Americans abroad

After a promising start, the European season is full of struggles for Americans

The current season for Americns abroad has certainly taken a turn for the worse. It will probably get better but for now, there isn't a lot of good news to write home about. Brian Sciaretta breaks it down in his new piece
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
October 29, 2018
8:00 AM
AMERICANS ABROAD were actually off to a very strong start to the 2018/19 season with the next generation of U.S players flying high. Lately, everything has kind of come crashing down. The season now has far more concerns than positive stories.

The previous weekend was not a pretty weekend but this past weekend was not any better, in fact it might have been somewhat worse.

At the start of the year, there was a lot of promise about the next generation of American central defenders. Now at the end of October, it is a big question when anyone gets back onto the field. Matt Miazga (more on him in a bit) has all of a sudden found himself it a tough situation at Nantes.

Swansea’s Cameron Carter-Vickers and NAC Breda’s Erik Palmer-Brown are both at their respective clubs on loan from huge Premier League teams, and continue to play mostly as unused substitutes (Carter-Vickers managed to get 12 minutes on Saturday in a win over Reading).

In the Championship, Geoff Cameron continues to be the best of the bunch this year and assisted again for Queens Park Rangers in a 1-0 win over Aston Villa. The bad news is that Cameron is 33 with the best years of his career over.

At left back, Antonee Robinson finally returned to the Wigan starting lineup but could not prevent a 4-2 loss to Sheffield United. Meanwhile, Duane Holmes made the bench but did not play for Derby County.

Back in August, there was also a lot of hope for Romain Gall and Emmanuel Sabbi to emerge as U.S national team options after both were scoring goals at a rapid pace. That is not the case anymore and Gall is now a deep bench option at Malmo – where he did not play again on Monday. Sabbi, hasn’t scored since early September.

Kenny Saief’s return from a lengthy bouts of injury and illnesses has not gone well at Anderlecht and the Florida-born Saief came off the bench on Sunday in a bad 2-1 loss to Eupen.

Andrija Novakovich is a regular starter for Fortuna Sittard but he missed Saturday’s game with an injury.

In the Premier League, DeAndre Yedlin has been decent for Newcastle but the team is still winless and in last place after a scoreless draw against Southampton. Similarly, Tim Ream and Fulham had an ugly 3-0 loss at home to AFC Bournemouth to slip into the relegation zone.

There are three Americans in the Premier League this year: DeAndre Yedlin, Tim Ream, and Danny Williams. All three of their clubs make up the relegation zone at the moment.

In the Bundesliga, there are several Americans at the bottom of the table. Bobby Wood’s Hannover lost 2-1 at Augsburg to fall into the drop zone playoff while Alfredo Morales and Fortuna Dusseldorf are in a tie with Stuttgart for last place following another loss, this time to Wolfsburg. Morales and Fortuna Dusseldorf have now been outscored 15-1 over their last four games.

That brings us to three of the more talked about American players in Europe so far this season. Nothing was horrible for these three but nothing as great either.

Christian Pulisic starts most of the time for Borussia Dortmund, but not always. Over the weekend he came off the bench with Borussia Dortmund up 2-1 on Hertha Berlin. Unfortunately for the Hershey native, Hertha equalized late.

Weston McKennie started and went the distance for Schalke in a very dull scoreless draw against RB Leipzig. Schalke still has just two wins on the season.

Finally, Jonathan Amon had his moments for FC Nordsjaelland in a 3-3 draw against Horsens but neither scored nor assisted as FCN dropped to ninth place.

All in all, the once promising season for Americans in Europe has certainly hit a rough spot. 

The good news is that it should gradually get better. Pulisic and McKennie are talented enough to start and win. Josh Sargent's debut is only a matter of time and Tyler Adams will be heading over next year. Cameron Carter-Vickers is not in a great situation but is a good upper-Championship caliber defender. Erik Palmer-Brown just needs a consistent run of games. 

Miazga’s position at FC Nantes

Matt Miazga, 23, has been in tough spots in his career before and so far he has worked his way out of it each time. When he moved to Chelsea, he made a few first team appearances but mostly played with the reserve team.

At Vitesse, he gradually had to work his way back into the starting lineup a few times before he was considered a mainstay.

At Nantes, he is currently on the outside looking in. The club recently made a coaching change earlier in this month and brought in Vahid Halilhodži?. Miazga, along with the whole team, had a bad game in a 3-0 loss Bordeaux. Miazga then left for 10 days for the international window while Halilhodži? began working with other players. When he came back, he was suspended for yellow cards, the club kept winning, and now Miazga has to earn his spot back.

It never good when these things happen but Miazga has typically worked his way back into good graces in the past.

Wooten shines for Sandhausen

Andrew Wooten, 29, has just one cap for the U.S. national team and that is likely all he will have on that front with the national team. At times, however, he was and still is a very good 2.Bundesliga attacker – either at forward or out on the wing.

On Saturday, he was probably the best player in the 2.Bundesliga for the weekend when he scored two goals and added an assist for Sandhausen in a 3-3 draw away at Paderborn.

Gooch lifting Sunderland

Lynden Gooch is not playing in a great league right now in League One. He is capable of a lot more. But still there is no denying that the responsibility he has right now is extremely high. Sunderland is not your typical League One team. It is a huge club in size and stature. It rivals most of the Championship clubs and some Premier League clubs as well.

So imagine being one of the leaders asked to bring the club back to good standing? That’s a lot for Gooch and he’s doing extremely well this year with that weight on his shoulders.

On Saturday he picked up an assist in a 3-0 win against Southend United. It is the club’s fourth win in a row and it currently sits in third place. Gooch now has three goals and six assists on the season – where he is playing both wing and right wingback.

Hoyos continues to score

Michael Hoyos, 27, recently spoke with ASN last week about his career revival after a serious car crash. At the time he was a rising star with Argentina’s youth national teams (for which he had dual nationality), and Estudiantes de la Plata in Argentina’s top flight.

In the interview, Hoyos said that his career revival in Ecuador with Guayaquil City has come at a good time and he would be interested in a return home to play in MLS – and he also insists he does not give up the dream of switching to play for the United States national team should the next coach be interested in his services.

Over the weekend he scored his third goal in four games and his eighth of the season. On the play he drew and converted a penalty.

As a tall, powerful winger who likes to cut into the middle of the field, you can think of a few teams in the league who should be interested.

Brooks and Wolfsburg rebound

American central defenders in Europe have not had a good showing as of late. John Brooks, however, helped Wolfsburg return to its winning ways with a convincing away win over a poor Fortuna Dusseldorf team.

Brooks had a quiet but comfortable game and was credited with three clearances and an 87% pass completion rate over 90 minutes.

After a six game winless skid, it was a very important outing for both Brooks and the club to stop the bleeding.

Post a comment