This week has been a crazy one for me and of course 2354356456 guys have scored goals this week. As always, our goal tracker has a bunch of information on who scored and links to those available highlights.
Howie posted some German news yesterday. Fabian Johnson is going to be out for a while with an injury, Andrew Wooten could be called in for the USMNT’s September friendlies and Joe Gyau gives us an injury update.
Three news items of varying importance popped up today, all regarding Americans in Germany.
– In Mönchengladbach, Fabian Johnson suffered a hamstring tear in their season-opening loss to Dortmund. He is expected to miss “several weeks”, which leaves him questionable for the start of Gladbach’s Champions League campaign next month. It’d also leave him out for upcoming US friendlies, although I doubt it affects his status for World Cup qualifying in November
– German-American striker Andrew Wooten has been bringing the noise and ruckus early this year, scoring five times in three matches to start the season. German media is reporting that Wooten will be called up to said upcoming US friendlies, which would be his debut with any US national team (he made some U-23 camps but has never played in actual game)
– Finally, DMVSoccer has an interview up with injured Borussia Dortmund (II) winger Joe Gyau. Gyau had just debuted for Dortmund’s senior team when he tore his lateral meniscus playing for the US. While reports have suggested setbacks could leave Gyau out for all of this season as well (American soccer knees are cursed), Gyau provides a more optimistic assessment:
Yes, it is true that I had some cartilage damage, so the surgeon had to do a transplant procedure. They extracted some of my existing cartilage, grew it in the lab, and then 3 weeks later put it back in the damaged spot. I’ve been doing work each and every day, which is tough sometimes, but it’s what has to be done for me to come back stronger. The facilities, physios, and doctors at Dortmund have been with me every step of the way. As for me being out for the whole season, that’s not true. I’m definitely going to be back much sooner than that.
Brazil is bringing a pretty decent team to the US for September’s friendly.
While next summer’s Copa America Centenario is still up in the air, CONCACAF is proceeding like the tournament is still on as they have scheduled qualifiers for CONCACAF’s remaining two spots (US, Mexico, Costa Rica and Jamaica have already qualified).
Costa Rica will have a new manager as Paulo Wanchope has resigned after losing his mind at an U-23 match earlier this week. As Howie pointed out, between him and Miguel Herrera, the Hex might come down to fighting coaches so the US might as well appoint Peter Vermes as manager.
I haven’t done one of these posts in a while, but here is a bunch of 2015-16 kits for Bundesliga teams featuring Americans this season.
There has been some talk that Julian Green could be headed out on loan this season, but he will have plenty of options of jerseys if he sticks around Bayern Munich (order – home/road/third).
While David Yelldell hasn’t played a league game for Bayer Leverkusen’s senior team since joining the team in 2011-12, he is still on their roster. And Bayer Leverkusen have three options of kits for 2014-15 (order – home/road/third).
Borussia Dortmund has a few Americans throughout their system in Joe Gyau, Junior Flores and Christian Pulisic. They also have three different jerseys for 2015-16 (order – home/road/third).
Borussia Mönchengladbach and Kappa always have “interesting” kits and this year will be no different for Fabian Johnson and Mario Rodriguez (order – home/road).
Timothy Chandler is in his second season with Eintracht Frankfurt and they will have a pinstripe shirt much like the Frankfurt team from 1972-73 (order – home/road).
And finally, Freiburg boast Caleb Stanko, Eric Lickert, Ethan Sonis and now Zack Steffen among their various teams. And they have three Nike kits for this season (order – home/road/third).
Have a favorite of the bunch? Think one is really, really ugly? As for my own taste, I like Bayern Munich Road, Dortmund Third, Eintracht Frankfurt Home and Freiburg Home. I dislike basically all the Hoffenheim ones and Borussia Mönchengladbach Road.
Holy smokes. Can you believe that this is the sixth edition of the legendary OT XI? When we started this thing there were actually a ton of American players in Europe. Of the original OT XI, only two (Alejandro Bedoya and Jonathan Spector) are still playing abroad, and five (Ryan Guy, Landon Donovan, Brad Friedel, Eddie Johnson, and Carlos Bocanegra) are retired. Crazy times.
Goalkeeper Brad Guzan, Aston Villa (England) [2nd appearance]
If you want to talk about the decline of American players abroad, look no further than goalkeeper (and talk to our friend Will, who wrote this pick.) Even though he didn’t have the greatest of finishes, it was Brad Guzan who carried Aston Villa through the first half of the season, when they couldn’t buy a goal. Guzan carried his team out of the relegation zone so that when it came to the meaningless games in the season, his poor performance didn’t matter. Admittedly, it’s a weak pick without glamour but of all the overseas goalkeepers, Guzan helped his team the most.
Greg Garza, Tijuana (Mexico) [1st]
Tim Ream, Bolton Wanderers (England) [2nd]
Ventura Alvarado, Club America (Mexico) [1st]
Eric Lichaj, Nottingham Forest (England) [2nd]
Two from Liga MX and two from the Football League Championship make up the backline. Garza basically made Edgar Castillo, the 2013 honoree at leftback, expendable at Tijuana as he also established himself as the likely national team heir apparent to the internationally-retired Edgar Castillo. Ream played a little of everywhere defensively for Bolton and earned his second consecutive team MVP. After time on loan, Alvarado blossomed with the CONCACAF Champions League winners and broke into the national team. Meanwhile, back in England, Lichaj had his healthiest season and made 42 appearances, more than the previous two seasons combined (since they play like 800 games in the lower divisions of England).
Guys, guys! We had a guy qualify to the Champions League out of a top five league! Johnson stepped up his team quality and managed to break in and do his usual thing of being a solid contributor at multiple spots on the flank. His former teammate at Hoffenheim, Williams, makes his second consecutive appearance as he continues to play well for Reading. Morales, who looked somewhat out of his element in early caps with the Nats, has blossomed into an legit prospect and helped Ingolstadt earn promotion, meaning he’ll join Johnson in the Bundesliga next year. Bedoya, meanwhile, continued his strong form in Nantes. With Bedoya’s 4th OT XI appearance, he ties Sacha Kljestan and Clint Dempsey for the all-time lead and is a solid favorite to hold the title by his lonesome sooner rather than later.
Matt Taylor, 1. FC Saarbrücken (Germany) [3rd]
Cesar Romero, FC Pyunik (Armenia) [2nd]
Taylor is basically one of our favorite OT players ever. He is a mortal lock to bang in double digit goals in any season that ends in an odd-numbered year (2011- 17; 2013- 16; 2015- 13) and takes advantage of the lengthy injury absences to Terrence Boyd and Aron Jóhannsson, two of last year’s forward honorees. Meanwhile, another OT favorite completely dominated Armenia, scoring 20 goals as Pyunik won their first league title since 2010. He also inspired us to make a ton of The Joker references, although we probably should have made more, because that’s an awesome nickname.
Tim Ream, D, Bolton Wanderers
Ream has gone from MLS breakout prospect to national team disaster to Premier League overmatched to extremely useful Championship player. He has really excelled the last two years with Bolton, and he’s mostly a classic example of how a players can take a while to adjust to a new country.
Goal of the Year
Aron Jóhannsson really wanted to make this post despite missing so much time injured, so he won this late-season match against NAC Breda in the waning moments with this ridiculous strike from distance.
Performance of the Year
Seriously, Jóhannsson got healthy and just wanted OT honors. Plus he has a desire to spend his Thursdays traveling across Eastern Europe in Europa League. So Gunner Stahl (time to resurrect that nickname) decided to dump two goals and an assist on Excelsior (fantastic club name, I’m glad they managed to stay in the Eredivisie) in a match to clinch Europa League for AZ. Highlights!
Fabian Johnson got the start and was involved in the build up of the last goal (he had the last pass before Traoré’s goal) in Borussia Mönchengladbach’s 3-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen. With the win, Mönchengladbach has won nine straight home games in league play for the first time since 1984 and inch closer to earning an automatic Champions League place. Here is Johnson’s assist in GIF form since the video has already been pulled since I first started typing up this post.
Had one too many margaritas last night? Nothing a few links can’t help.
As Howie posted yesterday, Birmingham City is letting Will Packwood go while offering Jonathan Spector a new contract.
I posted a couple tidbits on the USMNT, U-23 and U-17 teams earlier this week but I also forgot to include that the U-23 team will be holding a camp in England in September. They will play friendlies against England and Qatar during the camp.
J.R. Eskilson spoke to Sam Strong about how an encounter with Jurgen Klinsmann in an airport helped him get his US U-23 call-up last month.
Steven Goff is hearing that Duke product Jeremy Ebobisse and Virginia’s Jake Rozhansky are headed to Europe for some trials.
I recently learned of another former US Soccer Development Academy player in Germany. Faisal Almubaslat is a 17-year-old winger at Tennis Borussia Berlin playing with their U-17 team in the B-Junioren Bundesliga Nord/Nordost. He had a few goals and assists in April as you can see in these highlights against RB Leipzig and Concordia Hamburg.
And finally, a little plug for our goal tracker. There have been a lot of goals, especially in lower leagues, as of late and it will keep you up to date with who is scoring (and links to highlights when available).