As the European preseason unfolds, ASN's Brian Sciaretta takes a look at five young Americans hoping to establish—or reestablish—their positions in the Starting XI.
ACROSS THE EUROPEAN CONTINENT
July 29, 2014
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established Americans are returning to their clubs following the World Cup and youth players are hoping to establish that they are ready for first-team action. Here are some of the narratives worth monitoring as the European league season approaches.
Timothy Chandler Settling In With Eintracht
When Nurnberg was relegated to the 2.Bundesliga at the end of last season, Timothy Chandler set out to find a new club. The 24-year-old decided to return to his hometown, Frankfurt, where he will now suit up for the squad he played for throughout his youth career: Eintracht Frankfurt.
He was allowed to take an extended break after the World Cup but Chandler is now back into the swing of things with Eintracht. On Sunday he started his first friendly—a 1-0 win over Sandhausen. The only goal of the game came off a play that began with a long Chandler throw-in.
Brooks will be fighting for playing time
Now back with Hertha Berlin after taking a post-World Cup break, John Brooks played the final 25 minutes of Hertha Berlin's 1-0 friendly win over Karlsruhe on Saturday. Unfortunately for him, Brooks will be in a battle for playing time as the season approaches.
During the offseason, Hertha acquired Dutch international John Heitinga from Fulham to boost its central defense. Heitinga and Sebastian Langkamp are likely to be the first-choice central defense partnership heading into the season—unless Brooks can raise his game in the upcoming preseason friendlies.
Brooks’ case is another reminder that while preseason results do not matter, individual performances certainly do.
Duane Holmes making strides
In Huddersfield's preseason win over Guiseley, 19-yearold Duane Holmes impressed with a goal and an assist.
Now in his second full season as a professional, more will be expected of Holmes. Huddersfield coach Mark Robins recently talked about the talented teenager from Columbus, Georgia, indicating he has seen improvement so far this season.
“At times Duane was exciting and at times he was frustrating,” Robins told the Huddersfield Examiner
recently. “For me it’s about his workrate and his work ethic when we haven’t got the ball and, against Guiseley, that was a lot better than it has been of late.”
“It’s an important thing—not just for Duane but for everybody—because when we are not in possession we have to be better,” Robins added. “I’ve been saying this ever since I came into the club and nothing has changed: We have to be better when we haven’t got the ball because otherwise it can end up in our net."
“We need to win it back as quickly as we can and we need to supply the really talented individuals we’ve got in forward areas of the pitch, people who can stick the ball in the back of the net.”
Emerson Hyndman is impressing Felix Magath
Felix Magath, 61, is an established European coach, having led teams such as Schalke, Bayern Munich, Stuttgart, Werder Bremen, and Wolfsburg. Now in charge of Fulham, his priority is guiding a young, talented English Championship side back to the Premier League.
Fulham came to Florida over the weekend to take on D.C. United and Magath was full of praise
for U.S U-20 midfielder Emerson Hyndman who started the game for Fulham in a dominant 3-0 win.
"I am convinced that he will play for America in four years at the World Cup," Magath said about Hyndman.
Quite the endorsement from a man not known for making over-the-top statements.
Bobby Wood gunning for 1860 starting spot
Last season was difficult for Bobby Wood. It began well with his first-ever cap for the United States national team in August, but it quickly took a downward turn with injuries and coaching changes at his club, TSV 1860 Munich.
This season could provide a fresh start for Wood who is hoping to reestablish himself with the 2.Bundesliga club. On Saturday, Wood scored the second goal in a 2-0 win over Stoke City, and according to media reports
he was one of the best players on the field.
HSV 1860 Munich manager Ricardo Moniz suggested that Wood could enter the season as his first-choice forward.
Brian Sciaretta is an American Soccer Now columnist and an ASN 100 panelist. Follow him on Twitter.