Americans Abroad update
Gonzalez strong in Mexican final, Klinsmann debuts
December 09, 2017
While weekend usually bring the most newsworthy updates, this past midweek was fairly eventful for Americans abroad as the players featured in both the Europa League and Liga MX final. But elsewhere, there were other important stories to go around.
Gonzalez helps Monterrey to key draw
Jonathan Gonzalez, 18, has been the breakout American player of the year in 2017. Now he is looking to end it with silverware.
On Thursday night, Gonzalez started for Monterrey in the first leg of the Liga MX final. It was a massive stage for the California native as Monterrey visited cross-town rival Tigres in about as intense an environment as possible.
Monterrey scored first on a goalkeeping error off a corner kick but Tigres equalized before halftime on a penalty. In the second half, Monterrey was able to hang on for a 1-1 draw - which is a very strong result heading into the second leg at home this Sunday.
Gonzalez was very strong in the game playing in a deep midfield position. Defensively he helped limit the Tigres attack up the middle of the field. In possession he made smart passes and very few mistakes.
U.S. Soccer has been boosting his profile lately after nominating Gonzalez for its Young Male Player of the Year earlier this week and running a profile on Thursday. Mexico very much wants Gonzalez to switch his allegiance to El Tri, but if U.S. Soccer can convince him to stay (after representing the U.S. internationally from the U-14 level), Gonzalez could emerge as an important player for the Stars and Stripes.
Klinsmann debuts for Hertha
Following a run to the quarterfinals of the 2017 U-20 World Cup, many of the players on the U.S. team used the tournament to springboard their careers. Erik Palmer-Brown signed for Manchester City, Luca de la Torre is now on the first team at Fulham, Cameron Carter-Vickers is finally playing regularly for Sheffield United, Tyler Adams was promoted to the full national team, and Josh Sargent signed for Werder Bremen.
Now you can add goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann to that list. The son of the former German great and U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann, Jonathan Klinsmann signed for Hertha Berlin over the summer where he was expected to play with the club’s reserve team.
On Thursday, however, the California native made his first team debut with Hertha in the group stage finale of the Europa League against Sweden’s Oestersunds FK. It was a relatively low-pressure environment as Hertha was already eliminated from advancing to the knockout stages and both of the first two goalkeepers were unavailable to play due to injury and illness.
But Klinsmann performed well in what ended a 1-1 draw. His highlight came in the 87th minute when Oestersunds was awarded a penalty and Klinsmann stopped Brwa Nouri.
“At the time I was just nervous,” Klinsmann said after learning he was going to start. “It was a couple days before the game and you start overthinking it. I didn't know what to think. I called my dad and told him. He calmed me down a little bit. After that I was good, I was fine.”
“We didn't go over the penalties until right before the game,” he added. “It wasn't a thing that we thought would happen but you have to prepare for the worst. You saw the little dots as to where he missed and where he made it for the different players. I told myself that most of these players go left. You have a feeling they're going left, I told myself you have to go 100% to that corner. It worked.”
Parks extends Benfica contract
American central midfielder Keaton Parks, 20, has impressed this season for Benfica B in Portugal’s second tier. He joined the club this past summer after a falling out with his previous club Varzim.
After 751 minutes for Benfica B with two goals in the Segunda, Parks made his debut with Benfica’s first team in a cup match where he came off the bench in the 69th minute and help create a goal in a 2-0 win over Vitoria Setubal.
All indications point to Parks being on a solid path at Benfica and club announced this week it has extended the Texan’s contract through 2022.
Gonazlez and Pachuca arrive in Abu Dhabi
Omar Gonzalez, 29, had a brutal year for the U.S. national team where he was responsible for key goals that cost the team a birth in the 2018 World Cup. But on the club level, Gonzalez has been very successful as he has been for most of his career.
After winning the CONCACAF Champions League this year, Pachcua will participate in the Club World Cup in the United Arab Emirates this month. Its first game will take place tomorrow against Wydad Casablanca in Abu Dhabi and Gonzalez is expected to start. If it wins, it will then take on Brazil’s Gremio in the semifinal.
Many years from now when the dust has settled from the recent national team mess, history will show a very nice and decorated career for Gonzalez. He has won an NCAA title with Maryland, three MLS Cups, one Liga MX title, one CONCACAF Champions League, two Gold Cups, one first place in a Hexagonal, and he has started in a knockout game at the World Cup. Now he will have a chance to make a run at the Club World Cup.
Geoff Cameron, 32, has been sidelined since October 21 due to a concussion but the Massachusetts native will finally be able to play this weekend when Stoke City travel to London to face Tottenham on Saturday. The Premier League is entering into a very busy period and Mark Hughes will no doubt be happy to have Cameron back in action.
Stoke City is in its typical midtable position, currently in 13th place.