Americans Abroad update

Villafana, Johannsson, Saief, Ream, & Williams all notch important wins

Following a brutal weekend last week, it was a much better seriese of games the past few days for Yanks in Europe and Mexico. With many important games taking players, Americans stepped up their games. Brian Sciaretta gives his take on the weekend. 
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
February 25, 2018
1:20 PM
IT WAS A SIGNIFICANTLY IMPROVED weekend for Americans Abroad when compared to last week’s edition. There were wins, impressive moments of individual quality – many in the context of races for promotion, relegation, or for a spot in European competition

Here were the highlights from the past few days.

Villafana & Santos into second

South of the border in Liga MX, Jorge Villafana is having himself a nice season for Santos Laguna. The Anaheim native is once again the starting left back for his club which defeated Cruz Azul 2-0 on Sunday.

With that win, Santos Laguna moved into second place in Liga MX and trails Club America by only a single goal in the goal differential tiebreaker.

Villafana was sharp in the cleansheet. He wasn’t explosive getting up the sideline but he was effective defensively and played steady game.

Saief assists in first Anderlecht win

Kenny Saief has played well since joining Anderlecht in January but unfortunately for the Florida native, the team has been winless since his arrival. That changed on Sunday when Anderlecht posted a 5-3 win over Royal Excel Mouscron to maintain its grip on third place in Belgium

In the win, Saief assisted on Lukasz Teodorczyk’s second goal of the game in the 57th minute when he moved down the left side and sent in a perfect cross that Teodorczyk headed home. Teodorczyk would finish with a hat trick.

Johannsson sharp off the bench

In the Bundesliga, Saturday featured an important game as Werder Bremen hosted Hamburg as both teams find themselves in a relegation battle. Aron Johannsson was on the bench for Werder Bremen and Bobby Wood was on the bench for Hamburg.

Both Americans would get into the game in the second half and feature in the controversial ending.

In the 86th minute, Werder Bremen was pushing for the winner. A ball came lose to Bobby Wood as Hamburg attempted to clear. The Hawaiian lost his opportunity to play the ball and eventually it fell to Johannsson.

Johannsson unleashed a hard shot which was partially saved. The ball kept trickling towards goal but went in after Rick van Drongelen sent it into his own net. But a nearby attacker for Werder was in an offside position. There was a lot of debate as to whether it should have counted. But it did and Werder walked away with a 1-0 win.

For Johannsson, he is continuing to play well since getting regular minutes. He might not always start, but he is playing and contributing. A U.S. national team call-up should be within reach.

Meanwhile, Wood continues to have a nightmare season and Hamburg could fall to last place as soon as next week.

Ream leading Fulham’s rise

Tim Ream, 30, is playing some of his best soccer in years and he is an enormous reason why Fulham is surging. Saturday’s performance was one of his best as Fulham hosted Championship leaders Wolverhampton.

In the game, Fulham posted a 2-0 win but Cottager’s defense was the defining story. With the win, Fulham has earned 27 out of 33 possible points over its last 11 games. It remained in fifth place but has a stronger grip on a playoff position.

The St. Louis native earned rave reviews for his play.

Carter-Vickers stays sharp for Ipswich

Cameron Carter-Vickers, 20, has been a welcome addition for Ipswich Town since joining the Championship club on loan in January. On Saturday, Ipswich defeated Preston North End 1-0 on the road and the U.S. international central defender went a full 90 in the win.

Since the American joined Ipswich, the club has conceded just four goals in the seven games and its sits firmly in midtable in 13th place.

Crucial win for Williams, Wagner, & Huddersfield

It was always going to be a huge challenge for Huddersfield to avoid relegation but Saturday’s 2-1 away win over West Brom is an important step for the club managed by former U.S. international David Wagner. It was its second win in a row and Huddersfield now sits in 14th place but is still only three points from safety.

American central midfielder Danny Williams went the distance and was unspectacular but effective doing gritty work for the win. He completed just 67% of his passes but pressed forward and had four shots in the game.

Next up for Huddersfield is a tough matchup against Tottenham in London.

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