Americans Overseas: Back to Business After Concacaf Calamity

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By Phil Schoen

While much of the U.S. managerial attention is focused on the coach of the United States national team, there are a few internationally-based U.S. managers that are also making news. Former U.S. boss Bob Bradley was less than five minutes away from his first win in charge of Swansea City, when Everton snatched an equalizer. The Swans were strong out of the gate and took the lead on a Gylfi Sigurdsson penalty just before the half. However, they were pushed back by the Toffees in the second half, with the hosts tying the game with an 89th minute Seamus Coleman header. While the road draw was a sign of improvement, it also meant Swansea slipped to the last spot in the table. Up next, a Saturday home match against Crystal Palace.

 

After a bright start that saw them lead the Championship table, David Wagner’s Huddersfield Town lost 3-2 at Cardiff City. With just one win in their last seven games, the Terriers slip to fourth in the table.

German third division side Osnabruck also slipped to fourth in the table after a 1-1 draw at Aalen. After 12 years as a player with the Lilywhites, California native Joe Enochs has been coached Osnabruck since last season. Despite the dropped points, the side from Lower Saxony are only two points off the lead.

Bronx-born John Caulfield’s season with Ireland’s Cork City is over, as he guided the Leesiders to the FAI Cup title and a second-place finish in the Irish Premier Division, and a berth in the Europa League qualifying round. Caulfield and his family returned to Ireland when he was four years old, and he ended up playing nearly 500 games over 15 seasons during his playing career at Cork. Caulfield took over as manager three years ago, finishing second in three seasons.

 

Dennis Lukens was the first American to coach in the former Soviet Union, and the New York-native and long-time Massachusetts resident is back in Ukraine guiding newly-created Sudnobudivnyk Mykolaiv in the third division. Just past the midway point of the season, the Shipbuilders stand 14th in the table.

Wagner’s old Schalke teammate Thomas Dooley, the former U.S. captain, has been guiding the Philippines national team since 2014. While the Philippines failed to advance to the final round of qualifying for World Cup 2018, they opened the group stage of the Asean Football Federation Championship with a 0-0 draw at Singapore on Saturday.

While he was born in Tehran, Afshin Ghotbi moved to Los Angeles with his mother at the age of 13, playing for UCLA, serving as an assistant with the U.S. national team, and eventually taking the top spot with his native Iran. After stints in Japan and Thailand, the ex-Bruin took charge of recently relegated Shijiazhuang Ever Bright in China’s second division earlier this month.

After a decade in the college ranks, and stops in Finland and Papua New Guinea, New Jersey’s Mike Keeny moved to Slovakia and helped Samorin earn promotion to the second division, stepping in midway through last season. A draw on Saturday saw Samorin drop to fifth, but they are still in contention for a spot in the championship round and a shot at promotion to the Super Liga.

 

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

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

Bosnian-American Nermin Crnkic continues to shine for FK Sarajevo with his second brace in the last three games. The 24-year-old former Michigan Bucks forward hit twice in a 4-3 win over Mladost Doboj Kakanj to lift his side to third in the standings. Crnkic now has five goals on the season.

 

DENMARK

Ghanaian-American Sammy Adjei, Junior scored his first goal of the season for Naestved in a 2-1 loss at Vejle. The St. Benedict’s Prep product and son of the former Ghana defender hadn’t scored since last May. Naestved is in the relegation zone after 18 matches.

Former New England Revolution defender A.J. Soares is retiring following a series of concussions. The 27-year-old Cal grad had been playing at Aarhus.

 

ENGLAND

Reading leaped into third place over the weekend with a 3-0 win over Burton Albion. Forgotten national team midfielder Danny Williams found the net.

 

Jonathan Spector helped Birmingham City shut out Bristol City 1-0 to leap to fifth in the Championship table, but he wasn’t around to hear the final whistle. The Chicago-area native started at right back, but saw red in the 90th minute and will miss their next match at Brentford.

D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid isn’t ready for vacation yet. He’s over in Wales training with Bob Bradley’s Swansea City. It’s not an official trial, but it can’t hurt to get noticed. The Swans share owners with the MLS team.

Southern Californian Anthony Wright helped lead Nottingham Forest’s u23s to a 2-1 win at Bolton Wanderers. Wright set up the opening goal by Ben Brereton with a nice cross. Wright almost scored a goal of his own in the second half, as Forest climbed to eighth in the Professional Development League table.

 

GERMANY

National team defender John Brooks shook off the disappointment of the loss in Costa Rica with a hard-fought scoreless draw against Augsburg. However, the dropped points allowed both Cologne and Borussia Dortmund to leap over Hertha in the table as they fall to sixth.

While Christian Pulisic got a bow off the bench in Dortmund’s win over Bayern Munich, in the 2.Bundesliga, Sandhausen striker Andrew Wooten continues to impress. Wooten scored twice and set up a third in a 3-1 win at Karslruher. Wooten now has seven goals on the season, as the win lifts SVS to ninth after matchday 13, just five points out of a promotion spot.

Ingolstadt midfielder Alfredo Morales has been out injured for the past three weeks. However, the 26-year-old Berlin native posted on twitter and Instagram this past week that he is almost ready to return to action.

Former New York Red Bulls and Wilmington Hammerheads youngster Mael Corboz made his debut for Duisburg last week in a 6-0 cup thrashing of TuRU Dusseldorf. The Mobile, Ala. native came off the bench to play the last 12 minutes. Corboz’s father played semi-pro football in France and his sister, Daphne, plays for Manchester City’s women’s team.

In youth action, Haji Wright scored two more goals and assisted on a third to help lead Schalke’s u19s to a 4-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen. That means the former Galaxy and Cosmo youngster now has six goals and seven assists for 04. Wright found the net in the 56’ and 76’ while FC Dallas academy product Weston McKinnie helped close the door after Leverkusen took an early lead. The  victory lifts Schalke four points ahead of Leverkusen in the u19 Bundesliga table, and just one point back of leaders Borussia Dortmund. To watch the entire game, click here.

German-American Tim Tillman has been lighting it up for Bayern Munich’s youth team. And while he’s expressed an interest in suiting up for the United States, they are not his only suitors. Tillman was called in to Germany’s u18 camp last week.

With an eye FAR to the future, Bayern Munich posted a video on twitter that went viral, putting a young player through some impressive paces. The kid in question, 12-year-old American Jack Panayotou, plays for Bayern’s youth partner in Massachusetts.

 

ITALY

Scoring an olimpico last time out with Fiorentina’s primavera squad was good enough to get U.S. youth international Josh Perez noticed. The nephew of former national team great Hugo Perez was on the bench for the first team in Sunday’s 4-0 win at Empoli.

 

MEXICO

The Liga MX regular season has ended and Tijuana finished atop the Apertura table, just ahead of Pachuca. National team defender Michael Orozco touched in an 87’ own goal as Xolos lost 2-1 at struggling Veracruz. However, when the Tuzos were held at home by Club America 3-3, Tijuana clinched the top seed. Ventura Alvarado started for the Aguilas, while fellow U.S. defender Omar Gonzalez was on the bench for Pachuca.

Tigres lost the regular season finale 2-1 at home against Copa MX champions Queretaro. Jonathan Bornstein played the full game for the winners, while midfielder José Torres was a first-half sub for Tigres. After Toluca were upset at home by Santos Laguna, Club Leon snatched the final playoff berth with a 3-2 win at Cruz Azul with national team goalkeeper William Yarbrough in net.

Xolos will face off against U.S. national team netminder William Yarbrough and Club Leon in the quarterfinals, which start Tuesday. Gonzalez and Pachuca will open the two-legged series on the road at Necaxa. Pumas-Tigres and Club America-Chivas round out the playoff pairings.

 

PORTUGAL

On Wednesday, Keaton Parks and Varzim travel to Oporto to face Erik Palmer-Brown and Porto B in Portuguese Cup play. Palmer-Brown saw action with the first team in training last week.

Another American found the net for Varzim’s B team as 19-year-old Armando Palaez out of Carrollton, Texas scored the 2-1 winner over Serzedo. It’s his third of the season and lifts his side to 7th in the Elite Division table.

 

SCOTLAND

While Perry Kitchen captains Hearts and Bjorn Johnsen is scoring goals for them, the Scottish contenders have added a third American to their ranks by bringing in New York Red Bulls academy keeper and Staten Island, N.Y. native Wojciech Gajda to their u20 team.

 

SWEDEN

Keeper Matt Pyzdrowski was three minutes from safety in the Swedish relegation playoffs as Helsingborg led Halmstad 1-0 at home following a first leg 1-1 road draw. However, Halmstad’s Marcus Mathisen beat the former Marquette netminder with a penalty in the 87th and he followed up with another goal three minutes later to earn promotion and relegate Helsingborg.

 

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.


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