Americans abroad suffer brutal weekend
This was a weekend to forget for Americans abroad with benchings, injuries, poor performances, and ugly incidents dominating the headlines. Yes, Kenny Saief and Jonathan Amon looked quite good but the top American players in Europe and Mexico either did not play, or played poorly.
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
January 21, 2018
January 21, 2018
The bottom line is simple. This was an awful weekend for Americans abroad. It was full of bad performances, benchings, injuries, and ugly moments for players who would be top-choice selections for the U.S. national team.
Christian Pulisic was far below his usual high standard on Friday in a 1-1 draw against Hertha Berlin. The normally reliable DeAndre Yedlin didn’t start for Newcastle United against Premier League leaders Manchester City but when he came off the bench in the 66th minute, he was exposed on the final goal of a 3-1 loss.
Meanwhile, Bobby Wood and Hamburg have both been poor all season and Saturday was rock bottom when it lost to Bundesliga cellar-dwellers Cologne 2-0 in yet another brutal offensive performance. At this rate, it would be shocking if HSV could stay up. Wood came off the bench in the 66th minute and was ineffective. Of course it is fair to point out that with HSV's midfield, any striker would struggle. Still, it has been a bad season for Wood. Fortunately for Wood and Hamburg, manger Markus Gisdol was fired after the game. No matter who replaces Gisdol, the team's lack of talent will make it hard on any manager to survive the relegation battle.
But at least they played. That is more that could be said for the too often injured John Brooks or Fabian Johnson. Meanwhile, Omar Gonzalez didn’t make the 18 for Pachuca, and Danny Williams didn’t get off the bench for Huddersfield which is starting to sink.
And even with this listed above, things got worse as two other likely U.S. starters also had weekends to forget.
On Sunday, Weston McKennie was substituted into Schalke’s 1-1 draw with Hannover in the 63rd minute. Less than 20 minutes later, the highly rated Texan was forced out after injuring his knee in a collision.
There is a lot of speculation on the internet over the severity of the injury but McKennie (while on crutches) said afterward he didn’t think it was bad. Obviously players can be poor judges over the severity of their own injuries but more details are expected on Monday.
Miazga faces possible suspension
United States national team defender Matt Miazga played the full 90 for Vitesse against Heerenveen in a 1-1 draw. During the game, this happened. It’s hard to see Miazga escaping punishment for this.
It was a moment of poor judgement. Hopefully he learns.
Carter-Vickers makes Ipswich debut
After only joining Ipswich on loan from Tottenman midweek, Cameron Carter-Vickers walked into the starting lineup and turned in a strong performance against Bolton in a 1-1 draw.
For a young player whose confidence has taken a hit the past two months while playing on loan at Sheffield United, Carter-Vickers had his strongest game in weeks.
On the other side of the field for Bolton, fellow British-American Antonee Robinson also played well at left back. While Carter-Vickers is well-known and highly regarded within U.S. Soccer, Robinson is looking for his first U.S. national team call-up.
Chandler plays left-back and scores
When Jurgen Klinsmann was the national team head coach, he was determined to try to convert Timothy Chandler into a left back despite the fact the German-American never played there for his club. Eventually Klinsmann gave up.
But Chandler got a rare start at left back on Saturday and scored a goal (which you can view here) from close range in a 3-1 win over Wolfsburg.
The goal, however, was one of the least impressive moments from Chandler’s performance where he was the man-of-the-match. Defensively he allowed very little down his side of the field. Offensively, he got forward and had three shots, all on target.
Saief makes Anderlecht debut
There are plenty of reasons to believe Kenny Saief’s move to Anderlecht will be a good one as he is rejoining a former coach who rates the Florida-native highly.
Saief, 24, delivered on Sunday in his Anderlecht debut helping the club win 1-0 on the road against Genk. Saief went the full 90 and was regularly dangerous from the left side where he was able to swing in several dangerous crosses.
With is hernia surgery and subsequent complications behind him, Saief is certainly a player who could have a big role on the U.S. national team moving forward.
Amon shines in friendly
United States U-20 winger Jonathan Amon opened eyes in his first few professional appearances in late 2017 while playing for Nordsjaelland which is currently in third place of the Danish Superliga. The Charleston native showed explosive speed on the ball to easily move past defenders.
After taking part in U.S. Soccer’s Youth Summit this past month with the U-20 team, Amon looks to be starting 2018 where he left off in a 6-3 win over Lyngby. This game was no contest as Nordsjaelland build up a 6-0 lead before taking their foot off the gas pedal in the second half.
But when building up the huge lead, Amon picked up a “hockey assist” a goal in the 8th minute, scored a goal in the 22nd minute, and then drew a penalty which was converted by a teammate.
It would not be surprising at all to see Amon be one of the breakout American performers abroad in 2018. Nordsjaelland is very excited about him and management believes it has a very valuable asset on its hands who could be sold for a big profit in the years ahead. It will be fun to watch him when the Danish season resumes next month.
Here are the three highlights from Amon in the first half of Saturday's game.