Boyd Gets His Bundesliga Goal, Zelalem Scores Too
February 13, 2017
Boyd opens Bundesliga account
The best story from Americans abroad over the weekend came from Terrence Boyd who scored his first Bundesliga goal for last-place Darmstadt in a stunning 2-1 upset over Borussia Dortmund on Saturday.
Boyd, who will turn 26 this week, has missed most of the past two years with ACL injuries (and related complications) but his transfer in January to Darmstadt on an 18-month deal has led to some desperately needed playing time. Darmstadt has been awful this year, losing its last two games by a combined 8-1 score line, and it appears headed for certain relegation.
But Darmstadt came out swinging against a flat Dortmund side on Saturday and was clearly the better team. Boyd’s 21st-minute goal proved emotional as it came against his former club and it marked his return from the lengthy injury. The Berlin-born Boyd was solid the whole game, and did yeoman work holding up the ball, before coming out in the 59th minute.
Darmstadt remains in last place and four points out of a playoff to avoid relegation but if it can repeat the performance it put in against Dortmund, perhaps it will have a chance to stay up.
Up and down weekend in Germany
Boyd’s triumph came at the expense of Christian Pulisic who started for Dortmund. The 18-year-old had his moments but was generally flat—along with the entire Dortmund team.
Timothy Chandler and Eintracht Frankfurt began the weekend in third place in the Bundesliga but were soundly beaten by Bayer Leverkusen 3-0. Chandler had some nice crosses in the game (one in particular should have produced a goal) but he was also caught napping on Chicharito’s opener for Leverkusen.
Bobby Wood and Hamburg pulled off a huge 3-0 upset on the road over second place RB Leipzig. It was a mixed weekend for the Hawaiian native. To his credit, Wood helped earn two corners that resulted in goals but his performance was overall a step down from where it was in the previous few weeks—most likely because opponents are now marking him tightly. Still, his touch let him down a few times in the second half and he only managed 37 touches in the game.
John Brooks also had a disappointing game for Hertha Berlin, which fell to Schalke 2-0 at home. Brooks went 120 minutes midweek in a Cup loss to Dortmund so fatigue might have been an issue but he was at fault for Leon Goretzka’s second goal.
Fabian Johnson was effective for Borussia Monchengladbach in a narrow 1-0 away win over Werder Bremen. Playing in the left midfield, he completed nearly 75% of his passes in a full 90-minute effort. After being in a dangerous position in the winter break, Monchengladbach has now crept back into the top 10 of the Bundesliga with three straight wins.
The news in the game was not nearly as good for Aron Johannsson, however, as he subbed on in the second half and could not get either of his two shots on frame. His confidence is low at the moment.
Finally, Alfredo Morales and Ingolstadt still sit in the relegation zone of the Bundesliga following a 2-0 loss at home to reigning champions Bayern Munich. At first it appeared as if the Bavarian hosts were going to pull off a draw but Bayern scored twice late to win it. Morales went a full 90 in the loss, mostly trying to shield the backline.
Yanks in Premier League promotion battle
These days the best Americans abroad action is in Germany but the promotional race in the English Championship has a pretty heavy American flavor to it right now.
DeAndre Yedlin continues to both start and play well for Newcastle United, which defeated Wolverhamption 1-0 on the road Sunday. That win moved Newcastle back into first place in the Championship, one point ahead of Bright & Hove Albion. Newcastle's cushion on an automatic top two promotional spot, however, is seven points. In the win, Yedlin’s 65 touches led all Newcastle players.
Elsewhere in the Championship, Huddersfield Town now sits in third place following a 1-0 road win over Queens Park Rangers on Saturday—its fourth league in win a row. Former United States international David Wagner is sure to be in the conversation for Championship manager of the year as many preseason predictions figured the club to be closer to a relegation fight than a promotional battle. As of now, the club is looking ikely to finish in the promotional playoff spots that go to places three through six.
Another American who is likely to be in the promotional playoffs is Danny Williams who starts every game for Reading. On Saturday, Reading played to a scoreless draw with Barnsley and finds itself in fourth place in the Championship. Williams has long wanted a chance to play in the Premier League and with a bit of good fortune he could get his chance.
Zelalem scores, Miazga gets his chance
Desevio Payne took over the starting right back position for Groningen (which lost to leaders Feyenoord on Saturday) but now there could be more American-flavored activity in the Netherlands.
Matt Miazga has been playing off the bench mostly during his loan to Vitesse but on Saturday he came into the game in the 36th minute after a knee injury to starting central defender Maikel van der Werff. While Vitesse eventually conceded two late goals to fall 2-0 to Willem II, Miazga was not at fault on either.
On Monday, Vitesse announced van der Werff will miss the next several weeks due to the injury. This will open the door for Miazga and it will be an important opportunity for him. The window won’t stay open long for him to make a solid impression. Like his former U.S. U-20 teammate Emerson Hyndman did on his loan to Rangers, Miazga will have to play well immediately.
Meanwhile, Gedion Zelalem scored his first-ever professional goal on Friday as VVV Venlo defeated Helmund Sport 7-0 to continue its strong standing atop the second tier of the Dutch pyramid. The goal is obviously good news but the problem for Zelalem is that the score was 6-0 when he came on in the second half and he simply provided the extra point. He needs to play even better to earn a starting job because even a late goal is unlikely to move him ahead of the starters who built the 6-0 lead.
Gatt heading home?
On Friday the St. Paul Tribune reported that Joshua Gatt is on the verge of returning stateside to sign with Minnesota United for its debut season in MLS.
Minnesota is lacking the star-studded approach utilized by fellow expansion team Atlanta United and Gatt does provide for some risk after missing most of the past three years with three ACL injuries. It was tough for Gatt to find clubs in Europe willing to take a chance on him but it now looks like he will have an opportunity to rebuild his career in MLS. If he can showcase his speed here, he could be a big signing for Minnesota because the league lacks wingers with significant pace.