72616_isi_hyndmanemerson_usmntjd05191662 John Dorton/isiphotos.com
Americans Abroad

Hyndman's Injury, Zelalem's Tour, & Dwyer's Decision

From the English Premier League to the German Bundesliga to Israeli top flight, American soccer players are making their presence felt as overseas leagues begin to ramp up for 2016-17.
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
July 26, 2016
7:25 PM

THE PRESEASON ROLLS ON throughout most of Europe and from an American perspective some of the news is good and some is not. Gedion Zelalem and Julian Green are on stateside tours with their clubs while other players are in tough competitions for playing time.

Here is my latest run down of the top news stories in preseason—with another update coming later in the week.

Emerson Hyndman injured

Former U.S. U-20 captain Emerson Hyndman made waves recently with an offseason Premier League move to AFC Bournemouth. His preseason, however, took an unfortunate turn when he injured his ankle during a preseason tour of the United States.

This injury will keep the Texas native out of action approximately two-to-three weeks, which is a huge chunk of preseason and will make it tougher for Hyndman to establish himself within the squad. While hardly an ideal scenario, the club seem high on Hyndman so over time he should be fine.

"He is very good technically and played for Fulham at the end of last season, where he did very well for them after getting his breakthrough," Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe said in late June. "He is a player of huge potential who we see coming in and developing under us and, hopefully, having a big future with the club."

Timothy Chandler has competition

Timothy Chandler’s time at Eintracht Frankfurt has been up and down. He joined the club following Nurnberg’s relegation in 2014 and since then has seen erratic playing time. The German-born American has had three coaches in two years and his playing time has depended heavily on who the manager has been. Armin Veh seemed to dislike Chandler and his involvement with the U.S. national team, and as a result the fullback was benched. When Veh was sacked in March, Chandler saw the field immediately under Niko Kovac.

Chandler, however, has a big problem now as Manchester United right back Guillermo Varela has joined Eintracht on loan. The Uruguayan international is going to provide tough competition for Chandler—which could force the enigmatic player to raise his game or it could result in time on the bench.

Green’s evolving situation at Bayern

Julian Green has been playing quite a bit with Bayern Munich’s first team this preseason. While enthusiasm should be tempered a bit since Bayern was giving an extended break to players who participated in the European Championships, it was nevertheless encouraging to see Green earn minutes and perform well.

Green is now with Bayern on its United States preseason tour and will have the chance to further impress new head coach Carlo Ancelotti. Green, 21, is determined to play for Bayern which was his favorite team since childhood.

Fortunately for Green, he will no longer play for Bayern’s U-23 team, which he did in 2013-14 and last year (with an ill-fated loan to Hamburg in between). Green, reportedly, told German media he won’t be going back so it seems like it is either first team or bust at Bayern now.

That's good news because Green desperately needs stability in his career. He needs to have a realistic shot at first-team soccer. If he succeeds at Bayern, then it will be a remarkable achievement. If not, he can move on and seek it elsewhere—which would be fine as there are countless players not quite good enough for Bayern.

Schoenfeld stock soaring

Aaron Schoenfeld's narrative is fun to track. The Tennessee native could not see the field for Columbus Crew SC but moved to Israel in January 2016 to play for Maccabi Netanya, followed by a quick transfer to Haopel Tel Aviv. It was there that Shoenfeld, 26, went on an impressive run, scoring eight goals in 12 games and gaining notoriety throughout Israel in the process.

Now Isreali media is reporting that Schoenfeld is receiving substantial interest from Hapoel’s arch-rival, Maccabi Tel Aviv. According to Sport One, Maccabi has offered Hapoel a transfer bid of €1.5 million and a salary increase to €400,000. It is a huge amount for an Israeli team and it would move Schoenfeld to one of the biggest teams in the league (and one that is currently after D.C. United and U.S. national team central defender Steve Birnbaum).

The problem with the move is that Schoenfeld has a clause in his contract with Hapoel which specifically prohibits a transfer to Maccabi Tel Aviv. A source with knowledge of the situation said that such a clause makes a move to Maccabi as “unlikely” but not impossible.

Whether it happens or not, it shows that Schoenfeld is considered a prized commodity in Israeli. If Maccabi Tel Aviv is interested, other teams are also likely to be interested as well.

Johnsen moves to Hearts

Bjorn Maars Johnsen, 24, has finally found a new club after spending the past six months at a Bulgarian team that was suspended from league play after a coach refused to allow his team to play for security concerns.

The New York-born, North Carolina raised Johnsen will now join Perry Kitchen at Hearts in the Scottish Premier League. The Scottish league has been on the decline for more than a decade and recent results in Europe have been abysmal. Still, Johnsen will finally have a home.

His six-foot-five frame is a valuable asset for any team that is looking for a target forward and it will be interesting to see how he does in Scotland.

Zelalem staying at Arsenal for now

While Arsenal shipped out a number of youngsters on loan, Gedion Zelaem is not one of them—yet. The American teenager, who might feature for the U.S. at the U-20 World Cup next summer, is still training with Arsenal’s first team and will be part of the team’s trip to the United States which will include an appearance at the MLS All-Star game.

A loan is still a strong possibility for Zelalem at some point this summer but the fact that he is remaining with the club for a longer period in the preseason is a favorable indication as to where he stands right now.

Will Dom Dwyer leave MLS?

Over the weekend Goal.com reported that Greek champions Olympiacos recently made a bid for forward Dom Dwyer but the offer was rejected by Sporting Kansas City. Peter Vermes touched upon this on Monday.

“There’s a lot of different moving parts in these deals—both for the club and the player,” Vermes told the Kansas City Star. “Everybody has to be comfortable with that. I would say right now, we’re not [comfortable]—neither of us are."

As it appears Fabian Castillo is set to part ways and head to Turkey, MLS is facing a battle to retain a few of its key players. What is a likely scenario, however, is that even if Dwyer leaves Sporting can make a run at MLS Cup.

Dwyer, 25, is also married to U.S. women’s national team star Sydney Leroux and the two are expecting their first child in September. Dwyer is not an American citizen but could become one as early as February.

As the U.S. national team is searching for forwards, Dwyer could factor into the equation within the months ahead. Would a move abroad disrupt his citizenship process? What is best for his national team chances?

This is a situation worth following.

Stanko heads to Liechtenstein

Caleb Stanko, the 2013 U.S. U-20 World Cup midfielder, is now in a position to earn regular first-team minutes in Europe.
On his 23rd birthday, Stanko was told that he was going on loan to FC Vaduz, a Liechtenstein-based club which plays in the Swiss Super League. Last season, the club avoided relegation and finished in eighth place in the 10-team league.
The Michigan native has a good chance at being the team's starting defensive midfielder and he could make his debut this Sunday in a home game against defending Super League champions Basel. The Super League is set to enter its second round of the season and Vaduz drew its opener 1-1 on the road against Thun.

A.J. Soares lands at AGF Aarhus

Former New England Revolution central defender A.J. Soares left recently left Viking in Norway and today Danish Superliga club AGF Aarhus announced it had signed the Solana Beach, Calif., native.

Soares, 27, was a regular for Viking but the Danish Superliga is a step up from Norway. It will be interesting to see if Soares receives immediate playing time at Aarhus—a club that has won its first two games of the season.
“We have been looking for a tactically wise, prudent, and character-strong defender, and we have found that with AJ. .Soares,” said AGF Aarhus Sporting Director Jens Andersson. “He complements our other central defenders really well and fits well into our style of play. He comes with solid experience of Scandinavian football, and therefore we expect that he will relatively quickly fall into the squad and can compete for a starting place.”

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