of the U.S. footballers playing overseas. 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. We’ll pass it on.