George, & McKennie shine in otherwise rough weekend for Yanks in Europe
It's been a good year so far for Americans abroad but this weekend was one to forget. Of course there were exceptions including Jann George and Weston McKennie but Brian Sciaretta breaks down why it was so poor.
BY Brian Sciaretta PostedTHE EUROPEAN season is young and, overall, Americans in Europe are off to a pretty good start. This weekend, however, wasn’t particularly great. There were certainly some nice highlights but in all things considered, it was lackluster.
September 29, 2018
September 29, 2018
Too many top American players either did not play, only played limited minutes, or were part of disappointing results. On the offensive front, there was not enough offensive production.
Cameron Carter-Vickers, Julian Green, and Erik Palmer-Brown are all players that American fans are hoping will establish themselves to being consistent contributors in Europe in years ahead but none of them got off the bench this weekend.
Emmanuel Sabbi started the Danish season on fire but has now missed his second straight game with an injury. Fabian Johnson is normally a consistent veteran but he did not get off the bench for Borussia Monchengladbach. Danny Williams is still MIA for Huddersfield. Also nowhere to be seen this weekend was Josh Gatt at Altach and FC Heidenheim teenager Kevin Lankford.
Finally healthy, Tim Ream made his first Premier League appearance for Fulham after leading the club to promotion last year. Sadly, it went poorly as Everton blew past the Cottagers 3-0. Also in the Premier League, DeAndre Yedlin conceded a penalty in Newcastle’s terrible 2-0 loss to Leicester. Newcastle remains winless and Yedlin’s handball in the box was a blatant penalty.
In the lower leagues of England, Antonee Robinson and Wigan lost to Norwich 1-0 and Eric Lichaj getting the start at left back for Hull played Middlesbrough to a 1-1 draw. Lynden Gooch and Sunderland, meanwhile, are certainly disappointed to only come away with a draw against Coventry as it pushes for promotion. To make matters worse, the Californian was injured in the game.
In Germany, John Brooks wasn’t great but wasn’t bad for Wolfsburg in a 2-2 draw against Monchengladbach. Alfredo Morales had been having a nice season so far but had his worst outing of the season for Fortuna Dusseldorf in a 3-0 loss to a Nurnberg team that lost to Dortmund 7-1 on Wednesday.
Bobby Wood came off the bench to start the second half and had an assist for a Hannover team which was poor on the day and dropped a 4-1 decision to Eintracht Frankfurt. That loss sent Hannover to the bottom of the Bundesliga. Unfortunately for Wood, he hasn’t been part of a lot of winning soccer the past year for either Hannover, Hamburg, or the U.S. national team.
In a very tough matchup against a strong Lyon side, Matt Miazga actually played well for Nantes for almost the entire game but he did concede a penalty in the 81st minute which was saved by Ciprian Tatarusanu. In the end, Nantes played to a 1-1 draw which is an impressive result on the road. Miazga finished with three clearances and an 85% pass completion rate but Nantes remain in 19th place in the 20 team Ligue 1.
Borussia Dortmund fell behind Bayer Leverkusen 2-0 but won 4-2. Christian Pulisic started the game after three very solid outings in a row. This game, however, was not up to his normally high standards and he was taken out in the 67th minute.
In Holland, Andrija Novakovich and Fortuna Sittard were blanked by Ajax in a 2-0 loss at home.
Romain Gall has had a nice season too in Sweden but he had a rough day for Malmo as he was subbed out in the 61st minute of a scoreless draw at home to GIF Sundsvall – the club which sold him in July.
Kenny Saief has missed a lot of time the past two years to injuries but has been able to play in recent weeks. That is good but he is still not back to the level where he’s starting for Anderlecht. On Sunday, he came off the bench and played the final eight minutes of a disappointing scoreless draw to St. Truiden. Also in Belgium, Brendan Hines-Ike and Kortrijk dropped a 3-1 decision at home to Eupen.
The lackluster weekend also makes you ponder where some other players are right now. Eryk Williamson joined Santa Clara in Portugal last month but is still not in the matchday 18. Luca de la Torre had a great league cup performance against Millwall but is he close to making the 18 in Premier League games? If not, what’s his next step? Duane Holmes played for Derby’s reserves and Timothy Tillman is not even making the 18 for Nurnberg right now. Will Keaton Parks get back to the first team at Benfica?
So was there anything that went right this weekend? Yes. It wasn’t as much as American fans are hoping for but there were standout moments.
McKennie helps Schalke closeout win
What was welcome news for American fans is the quick comeback for Weston McKennie who appeared as if he was going to miss a few weeks after suffering a leg injury last weekend in a 2-0 loss to Bayern Munich. He missed the midweek loss to Freiburg (its fifth straight loss to start the Bundesliga season) but was back for this weekend’s game against Mainz.
Schalke ended up winning the game 1-0 for its first three points of the season and McKennie came on in the 62nd minute to help seal the win. He wasn’t involved much offensively but defensively he was very effective where he helped break up multiple Mainz opportunities.
George lifting Jahn Regensburg
Jahn George, 26, has quietly flown under the radar. The German-American received a U.S. U-23 call-up in 2011 but has generally been out of the radar for U.S. fans. Essentially he hasn’t done all that much with his career until three years ago when he signed for Jahn Regensburg in the fourth-tier Regionalliga.
But George has helped Regensburg to two consecutive promotions and last year helped it remain in the 2.Bundesliga. As a winger, he has helped the club with its needed offensive production and lately, he’s been on an impressive run.
Last weekend he scored the final goal of Jahn Regensburg’s 5-0 rout over Hamburg. Then midweek he hit this very nice assist in a 2-1 win over Heidenheim.
Finally, on Saturday he scored the final goal via a penalty in a 3-1 win over MSV Duisburg (where former U.S. international Joe Gyau scored his first goal for the club in the loss).
With Jann George playing great soccer, Jahn Regensburg earned nine points over a six day span to move into fifth place of the 2.Bundesliga.