51171_isi_miazgamatt_usmntjd01181618 John Dorton/isiphotos.com
Americans Abroad

Miazga and Ream Do Well But Other Yanks Struggle

Two former New York Red Bull defenders made good strides over the weekend, but most Americans playing abroad suffered through dismal results, poor performances, or just sat on the bench.
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
May 01, 2017
3:00 PM

Matt Miazga Lifts Dutch Cup

Without a doubt the best performance from the weekend came from New Jersey’s Matt Miazga who helped Vittesse to a 2-0 win over AZ Alkmaar on Sunday to claim the Dutch Cup. The Arnhem-based club has been in existence since 1892 but has never won a major trophy in the Netherlands. History yesterday and Miazga played very well in helping his side to a clean sheet.

Miazga worked his way into the Starting XI for Vitesse at the end of February following an injury to Maikel van der Werff. Miazga has played very well since then and has established himself well within the Eredivisie club. Miazga is scheduled to return to his parent club, Chelsea, for the 2017/18 preseason but it is unclear if his Premier League club will loan him out again.

As for Miazga's national team ambitions, those are also murky. When Miazga spoke with ASN in March, he admitted he had yet to be in contact with Bruce Arena since Jurgen Klinsmann was fired. With the Gold Cup approaching, however, the new U.S. coach has said that tournament could be used to bring in new players. With Miazga having played very well in recent months, he could be in a strong position. The potential drawback, however, will be missing the preseason with whatever club he's playing for next season.

Ream and Fulham Reach playoffs

In early March Fulham’s hopes for promotion seemed very unlikely. The London-based club rallied, however, and coming into Saturday’s game against Brentford it had won four in a row. In that game, the Cottagers pulled off a 1-1 draw and that was enough to virtually seal up sixth place—the final playoff spot for promotion to the English Premier League. With seventh place Leeds United also drawing, Fulham has a three-point lead over Leeds heading into the final weekend. Fulham also has a 13-goal differential advantage over Leeds, meaning it would take a catastrophic turn of events for Fulham to miss out on the playoffs.

The seedings are unclear yet for the playoffs but Ream and Fulham will either face Sheffield Wednesday, Reading, or Huddersfield.

Ream’s European career began in the Premier League after he transferred from the Red Bulls to Bolton. If the St. Louis native continues to play the way he has, he could be returning to England’s top flight again.

Horrible weekend for most Yanks Abroad

Unless you were a former New York Red Bulls central defender, the weekend abroad for Americans abroad was terrible.

How bad? Brace yourself. 

Bobby Wood and Hamburg had both been doing well just a few weeks ago. Since then, the wheels have come off the wagon for both Wood and HSV. Last weekend, Hamburg inexplicably lost to last-place Darmstadt at home 2-1. On Saturday, Hamburg lost again to a relegation battler. This time it was a 4-0 demolition at the hands of Augsburg. Excellent just a few weeks ago, Wood has seen a very quick drop of form—but he is far from the only problem. Hamburg is in a nosedive and might find itself in the 2.Bundesliga very soon.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga relegation zone, Ingolstadt are unlikely to stay up. On Saturday, it played to a 0-0 draw against RB Leipzig but Alfredo Morales was sent off in the 86th minute following his second yellow card.

Timothy Chandler and Eintracht Frankfurt are not in the relegation zone but instead have tumbled out of European contention. In third place as recently as March, Frankfurt now sits in 11th place following a 1-0 loss to Hoffenheim over the weekend.

The injury news from Germany is nothing to cheer about either: Fabian Johnson, John Brooks, Terrence Boyd, and Andrew Wooten were all unable to suit up this weekend.

In Germany's second tier, the once-promising Julian Green cannot get onto the field for league-leading Stuttgart. And Green was not alone: Russell Canouse did not play for Bochum and Jerome Kiesewetter did not even make the bench for Fortuna Dusseldorf.

Heading over to Scotland, Emerson Hyndman had his second straight rough outing for Rangers in an Old Firm Derby. This time he was pulled in the 56th minute of a 5-1 loss in the bitter rivalry. At least the Texan is starting for Rangers—and with the exception of Old Firm games he has played very well. Perry Kitchen and Bjorn Johnsen are no longer starting for Heart of Midlothian in nearby Edinburgh. On Saturday, Johnsen played the final 11 minutes in a 2-2 draw with Partik Thistle and Kitchen went as an unused substitute.

Heading south into England, Brad Guzan started for Middlesbrough in a 2-2 draw with Manchester City. Normally that would be a good result but not this time as Middlesbrough need wins to stave off relegation. Elsewhere in the Premier League, Lynden Gooch returned to the bench for Sunderland but did not play in a loss that finally relegated the club after years of narrow escapes. Geoff Cameron started in the midfield for Stoke City in a boring 0-0 draw against West Ham. Stoke City finds itself in its typical midtable spot—no chance of relegation but no chance of earning a spot in Europe.

In the Championship, Danny Williams appears to have lost his starting spot at Reading and has only been coming off the bench in recent weeks. On Saturday he played the final 30 minutes in a 1-0 win over Wigan. Reading is heading to the promotional playoffs but will Williams play an important role in trying to get Reading back to the Premier League?

Eric Lichaj is one of Nottinham Forest’s best and most popular players but the club has a lot of problems at the moment. On Saturday it lost 2-0 to Queens Park Rangers. That loss was its third in four games and the club now it sits in 21st place. The only thing separating it from 22nd place and relegation to England's third tier is a one-goal advantage in goal differential over Blackburn Rovers.

Arsenal and U.S. U-20 midfielder Gedion Zelalem has endured a brutal loan to VVV-Venlo in the Dutch second tier. VVV has clinched promotion and has dominated the league all year long. Still, the only minutes Zelalem, 20, has been earning has been in garbage time. With promotion clinched, Zealem earned his first start for VVV of the year on Friday but the American was pulled at halftime in a 4-1 loss to Ajax II.

The bad weekend for Americans abroad was not limited to Europe. In Mexico, Tijuana has enjoyed a great year and is in first place in Liga MX. On Saturday against Tigres, Joe Corona, Michael Orozco, and Paul Arriola all started and Amando Moreno made the bench. All three Americans were subbed out with Orozco leaving in the eighth minute with an injury. In the end Tijuana lost 3-0 but still managed to remain in first place with only one game remaining before the playoffs.

Omar Gonzalez and Pachuca desperately needed a win to stay in the hunt for a Liga MX playoff spot but instead drew 2-2 at home to 15th place Cruz Azul. Jorge Villafana had a rare positive moment for Americans abroad as he helped Santos Laguna to a 2-2 draw against Chiapas. That point clinched a playoff berth for Santos.

All in all, yuck.

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