92713_packwoodwill_isi_usmntu17jd11109173 John Dorton/isiphotos.com
Fast Five

Pack Is Back: Packwood Headlines Strong Week

What a midweek it was for Americans across the globe: hat tricks heroes, debuts, and veterans returning to action. Brian Sciaretta brings you the best storylines from the week that was.
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
September 27, 2013
12:39 PM
Will Packwood’s continues his return
In January, Will Packwood suffered a gruesome injury in an FA Cup game against Leeds. His leg snapped and his career was in jeopardy. Flash forward nine months later, Packwood is back on the field playing for Birmingham City’s U-21 team. This week he scored a nice goal for the U-21s as he appears to be on his way back to the first team.
Paul Arriola is looking like the real deal
Every year, more and more American teenagers are electing to bypass college in attempts to begin professional careers at a younger age. Few of these players are having as big of an impact as Paul Arriola is right now for Club Tijuana.

Arriola, 18, is expected to be a big part of the new US U-20 team as it builds towards the 2015 World Cup. He is earning minutes and performing well for Tijuana. His performance in the group stages of the CONCACAF Champions League was especially noteworthy. Against Victoria, he hit the post in the opening minute and scored a goal soon after. He is fun to watch and a nightmare to defend.
Duane Holmes lives up to the hype in his professional debut
Duane Holmes has never suited up for the United States at the youth level, but the Georgia-born midfielder has been earning a positive reputation at the youth level in England. On Tuesday, the 18 year old made his long-awaited professional debut in a Carling Cup match against Hull. He came on in the second half and by all media reports was the best player on the field for Huddersfield.
Herculez Gomez returns in style
Due to an injury, Herculez Gomez hasn’t played since this summer’s Gold Cup and his Tijuana debut was delayed. Last night, the forward took the field for Xolos and scored a hat trick. The competition on the U.S national team at forward is ridiculous right now. Landon Donovan, Terrence Boyd, Aron Johannsson, Eddie Johnson, and now Herculez Gomez are all making cases to be on the team.

Aron Johannsson is still a goal scoring machine
When an American abroad scores a hat trick, it is a big deal. When two Americans abroad score hat tricks in the same week, it’s beyond rare. Johannsson’s was a bit more impressive than Gomez's as the game was more competitive. In the Dutch Cup, Johannsson scored the opening goal for AZ Alkmaar against Sparta Rotterdam. With the score tied at 1-1 after 90 minutes, Johannsson scored two more in extra time for the win. Since April 23 2012, Johannsson has scored 30 goals in 41 games in both league/domestic cup games for both AGF Aarhus and AZ Alkmaar.

Brian Sciaretta is a frequent American Soccer Now contributor and a member of the ASN 100 editorial panel. Follow him on Twitter.

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