Americans abroad analysis
Boyd taking Super Lig by storm, Palmer-Brown surging, & much more
April 15, 2019
There were plenty of ups and downs. Other young players continued to step up as Sebastian Soto earned more late substitute minutes for a terrible Hannover team that is free-falling to relegation next season. At the youth levels Taylor Booth scored his first goal for Bayern Munich’s U-19 team while U.S. U-20 defender Chris Richards was on the bench one week after picking up an injury which forced him out of the starting lineup last weekend.
For Erik Palmer-Brown and Matt Miazga, it was a great weekend. For other defenders, it was a weekend to forget. John Brooks and Cameron Carter-Vickers were poor. Colorado’s Brenden Hines-Ike and Kortrijk had a tough loss in Belgium – as did U.S. national team keeper Ethan Horvath and Club Brugge. DeAndre Yedlin did not get off the bench for Newcastle United – which beat Leicester City. Eric Lichaj and Hull City also lost Middlesbrough and Antonee Robinson and Wigan squandered a late lead to Norwich and instead played to a 1-1 draw.
The most interesting story of the weekend came from Turkey where American-New Zealander winger Tyler Boyd is continuing take the Super Lig by storm since his arrival on loan from Vitoria de Guimaraes to Ankaragucu. With a game-winning goal, he now has five goals and three assists in just nine games. That kind of a start will likely force him into a decision over his international future sooner than later.
With a lot to cover, here are the top stories from the weekend for Americans abroad.
Palmer-Brown’s MOTM performance
On Friday, Erik Palmer-Brown put out another fine outing for NAC Breda in a 1-1 draw against FC Emmen. The former Sporting Kansas City homegrown on loan to NAC Breda from Manchester City struggled at the start of the season in Holland but has played terrific soccer the past three months.
There isn’t much Palmer-Brown can do in order to prevent last-place NAC Breda’s relegation, his impressive form should get him position for a better loan next season. On Friday, his performance was another reminder of his impressive ceiling that he displayed while he was the captain of the 2017 United States U-20 national team or when he was on Porto B – which he helped lead to Portugal’s Segunda title.
In the Eredivisie today: Erik Palmer-Brown with another big game for NAC Breda in a 1-1 draw with FC Emmen— American Soccer Now (@ClassicASN) April 12, 2019
81% pass completion
4 successful dribbles(!)
1 blocked shot
1 BIG 88th minute equalizer
In the draw against Emmen, Palmer-Brown was solid on both sides of the ball with his defensive responsibilities and his passing/dribbling out of the back. Most importantly was his 88th minute equalizer to help NAC Breda earn a point. With the result, NAC Breda remains four points deep in the automatic relegation positions.
Boyd’s stock soaring
Tyler Boyd is the most intriguing American dual national in the game right now. The New Zealander-American is absolutely on fire in Turkey’s top flight Super Lig since joining Ankaragucu on loan from Vitoria de Guimaraes in January.
On Sunday, Boyd scored another goal - this time a game winner in a 1-0 win over Kayserispor. Boyd, 24, now has five goals and three assists in nine games with the club.
New Zealander-American winger Tyler Boyd scores again today & now has 5 goals/3 assists in 9 games on loan with Ankaragucu of Turkey’s Superlig. My interview from December. https://t.co/crSQadWxiN pic.twitter.com/8CwNERBlIp— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) April 14, 2019
With every passing week, Boyd is approaching a time when a decision will have to be made about his international future. Boyd has represented New Zealand in official youth games and for its senior team in friendlies. He is eligible to play for the United States via a one-time change of associations switch with FIFA.
Boyd was born in New Zealand but moved to California months after his birth where he was raised for a decade. He moved back to New Zealand at the age of 10 before leaving for Europe at age 20.
In an interview with American Soccer Now in December, Boyd said he would consider a switch to play for the United States.
“I have a parent from each country and I feel loyalty to each country,” Boyd told ASN in December. “I'd be proud to represent either. At this stage I've only played non-competitive games for New Zealand. It's still a possibility for either nation. The U.S. team is looking to rebuild and qualify -- that is an interesting process.”
Boyd’s success will make this interesting to follow.
Huge win for Miazga
After a rough week where it lost to fall within two points of the relegation zone, Matt Miazga and Reading FC got the big 2-1 win over Brentford to move towards safety. With the win, Reading moved 4 points clear of Rotherham United which sets the relegation line.
Reading generally controlled the game and Miazga was not busy defensively. Still, he was able to handle all that came away and was credited with three clearances and two big tackles.
Miazga has been an asset for Reading since joining the club on loan in January. Reading would love to have him back next season but Miazga will likely look for either a Premier League team or a Championship team in contention for promotion.
Novakovich scores again for Fortuna Sittard
Andrija Novakovich, 22, is red hot at the moment. The Wisconsin-native scored for Fortuna Sittard in Saturday’s 1-1 draw vs. VVV-Venlo. It was his ninth Eredivisie goal of the season (10th in all competitions), and he also has five goals in his last 10 games in the Eredivisie.
The win helps Fortuna Sittard remain five points clear of the drop zone. The team has generally played well in its first season since earning promotion but its biggest weaknesses has been a huge number of red cards. Before this weekend, it had four first-half red cards in it last 10 games.
If Fortuna Sittard can keep 11 players on the field and Novakovich can continue to play well, it should not be in danger of relegation this season.
Novakovich pic.twitter.com/I3le1McfYB— American Soccer Now (@ClassicASN) April 13, 2019
Brooks and Carter-Vickers struggle
While it was a good outing in Europe for American defenders Matt Miazga and Erik Palmer-Brown, it was not nearly as positive for John Brooks and Cameron Carter-Vickers.
John Brooks struggled throughout Wolfsburg’s 2-0 loss to a Tyler Adams-less RB Leipzig. In aerial battles, Brooks was effective but he was not able to keep up in defensive battles against speedy attackers who had him isolated in 1v1 situations or were making dangerous off the ball movements.
The same was true for Cameron Carter-Vickers who was also poor for Swansea City in a 4-0 loss to Queens Park Rangers on Saturday. Carter-Vickers was responsible for two of the goals and at least one other dangerous opportunity. He nearly scored towards the end after his header hit the crossbar but overall, it was a step back for the English-born American who otherwise has had a positive past few months.
Wooten scores again
If Sandhausen avoids relegation this year out of the 2.Bundesliga, it will be because of American forward Andrew Wooten (1 USMNT cap). The German-born American scored his 12th goal of the season on Saturday in a 3-1 win over Dynamo Dresden but Wooten, 29, is getting hot at just the right time With his goal on Saturday, he has five goals in his last seven as Sandhausen has climbed three points clear of the drop zone after spending most of the season below the line.
Diskerud and Ulsan off to a torrid start
Mix Diskerud’s career has been fascinating as it has taken him to unexpected places at unexpected times.
His latest step has him at Ulsan Hyundai in South Korea’s top flight, the K-League 1 where he is also playing in Asia’s Champions League.
After seven rounds of the K-League 1’s 2019 season, Ulsan Hyundai sits atop the table with 17 points through seven games. That is one point better than FC Soul.
In Sunday’s 3-0 road win over Incheon United, Diskerud assisted on the opening goal as he continues to be a big presence of the team’s midfield.
Weah and Celtic in the Scottish Cup final
Celtic defeated Aberdeen 3-0 on Sunday to advance to the final of the Scottish Cup where it will face Hearts on May 24. Tim Weah played the final 15 minutes of a lopsided game which saw Aberdeen reduced to 9 players following red cards in the 36th and 67th minute (while also having its head coach and top assistant also removed).
It was an ugly game where Weah was not involved much as the game was already 3-0 when he entered.
This situation will provide an interesting situation for the United States U-20 team as the Scottish Cup final takes place the day before the U.S. team’s opening game against Ukraine. If Ramos was planning on trying to have Weah available for the tournament, securing his club release will be more problematic.