Brooks and Hertha Berlin Fall Short, Yedlin Delivers
May 10, 2016
THIS WAS A WEEKEND of consequence for Americans abroad, many of whom were involved in pressure-filled games and some of whom delivered. And when it was over, one teenager walked away with a very nice piece of silverware.
Here are the top stories.
Yedlin delivers a big-time assist
Sunderland has made a habit of making late pushes to avoid relegation in recent years, and if it is successful again this season, DeAndre Yedlin will have played a solid role.
Yedlin, who has gradually improved his game since assuming the starting right back job in the season’s final three months, had a mixed first half Saturday at home against Chelsea but came to life in the second, his service helping to set up Jermaine Defoe’s 70th-minute winner. The former Sounder made a very nice move to get into a good position to send in the cross, which was well hit albeit aided by a deflection from a Chelsea defender.
Next up for Sunderland will be a home game Wednesday against Everton before it closes out the season Sunday at Watford.
Palmer-Brown wins a title
Erik Palmer-Brown may not have gained as much attention as other teenage American players overseas, but he now has some silverware they don’t: With a 3-1 win Sunday over Benfica B, Palmer-Brown and Porto B won Portugal’s Segunda Liga.
Aside from a brief time away with a hamstring injury, Palmer-Brown has been a consistent starter for Porto B in central defense since joining on a yearlong loan in January. To make it even more impressive, he’s also been one of the youngest players on the team.
Porto B is ineligible for promotion to Portugal’s top flight because clubs are barred from having two teams in the same league, but winning the title is nonetheless an impressive feat. In fact, it is the first time since 1983 that a European club’s reserve team had won a title in the second division; that year, it was accomplished by Real Madrid’s second team.
At this point, it would hardly be surprising to see Porto make an effort to purchase Palmer-Brown outright from Sporting Kansas City and MLS.
A meltdown for Brooks and Hertha
It was only back in March when it looked as if Hertha Berlin was destined to secure one of the Bundesliga spots for the Champions League. But this team completely shut down in April, and it managed just a single point in the six games since.
Even with that horrible run, though, Hertha still had a chance to get back into the Champions League picture against Darmstadt at home on Saturday. Instead, it inexplicably lost 2-1 for its fourth straight defeat.
To make matters worse, Brooks and Hertha are now in a dogfight for their Europa League lives. The club likely needs to win on the road in its season finale Saturday against Mainz just to earn a spot in the second-tier continental competition.
Brooks, who has battled injury problems during the team’s skid but went a full 90 on Saturday, has had a great season, but if Hertha does not qualify for Europe, much of it will go to waste.
Schoenfeld nets hat trick
It’s rare that an American nets a hat trick in any league, foreign or domestic, but Aaron Schoenfeld, 26, did just that in the Israeli Premier League on Saturday for Hapoel Tel Aviv in a 4-2 win over Bnei Yehuda.
The former Columbus Crew forward has been stellar since landing in Israel in January (at first for Maccabi Netanya, before making another transfer weeks later). In just 761 minutes for Hapoel Tel Aviv, a number that includes nine starts and two substitute appearances, Schoenfeld has scored eight goals; he has five in his past three games alone.
With numbers like this, the Knoxville native might be in a good shape for another move sooner than later.
Horvath sees red
Not everything was rosy this weekend for Americans in Europe, though some things were red.
Young goalkeeper Ethan Horvath, who was named to Jurgen Klinsmann’s preliminary Copa America roster last week, was given a straight red card and conceded a penalty for Molde in a 3-3 draw against Haugesund in Norway.
Bradley, Le Havre likely to come up short
Bob Bradley’s quest to become the first American manager of a top-flight club in a major European league will likely have to wait at least one more year.
On Friday, Bradley and Le Havre posted a solid 3-1 win at Auxerre, but with Metz also winning, Le Havre will remain in fourth place and out of the Ligue 2 promotion spots. Le Havre trails Metz by three points for third place, but even if it pulls level with Metz on points, it must also make up a six-goal differential.
A Bradley-coached team needing to make up three points and a six-goal differential in one game? U.S. national team fans will fondly recall a team doing just that in one of the greatest days in the history of U.S. Soccer, when the U.S. overtook Italy at the 2009 Confederations Cup after defeating Egypt 3-0 combined with Italy losing to Brazil 3-0.
If Bradley could pull that off again, it would be a miracle.
Chandler, Frankfurt defeat Dortmund
Eintracht Frankfurt came into Saturday’s game against second-place Borussia Dortmund in the relegation zone and in desperate need of a win. Timothy Chandler had been injured but was on the bench to start this game; Christian Pulisic was on the bench for Dortmund.
With Frankfurt leading by a goal, Chandler entered the game in the 59th and Pulisic in the 65th. And while Pulisic had some impressive moments, the game was far more important for Chandler, who delivered a nice performance in his 31 minutes to help see out a 1-0 win.
Chandler is one of the most up-and-down American players in recent memory, both in terms of his quality and in terms of his commitment to the national team. This showing, though, could not have come at a better time for both club and country, putting Eintracht Frankfurt a point out of the relegation zone heading into Saturday’s season finale—and perhaps putting Chandler back into the U.S. picture heading into Copa America.