by Phil Schoen
It might be headed towards mid-winter, but things are heating up when it comes to the American internationals. This is especially true on the offensive side of things, where US national team manager Bruce Arena has a lot to consider for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers and this summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup.
A series of injuries, surgeries and rehabilitation led to his departure from RB Leipzig, but Terrence Boyd is looking like a good pick up at cellar-dwelling Darmstadt. This was especially true this weekend when he scored his first Bundesliga goal in a shocking 2-1 win over powerhouse Borussia Dortmund. Christian Pulisic did his best to get the Black and Yellow back level, and while the final whistle leaves Darmstadt in the cellar, they are only four points from climbing out of the automatic relegation spots.
It was a good weekend for Bayern Munich as each of their six closest challengers lost, while the Bavarians squeaked out a last-minute win at tiny Ingolstadt with two goals in added time. U.S. midfielder Alfredo Morales played the full game in a losing effort, which sees Ingolstadt fall four points from safety.
And now a look at some of what was happening on the field:
Another solid 90 minutes from DeAndre Yedlin at right back for Newcastle United as the Magpies eked out a 1-0 win at Wolverhampton Wanderers. The victory keeps Newcastle atop the Championship standings, a point better than Brighton & Hove Albion, with a seven-point hold on an automatic promotion berth.
On the managerial side, David Wagner’s Huddersfield Town continue their climb up the Championship table with a 2-1 road win at Queens Park Rangers. Wagner had to watch from the stands as he was ejected for his on-field celebrations of the Terriers recent win over Leeds United. The win over QPR sees Huddersfield climb to third with a great chance of earning a promotion playoff spot, if not a direct ticket to the Premier League.
Reading slipped to fourth in the Championship, as Danny Williams and the Royals were held to a scoreless draw at home by mid-table Barnsley.
Jordan Siebatcheu scored a hat trick in Chateauroux’s 5-0 dismantling of Bastia in France’s Championnat National. The 20-year-old Washington, D.C. native needed only 65 minutes to make his mark in his debut for Chateauroux. He is on loan from Stade de Reims, making the move in the winter window. Siebatcheu joined Reims at the age of seven and is eligible for the U.S., Cameroon and France. The win moves Chateauroux up to fifth in the table, just two points out of an automatic promotion berth.
One-cap keeper David Yelldell made his first start in more than three months for Sonnenhof Grossaspach in a 1-1 home draw against Hansa Rostock. Fellow Americans Mario Rodriguez and Joe Gyau also saw the field, with Gyau entering for Rodriguez in the 72nd minute. The point lifts Sonnenhof up to seventh in the 3.Liga, just four points out of the promotion playoff spots.
In u19 action, Weston McKennie continued his injury comeback for Schalke with an impressive performance in a 4-2 road win at Preussen Muenster. You can see his incredible assist for the equalizing goal (at 7:01 of the highlights) then scoring the game-winner himself (at 7:27), his third goal of the season, the game-winner in a 4-2 road win at Preussen Muenster. Schalke holds a seven point lead atop their division.
Isaiah Young scored his first goal for Werder Bremen’s u19 team since joining them in January in a 7-2 thrashing of Hamburg SV. Young came off the bench in the 63rd minute and scored ten minutes later (at 2:38) as Werder climbs out of the relegation zone with the win.
Midweek cup action saw Bobby Wood help Hamburg to a 2-0 win over FC Koln to advance to the quarterfinals. With 15 minutes remaining and holding on to a slim one-goal lead, Wood started a break from the midfield and worked a nice give-and-go with Gideon Jung en route to his seventh goal of the season. The win sets up a quarterfinal showdown with fellow national teamer Fabian Johnson and Borussia Moenchengladbach in March. Johnson set up Ozcar Wendt for Gladbach’s opener (at 0:39) in their 2-0 win at Greuther Fuerth.
Cup play gave Dortmund sensation Christian Pulisic another chance to shine as he came off the bench to set up Marco Reus for BvB’s game-tying goal (at 1:19) against John Brooks and Hertha Berlin. Pulisic would miss his penalty in the shootout, but Dortmund would advance to face upstarts Sportfreunde Lotte in the next round.
Eintracht Frankfurt also moves on in the DFB Pokal, facing Arminia Bielefeld in the quarters after Timmy Chandler started Eintracht’s comeback in a 2-1 win at Hannover, assisting on Taleb Tawatha’s equalizer (at 1:40) just after the hour mark.
Elsewhere, Andrew Wooten found the net for Sandhausen against the Bundesliga’s Schalke 04. His 11th goal of the season (at 2:18) drew the 2.Bundesliga side to within two, but Schalke would pull away for the 4-1 road win. They face Bayern in the next round.
While he’s still waiting for another shot at Serie A, 18-year-old winger Josh Perez is lighting it up for the primavera. The California native scored two goals for the Viola in a 4-3 win over Hellas Verona. The win lifts Fiorentina over Verona into third place in their group, just four points behind leaders Lazio.
A rare stumble for Club Tijuana, who lost at home 2-1 against Necaxa. Xolos had lost only once in their last 15 matches in T-J. Joe Corona and Paul Arriola played the whole game, but Michael Orozco missed out due to injury. The defeat sees Tijuana slip to second in the Liga MX standings behind Toluca.
Omar Gonzalez and Pachuca earned a 1-0 home win over Tigres to climb back to third place in the standings. Jose Torres was an unused sub for UANL in defeat.
Jonathan Bornstein and Queretaro edged out his fellow American William Yarbrough and Club Leon 2-1 in a head-to-head showdown towards the bottom of the table.
Arsenal loanee and U.S. youth phenom Gedion Zelalem scored his first goal since joining VVV in the Netherlands on loan. In fact, it was the first professional goal the U.S. national team prospect has ever scored. The 20-year-old entered the game midway through the second half and scored in the 87th minute, the finale of a 7-0 thrashing of Helmond Sport. The big win means Venlo have a seven point gap atop the Dutch Eerste Division in the race for promotion.
While Emerson Hyndman is doing his best with his new club north of the wall, he needs to prove himself all over again. The loanee from Bournemouth has a new boss as Mark Warburton departs as Rangers manager. Graeme Murty stepped in as interim manager for this weekend’s 2-1 Cup win over Greenock Morton, as the young American midfielder had a hand in Rangers winner, was denied a goal of his own by the goalkeeper and the crossbar before leaving in the 80th minute. With the win, Rangers advance to the quarterfinals against either Dunfermline Athletic or Hamilton Academical, who are set for a fifth-round replay tomorrow.
Hearts of Midlothian are also scheduled for a replay next Wednesday after their scoreless draw at home against Hibernian this past weekend. Norwegian American marksman Bjorn Johnsen came in off the bench, but couldn’t find a winner. Former D.C. United midfielder Perry Kitchen was given the afternoon off. The winner hosts Ayr United or Clyde, who are also set to face each other again tomorrow.
Josh Gatt’s time in Scandinavia seems to be over, as the speedy striker is headed back to the States to join expansion side Minnesota United. An official announcement is expected this week. The 25-year-old Michigan-native spent six years in Europe, the last five at Norway’s Molde and has been capped twice by the U.S. However, much of his recent history has been in rehab after a series of injuries.
Two-time FIFA Player of the Year Carli Lloyd could be headed in the other direction as the New Jersey native is expected to join the growing number of U.S. women’s stars in Europe. Manchester City has reportedly made an offer and Lloyd is expected to accept. Alex Morgan (Olympique Lyon), Heather O’Reilly (Arsenal) and Crystal Dunn (Chelsea) are among the U.S. stars headed overseas.
Reports continue to swirl over young German-American Tim Tillman, who is shining in Bayern Munich’s youth academy. Not only is there a battle between US Soccer and the DFB for his national team rights, but giant clubs like Barcelona and Real Madrid are trying to pry the 18-year-old winger away from Bayern. According to his agent, the German giants are refusing to sell for now, seeing Tillman as an eventual first team player after four goals and three assists for their u19 team this season. Tillman’s younger brother, Malik, is also part of the Bayern system and already suited up for the U.S. u15 team.
Promising playmaker Nick Taitague turns 18 on Friday and is expected to join the growing contingent of young Americans on the books at Schalke 04’s legendary Knappenschmeide academy. The Virginia native and U.S. youth star has been training in Gelsenkirchen for the past few months alongside fellow Yanks Weston McKennie and brothers Haji and Hanif Wright. Haji Wright has been among the leading scorers in u19 play and has already trained with Schalke’s first team during the winter break. His younger brother Hanif turns 18 in April and is expected to officially join the club.
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.