News analysis

Matarazzo wins Stuttgart debut, Miazga out, CCV & maybe Wood on the move

Pellegrino Matarazzo is one of the best stories in Americans abroad right now as his meteoric rise as a coach now his leading a Stuttgart team looking for promotion - and the NJ native won his debut on Wednesday. Also of note, Matt Miazga is injured, Cameron Carter-Vickers is on the move, and Bobby Wood could move stateside. 
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
January 30, 2020
9:55 AM
THERE WEREN’T any major stories to break this midweek but there were some American making news on and off the field – with the best story coming in Germany which saw the managerial career of a New Jersey born and raised man take off.

Here is a rundown

Matarazzo wins Stuttgart debut

One of the best stories right now in the world of Americans abroad is the rise of Pellegrino Matarazzo in Germany. Born and raised in New Jersey, a graduate of Columbia University, Matarazzo has gradually climbed through the coaching ranks in Germany. While he was mostly at youth levels, his breakthrough came when he was the assistant coach at Hoffenheim under Julian Nagelsmann. Then when VfB Stuttgart fired its manager, Tim Walter, in December, they turned to the American to take over.

It’s no easy assignment for Matarazzo either in his first job as a first-team coach. Stuttgart is one of Germany’s biggest teams but has struggled in recent years and is now in the second tier. Still, when Matarazzo took over, it was in contention for promotion while sitting in third place.

On Wednesday, Matarazzo coached his first game for Stuttgart and it was a roaring success with his team coming away with a resounding 3-0 win over Heidenheim in front of 52,000 fans at Mercedes Benz Arena.

If Matarazzo can help guide his team to promotion, he could emerge as the first American manager (who was born and raised in the United States) to manage in the Bundesliga. It should be an exciting campaign for him as Stuttgart moved into second place with the win, three points ahead of Hamburg (which has played one fewer game and has a much superior goal differential).

Next up is a visit to St. Pauli on Saturday.

Holmes assists to Rooney

There was good news and bad news for U.S. national team hopeful Duane Holmes this week. The first is that the Georgia-born Holmes assisted on Wayne Rooney’s first ever goal for Derby County on Tuesday. That goal gave Derby a 1-0 lead over Luton Town in the 63rd minute and Holmes made a very nice play to set the goal up.

The bad news is that Holmes went 79 minutes and lost the game 3-2. Luton Town’s winning goal came in the 86th minute via Derby own goal.

The loss to last-place Luton Town was a brutal result for Derby – which is sitting in 16th place and the season has been quite lackluster. It probably won’t face a serious threat of relegation but any kind of hope in sneaking into the promotional playoff races are probably gone.

Carter-Vickers loaned to Luton Town

After his loan to Stoke City was terminated in December, Cameron Carter-Vickers returned to Tottenham awaiting another loan. That loan finally came to fruition on Thursday when it was announced that the U.S. U-23 central defender would join Luton Town on loan for the remainder of the season. Despite Luton Town’s win over Duane Holmes and Derby, the club remains in last place in the Championship.

For Carter-Vickers, 22, he has been signed to Tottenham but this will be his fifth different loan to a Championship club.

It remains to be seen if Carter-Vickers will factor into the U.S. U-23 team in March or if Luton Town, a team in a desperate situation, would even release him for Olympic qualifying.

While this loan will keep Carter-Vickers on the field, what is best for his development at this point is that he soon finds a club that is invested in him and signs him on a permanent deal.

Polster earns Rangers start

Matt Polster, 26, earned his first start for Rangers in a Scottish Premier League game on Wednesday against Ross County and it was his first league start for any club since March 22, 2018 (he made two other starts for Rangers – one in a Europa League qualifier and one in a Scottish League Cup). But this was certainly a big opportunity.

But Polster overall held up well in a 2-0 win over Ross County where he played the full 90 minutes and picked up a yellow card. He admitted after the game he was rusty but he also expressed satisfaction with his performance. He also indicated he believed he didn’t hurt his chances to start this weekend at home against Aberdeen.

With the win, Rangers remained in second place in the Scottish Premier League – trailing Celtic by five points but having played one fewer game than their rivals.

Miazga to miss “significant time”

The news wasn’t good at all for U.S. international Matt Miazga who was forced out of Reading’s 1-1 draw with Cardiff City in the 63rd minute with ankle injury. On Wednesday the club revealed that Miazga suffered a grade two tear of an ankle ligament and will miss “significant time.”

That is a major setback for Miazga, who is at Reading on loan from Chelsea. Will he return this season? Will he return to Reading next season on another loan or find another club? For the U.S. national team, will Miazga be back for June’s Nation’s League semifinals?

Where will Wood land?

One American who could be on the move soon is Bobby Wood. Early in the week, it appeared as if FC Cincinnati was going to be his landing spot. The club finished last in MLS’s Eastern Conference in 2019 but was looking to make signings that could lead to an improved 2020 season.

But then, reports out of Cincinnati on Thursday indicated that the transfer might have stalled as the club is looking at other forwards instead.

Wood, 27, is in a disastrous point in his career as he was part of Hamburg’s relegation from the Bundesliga in 2018 and then went on loan to Hannover which he also was part of a Bundesliga relegation in 2019. Now back with Hamburg, he rarely plays. When he does, it has gone poorly.

The Hawaii native is long overdue for a move but the problem with that has been his huge salary – reportedly 3 million Euros. Something looks close to happening as he is not in Hamburg’s lineup on Thursday.

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