Bruce Arena Gets an Eyeful in European Scouting Tour
December 05, 2016
JURGEN KLINSMANN HAD HIS FAVORITES. Like any coach, Bruce Arena will have his. With Arena, however, it is not yet clear who will emerge as candidates for World Cup qualifying, the Gold Cup, or the World Cup—should the Yanks make it that far.
Arena was in Germany over the weekend and probably saw a few things he liked and few that he didn't. But overall, it is probably a fresh slate for Americans abroad.
Bruce Arena in Germany
Hertha Berlin’s John Brooks is likely a starter on the U.S. team no matter who the coach is but the German-born Brooks put on a fine display in Saturday's 3-2 road win over Wolfsburg . His performance saw him named to Kicker Magazine’s team of the week for the second time this season. The win moved Hertha into third place in the Bundesliga.
Arena was on-hand to see Borussia Dortmund defeat Borussia Monchengladbach 4-1 on Saturday. Both Christian Pulisic and Fabian Johnson entered the game in the 78th minute with the score 4-1 and Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel offered to keep the young American’s hands warm when he came on.
Timothy Chandler had a decent game for Eintracht Frankfurt, going a full 90 in a 1-1 draw with Augsburg, and Bobby Wood came off the bench in the 72nd minute in Hamburg’s first win of the season—a 2-0 result over Darmstadt. Meanwhile, Aron Johannsson was an unused substitute for Werder Bremen.
It is unclear if Sandhausen’s Andrew Wooten is in Arena’s plans but the German-born forward is one of the hottest goal scorers in the 2.Bundesliga. On Saturday he scored his eighth goal of the season for Sandhausen in a 3-1 road win over Nurnberg.
Lichaj earns MOTM honors
In England’s second-tier Championship, Nottingham Forest’s Eric Lichaj earned Man of the Match honors for his performance in a 2-1 win over league leaders Newcastle and fellow American fullback DeAndre Yedlin.
Nottingham Forest were helped by the fact Newcastle were reduced to nine men by halftime. Despite that, itit was not an inspiring win for the hosts as it saw two penalties saved and only won the game on a late own goal.
Sky Sports saw Lichaj as the game’s best player which should only boost his confidence as he could sneak back into the team after Klinsmann did not seem to rate him.
Corona helps Dorados to title
An often-overlooked American player, Joe Corona had a very nice weekend as he went a full 90 for a Dorados side that won the Liga Ascenso’s Apertura season with a 1-0 win (4-2) aggregate. Corona, on load from Club Tijuana, was easily one of the best players for Dorados.
Dorados will secure promotion to Liga MX if it wins the Clausura or wins a playoff against the Clausura winner.
Williams sees red, Bradley Blasted
It wasn’t all good for Americans in Europe. On Saturday, Bob Bradley’s Swansea team was pounded by Tottenham 5-0 at White Hart Lane. The talent gap between the two teams was huge and Swansea could offer very little moving forward. The result is that Swansea is now dead last in the Premier League with just nine points from 14 games.
Bradley’s main goal is to somehow avoid relegation. The short-term priority has to be to keep this team within striking distance of safety heading into January. At that point he has to hope he can bring in the right players who will then need to adapt very quickly into his system. At that point, maybe Swansea can attempt a Sunderland-style escape.
Meanwhile in the Championship, with Reading trailing Fulham 2-0 Danny Williams saw a red card following a collision and Reading dropped an embarrassing 5-0 decision at Craven Cottage. Williams has had a nice season for Reading—which is still in third place in the Championship—but this was not a good moment. It is unclear if any additional suspension will be handed out but Williams is an important part of Reading’s success this year.
Ventura Alvarado re-emerges
Ventura Alvarado was one of the more interesting selections for Jurgen Klinsmann. He was a starting central defender at the 2015 Gold Cup despite falling out of favor at Club America. Eventually, Klinsmann stopped picking Alvarado as playing time was non-existent at Mexico City’s top club.
But this past week, it was announced that Santos Laguna had signed Alvarado for the start of the 2017 Clausura.
Still at Club America, Alvarado earned the start on Sunday for Club America’s second leg of its Liga MX semifinal against Necaxa. In the end, America scored in the 75th and 84th minutes of a 2-0 (3-1 aggregate) win at the Azteca.
It'shard to see Alvarado sneaking back into the U.S. national team picture anytime soon under Arena but it would be interesting if he earns the start in the finals, which begin December 21. It would be the second time he has started in a final. He first rose to Klinsmann’s attention in 2014 when he burst into America’s starting lineup for the playoffs and into the final—which America would win. He then started in the CONCACAF Champions League knockout stages which America would win over Montreal in the finals.