Christian Pulisic Scores a Great Goal for Dortmund
April 18, 2016
AMERICAN PLAYERS MADE SOME NOISE overseas this weekend as Christian Pulisic got on the board for Borussia Dortmund, Gedion Zelalem featured in the return of the Old Firm derby, and Bobby Wood has now scored in eight straight games for Union Berlin.
Here are the highlights from the weekend that was.
Pulisic opens his Bundesliga account
If you have watched Christian Pulisic play for Dortmund in recent weeks, you've likely noticed that he has been very effective and you could sense that it was only a matter of time before he got on the board with either a goal or an assist.
Today, in the 38th minute against Hamburg, it happened. The 17-year-old took a pass in the box from Mats Hummels, cut inside, and fired a near-post shot past Rene Adler. The strike broke a scoreless draw and helped Dortmund to a 3-0 win.
With the goal Pulisic became the fourth-youngest scorer in Bundesliga history—behind Nuri Sahin, Julian Draxler, and Timo Werner.
The high-profile goal will no doubt help Pulisic secure a place in the Copa America Centenario this summer. Dortmund management has done a great job with the young attacker, bringing him along gradually but also giving him a chance to shine. It will be interesting to see how U.S. Soccer’s technical director (Jurgen Klinsmann) and youth technical director (Tab Ramos) bring him along on the international front.
Wood adds his 17th goal for Union
Bobby Wood scored again for Union Berlin—the eighth straight game in which he has scored. The strike proved pivotal as it gave Union Berlin a 1-0 win over Bochum. Wood has now scored one goal every 133 minutes.
Wood is chasing the 2.Bundesliga record of scoring in 12 straight games. The question now: Where will Wood end up next year? If history is any indication, he is not going to be back with Union in 2016-17.
Picault scores twice for St. Pauli
The best performance of the weekend for an American abroad was a bit of a surprise. New York City native Fabrice “Fafa” Picault scored both of St. Pauli’s goals in a 2-0 win over Bochum in the 2.Bundesliga.
Picault, 25, joined St. Pauli before the season after failing to earn playing time at Sparta Prague in the Czech Liga. In 2014 he had a bit of a breakthrough in the NASL with the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers, scoring 12 goals in 24 appearances.
He now has three goals in the 2.Bundesliga and even earned a nice shoutout from Jurgen Klinsmann on Twitter.
Picault had a few call-ups to the U.S. U-20 team in 2009 and 2010 but has never represented the United States in an official competition. He is eligible for Haiti as his parents both come from the country and his grandfather featured for the Haitian national team.
Yedlin, Sunderland push toward safety
While the situation is still far from ideal, Sunderland’s chances of remaining in the English Premier League are significantly improved after a 3-0 away win over Norwich City on Saturday. It was a crucial victory because Norwich was the team it had been chasing and the three points moved it to within one point of Norwich (and Sunderland has a game in hand).
In particular, DeAndre Yedlin had a strong performance at right back, playing 90 minutes and seeing more time in a tense relegation battle. After struggling to get minutes early in the season, he has now appeared in 18 games and has played 1,375 Premier League minutes.
The big question will be if Yedlin continues performances like this, will it be enough to convince Klinsmann that he can play the fullback position for the U.S. against top competition? So far, Klinsmann has primarily sought to play Yedlin on the wing against top teams and as a right back against weaker competition.
Rough week for German-Americans
The German-American contingent had a weekend to forget. Before the weekend even started, Danny Williams was suspended for three games by the Football Association for an on-field altercation with Reading teammate Paul McShane in a loss on Tuesday to Middlesbrorough.
Fabian Johnson and John Brooks are both chasing Champions League spots, but both players' teams came up short in awful losses to teams at the bottom of the Bundesliga table. On Friday, Johnson's Borussia Monchengladbach side lost 2-0 against Hannover.
Brooks went a full 90 for Hertha in a 2-1 loss to Hoffenheim. With the loss, Hertha fell to fourth place in the Bundesliga, which would lead them to the qualifying stages of the Champions.
Finally, Timothy Chandler had a horrific game for Eintracht Frankfurt in a 3-0 loss to Bayer Leverkusen. The right back was beaten repeatedly on his side and it would hardly be surprising if he returned to the bench. If Klinsmann or his staff watched this game, Chandler’s return to the national team might be in jeopardy
Zelalem Sees Field in Old Firm
The Old Firm is one of the oldest and most passionate rivalries in soccer. Since 2011 it has been on the backburner as Gasgow Rangers suffered through a financial crisis that forced to reboot and start in the fourth tier of the Scottish pyramid.
Rangers earned promotion back to the Scottish Premier League the following year but the derby against Celtic resumed on Sunday in the Scottish Cup semifinals in front of 50,000-plus fans at Hampden Park in Glasgow.
Zelalem, 19, entered the game for Rangers in the 87th minute with the team’s deadlocked at 1-1. Rangers took a 2-1 lead in the 96th minute but Zelalem struggled a bit on both sides of the ball and was beaten on the play leading to Tom Rogic’s 116th-minute equalizer.
In happier news, Zelalem converted his penalty in the sixth round of the shootout. In the end, Rangers prevailed in a triumphant return to the Old Firm. Rangers will now face Hibs in the final.