McKennie to UCL, Robinson aids Bolton's miracle, Miazga shines, & more
May 07, 2018
McKennie and Schalke into Champions League
Christian Pulisic won’t be the only American in the UEFA Champions League in 2018/19 as Weston McKennie and Schalke clinched a berth with a 2-1 away win over Augsburg. McKennie went the distance in the win which also saw Schalke clinch second place in the Bundesliga.
In the game, McKennie was relatively quiet and saw little of the ball. His best moments were defensive how patrolled the center of the field and limited Augsburg’s attack – while occasionally springing a counterattack.
As he prepares to take a big role with the national team in the years ahead, he will do so as a Champions League player alongside Pulisic and Kenny Saief.
Robinson’s escape for Bolton
The biggest surprise with the highest level of drama went to Antonee Robinson and Bolton which needed a win over Nottingham Forest to avoid relegation into third tier League One. The problem is that Bolton were trailing heading into the 87th minute and needed a miraculous two goal rally in the final minutes.
Fortunately for Bolton, David Wheater scored the equalizer in the 87th minute and Aaron Wilbraham scored the winner in the 88th and Bolton remained in the championship.
Antonee Robinson went the distance in the final game of his loan with Bolton and will now return to Everton after a successful season were he played 2420 minutes and featured in a high-pressure relegation fight. In the finale on Sunday, he was strong on the left side where he got forward regularly and connected several dangerous passes.
What a group of lads, what a set of staff, and what a bunch of fans we have here, no fun doing it the easy way ???? What an end to the season that is, WE’RE STAYING UP!!! ????????????— Antonee robinson (@Antonee_Jedi) May 6, 2018
Ream & Fulham to the playoffsIt wasn’t the end to the season that Fulham wanted after entering into a unexpected push for automatic promotion via a 23 match unbeaten streak. That run ended on Sunday with a 3-1 loss to lowly Birmingham City. To make matters worse, a win would have been enough for promotion as Cardiff City played to a 0-0 draw in its finale.
Now Fulham will have to seek promotion through the playoff which will open this week against Derby. While looking unbeatable for most of 2018, Fulham has fresh concerns heading into the four-team tournament as it appeared fatigued against Birmingham City.
Miazga captains, scores, & makes Eredivisie team of the week
Matt Miazga had an impressive day on Sunday for Vitesse in the final game of the regular season. In a 2-2 draw against Willem II, Miazga served as the team captain and scored an equalizing goal in the 63rd minute.
His performance was so strong that he was named to the Eredivisie team of the week.
I was off twitter this weekend but a lot of good news for American soccer to catch up on. Including #USMNT CB Matt Miazga making the Eredivisie team of the week (again) - joined by American born/raised but Norwegian NT forward Björn Johnsen pic.twitter.com/LjhxNKNYbI— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) May 7, 2018
Like a large number of Americans this year in Europe and Mexico, Miazga’s likely won’t be returning to Vitesse next season in 2018/2019 as his loan from Chelsea expires. Instead he will certainly head to a bigger league for another loan and his Polish passport will open doors throughout the continent.
But before he can focus on his next club, he will get to partake in a playoff for a berth in the 2018/19 Europa League and his first opponent is ADO Den Haag which is led by American forward Bjorn Maars Johnsen – who was born in New York, raised in North Carolina, but represents Norway internationally. How Miazga defends Johnsen will be one of the key battles in the two-leg matchup.
Carter-Vickers concludes Ipswich loan
It was a rocky but positive year for Tottenham’s Cameron Carter-Vickers who concluded his first full season as a first-team professional which was spent on two different loans: first with Sheffield United through January, and then with Ipswich Town.
On Sunday, Carter-Vickers went the distance in a 2-2 home draw against Middlesbrough which saw his team finish exactly in midable at 12th place.
So what’s next for Carter-Vickers? He will return to Tottenham this summer but it is hard to see him as a starter for Spurs which appears heading for the Champions League in 2018/19.
Of course he struggled in his final six weeks at Sheffield United, but aside from that stretch he played like a player who was ready to see minutes in either the Premier League or an elite league. His experience at Ipswich was a terrific rebound after a rough spot at United.
If he doesn’t appear to be in the plans to start for Tottenham (most likely), he should expect a high-level loan.
Cameron and Stoke City relegated
It has been a brutal season for Stoke City and Saturday’s home loss to Crystal Palace secured its fate of relegation in the Championship next season. Long-time veteran Geoff Cameron went as an unused substitute.
The end marked a rough season for Cameron who was either injured or benched for long stretches and his 1525 minutes was his lowest single-season since moving to Stoke in 2012 and it was the second lowest of his career – only surpassing 2010 when he was injured most of the year with the Houston Dynamo.
The Massachusetts native will turn 33 in July and is signed through June 2020. Will he be sold or will he remain with the club next year in the Championship? There are tough questions ahead for the U.S. international.
Wagner’s Huddersfield inches toward survival
Former U.S. international David Wagner is about ready to pull off another massive feat in his managerial career. After leaving the Borussia Dortmund organization where he coached its U-23 team, he took over Huddersfield and helped it avoid relegation out of the Championship. The next season he helped it to an unthinkable promotion.
After Sunday’s 0-0 draw against Manchester City, the clinched champions, Wagner now has his team very close to securing survival in the Premier League. The club was a preseason pick by many for immediate relegation.
Huddersfield has a three point cushion for safety and has a difficult final two games (away at Chelsea and home against Arsenal) but the two teams chasing Huddersfield, Southanpton and Swansea (each at 33 points) will face each other and Southampton has a game against Manchester City as well.
Brooks and Wood in relegation dangerBoth Hamburg’s Bobby Wood and Wolfsburg’s John Brooks have had seasons to forget and we do know that at least one will be relegated. Most likely it will be Wood but Brooks and Wolfsburg are far from safe.
To be completely safe, 17th place Wolfsburg will need to overtake 16th place Freiburg on the final day of the season. To do so, Wolfsburg will need to beat last-place Cologne and hope Freiburg lose. If it wins (but can’t overtake Freiburg) or draws, it will be forced into a relegation/promotion playoff against Holstein Kiel of the 2.Bundesliga.
If Wolfsburg lose and Hamburg and Bobby Wood defeat Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday, then it will be Wolfsburg which is automatically relegated and Hamburg will face Holstein Kiel.
Romain Gall remained red-hot in Sweden. While GIF Sundsvall lost to leaders Hammarby by a 4-3 score, Gall scored his fourth goal in his last three games in the league. The former U.S. U-20 attacker has six goals in nine games across all competitions in 2018.
Joe Corona and Rubio Rubin are into the Liga MX semifinals. Joe Corona and Club America defeated Pumas 2-1 in the second leg on Saturday for a 6-2 win. Corona started and went the distance.
Meanwhile, Club Tijuana got past Monterrey with a 2-1 win on Saturday after only earning a 1-1 draw at home in leg one. In the finale, Rubin went the final 12 minutes.