By Phil Schoen
While Terrence Boyd is trying to get back on track for relegation threatened Darmstadt, he found himself in a different role this week, that of ambassador. The modest side from southwestern Germany found out it had a very big fan last week, former U.S. president Barack Obama. A local radio station went digging through the 631,000 twitter users that the 44th president follows and discovered that the Lillies are the only European soccer team that he follows. Fresh off his stunning goal against Borussia Dortmund, Boyd thanked the former leader of the free world and invited him to attend a Darmstadt game.
It was another big week for David Wagner and Huddersfield Town as they followed up on an extra time midweek win at Rotherham United with an impressive scoreless draw against Premier League giants Manchester City in the fifth round of the FA Cup. The former Dortmund assistant and U.S. national team striker has the Terriers in position for promotion in the Championship, and now travel to City for a replay next week, with the winner travelling to Middlesbrough in the quarterfinal stage.
In other fifth round action, national team goalkeeper Brad Guzan earned the win in a rare start for Middlesbrough, but it wasn’t easy. Boro needed a last gasp winner after blowing a first half two-goal lead when Guzan allowed League One’s Oxford United two goals in 60 seconds midway through the second half.
With U.S. national team coach Bruce Arena in the stands, Tim Ream was back in defense for Fulham in the Championship sides home match against Tottenham Hotspur of the Premier League. A Harry Kane hat-trick without reply ousts the Cottagers from the competition. After playing in the last two rounds of the FA Cup, Cameron Carter Vickers was an unused substitute on the Spurs bench. Tottenham hosts Millwall in their quarterfinal match next month.
And now a look at some more of what was happening on the field:
Former Columbus Crew netminder Steve Clark made his debut in goal for his new club, AC Horsens, but could not earn the win as Silkeborg grabbed the 1-0 victory to start the second half of the Superliga season. Midfielder New York midfielder Conor O’Brien came off the bench in the second half, but couldn’t find the equalizer for Horsens, while new Silkeborg attacker Rubio Rubin was not in the 18.
Another game, another great performance for Newcastle United right back DeAndre Yedlin, as the Magpies snatched a 2-0 win over Aston Villa. The victory moves Newcastle back atop the Championship table in good shape for promotion back to the Premier League.
In midweek action, national team midfielder Danny Williams scored his fourth goal of the season in Reading’s 3-2 comeback against Brentford. The win keeps the Royals in fourth place in the Championship, just six points back of an automatic promotion berth but with a nine-point advantage in the race for a playoff spot. Not only did he score, but he struck another shot so hard it actually burst the ball!
An amazing start for Christian Eissele in his debut at Finland’s FK Jaro, as the 24-year-old Orlando, Fla. native scored four times and set up another in Jaro’ss 8-1 road win over Akatemia in Finnish Cup play.
Meanwhile, Cobi Span and Mariehamn are looking to continue their good run after winning the league title last year with a 1-0 road win over Etchu Tabe and Ekenas to lead their cup group.
A week after scoring a hat trick for Chateauroux, Jordan Siebatcheu found the net again in a 2-1 road win at Creteil. The win sees Chateauroux in third, just two points off the lead in France’s National League, and the Washington, D.C. born striker has scored five goals in three games since being loaned by Stade de Reims.
National team defender John Brooks put on a man-of-the-match performance for Hertha Berlin against Bayern Munich on the weekend, but the Bundesliga leaders escaped with a point after a 96th minute equalizer left the score at 1-1. Hertha stands sixth in the Bundesliga, but just three points out of a Champions League spot.
In a Yank-vs-Yank showdown, Alfredo Morales helped Ingolstadt to a crucial 2-0 road win over Timothy Chandler and Eintracht Frankfurt. The loss keeps Eintracht in fifth, and while Ingolstadt draws closer to safety. The win, coupled with Hamburg’s draw against Freiburg, means Ingolstadt are just two points from climbing out of the relegation zone. HSV’s efforts were hampered when U.S. striker Bobby Wood went down with a thigh injury in the pre-match warmups. Hamburg hope to have Wood fit in time for this weekend’s trip to leaders Bayern Munich.
A speed bump for high-flying Schalke in u19 play as they had to fight back from two goals down against Borussia Moenchengladbach to earn a point. Young American striker Haji Wright scored his tenth of the season to tie the score with 18 minutes left. Schalke still hold a five-point lead atop their group.
While he didn’t make the cut for the US under-20s, goalkeeper Justin vom Steeg is getting noticed at Fortuna Dusseldorf, earning a clean sheet in a goalless draw against West-leading Borussia Moenchengladbach. It’s the second shutout of the season in nine outings for the Cal-Santa Barbara product and the point lifts Fortuna to within a point of escaping the drop zone.
Edgar Castillo put in a solid 90 minutes as Monterrey shut out Pachuca, 1-0, to climb up to fourth in the Liga MX table, just three points off the lead. With CONCACAF Champions League on tap for midweek, fellow national team defender Omar Gonzalez was rested for the losing visitors who slide to sixth.
It was historic, but a night to forget for Paul Arriola, making his 100th appearance for Club Tijuana, but surrendering a late penalty as Xolos blew a three goal lead in a 3-3 draw at Pumas. Tijuana have slipped to third in the table after seven rounds. On a brighter note, the right-wing out of Chula Vista, Calif. has caught the eye of US Soccer.
Norwegian-American striker Bjorn Johnsen hit the crossbar, but left injured early in the second half of Hearts 1-1 home draw against Inverness-Caledonian Thistle. Former DC United midfielder Perry Kitchen set up the game-tying goal, but couldn’t find a winner. The point still draws Hearts closer to third-placed Rangers who lost 2-1 at Dundee. Hearts faces a fifth-round replay midweek at Hibernian. The winner hosts Ayr United in the quarterfinals next month.
Former University of Washington striker Mason Robertson made a stellar debut, coming off the bench to score in his first match for League One’s Stenhousemuir in a 1-1 road draw at Albion Rovers. Stenhousemuir are still bottom of the table, but the win draws them four points from safety.
After sitting out the last game due to yellow card accumulation, Georgia-native Shaq Moore was back in the Levante B defense in a 2-1 injury time loss at Gava. Ex-Colorado Rapids defender John Neeskens, the 23-year-old son of former Cosmos legend Johan Neeskens, made his Spanish debut for the home side in the win, coming off the bench for the final ten minutes. Atletico Levante is next to last in the table, while Gava is just above the drop zone.
U.S. women’s star Carli Lloyd has officially made the move to Manchester City, joining the growing list of women’s players heading to Europe.
There are several unconfirmed news stories stating that national team striker Aron Johannsson is being wooed by several MLS teams. Colorado, Vancouver and the NY Red Bulls are all reportedly interested in the Werder Bremen striker.
Former NY Red Bulls reserve player Chris Thorsheim is finding success in Scandinavia. The 22-year-old defender out of Manalapan, N.J. spent last year in Norway’s third division, but the former Bucknell captain has signed with Norkobing FC, who stand eighth in the first division at the break, just three points out of a promotion playoff spot.
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.