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Americans abroad

Parks and Weah earn minutes, Iloski debuts, and much more

There was so much news from Americans abroad this weekend it was tough to figure out where to start. Pulisic had an assist, Parks and Weah made strides at huge clubs, Iloski made his debut Ream is leading Fulham into the promotional hunt, Enochs landed a head coaching job, Donovan retured to Azteac. There's a lot of news to cover. 
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
March 12, 2018
11:00 AM
There was a lot to like this weekend from Americans abroad as a pair of young players continue to make strides at huge clubs while there were more debuts, and players in hunts for promotion and championships.

Parks and Weah make strides

Over the weekend it was refreshing for American fans to see a pair of young players earn first team minutes at two of the biggest clubs in Europe. On Saturday, Keaon Parks played the final seven minutes for Benfica in its 2-0 win over Aves. The Portuguese giants are in second place but chasing leaders Porto by two points.

Also on Saturday, Tim Weah played the final 20 minutes for Paris St. Germain in a 5-0 rout over last place Metz.

Both Americans played well in limited action. Parks, 20, looked comfortable in central midfield with Benflca in an important game that will factor into a title run. Tim Weah came on and had another very good chance on goal which was saved.

It is a great achievement for both players as earning first team minutes of clubs of this caliber is very hard to do. Both players are entering into an awkward period of their careers. Parks and Weah are both too good for reserve team soccer, but can they earn the first team minutes that they need to develop.

Either way, it would hardly be surprising to see both Parks and Weah make their way onto the national team in 2018 and factor heavily into preparations for the Olympic team. U.S. interim head coach Dave Sarachan said that 2018 was a year for giving new players a chance.

Parks and Weah clearly deserve it.

Another “Pulassist”

With Borussia Dortmund and Eitracht Frankfurt level at 1-1 in an important Bundesliga game between two teams vying for a Champions League spot, Christian Pulisic assisted on Michy Batshuayi’s go-head goal. Dortmund would eventually win the game 3-2.

The American teenager had occasionally had off-games the past six weeks but he rebounds very quickly with impressive moments. In this game he was dangerous throughout the 90 minutes.

Ream & Fulham continues magical run

On Saturday, Fulham defeated Preston North End 2-1 on the road with a stoppage time winner. American Tim Ream continued to excel in central defense. He was recently nominated for the Championship’s Player of the Month award.

How good is Fulham’s run? With the win, the Cottagers extended their unbeaten run to 15 games and have accumulated 39 out of a possible 45 points in that span. The London club now sits in fourth but if it keeps up its run could push for automatic promotion.

Villafana and Santos remain in first

Quietly, Jorge Villafana is putting together an excellent season so far in Liga MX in 2018. On Sunday, Villafana and Santos Lagua defeated Monterrey 3-2 for its third straight win. With the win, Santos Laguna sits in first place and is two points clear of second place Club America.

Villafana, 26, meanwhile is looking like a steady presence at left back as Santos is poised to make a push for the Clausura title.

Iloski make Legia debut

On Sunday, American midfielder Brian Iloski, 22, made his professional debut for Polish giants Legia Warsaw with a late-game sub in a 3-1 win over Lechia Gdansk. With the win, Legia moved past Jagiellonia Bialystok and into first place on goal differential.

After a disappointing MLS Draft where he fell to the fourth round, Iloski is now playing for Poland’s biggest team and in a push for the Champions League. To read more about his story, ASN did a feature on him last week.

Donovan returns to Azteca

Landon Donovan, 36, made a return to Estadio Azteca and played the final 15 minutes for Club Leon in a 2-0 loss to Club America. The big takeaway was the reaction he received for his part in the United States – Mexico rivalry.

Enochs gets a new job

Since 1996, the only club that Sacramento native Joe Enochs has known was VfL Osnabruck. As a player, academy coach, front office official, and head coach, he had a long-standing relationship where he became a club legend with a section of the stadium named after him. That ended last year when he was fired.

Now Enochs will have a new job starting this summer when he will take over as head coach of German 3.Liga team FSV Zwickau.

Enochs is not the only American head coach in Europe as Huddersfield’s David Wagner and Cork City’s John Caulfield also hold the post. But Enochs is the only American head coach in Europe who was born and raised in the United States.

Noteworthy appearances elsewhere

Among those likely to be part of the national team in the years ahead, there was good news. DeAndre Yedlin and Newcastle posted a clean sheet with a 3-0 win over Southampton. The American right back was steady over the course of 90 minutes as Newcastle pushed into midtable.

Also in England, fellow U.S. international defender Cameron Carter-Vickers and Ipswich Town posted a clean sheet in a 0-0 draw against Sheffield United. For Carter-Vickers, it was rewarding to have a solid performance given he played with Sheffield United from August through January but fell out of favor. Ipswich Town has yet to conceded more than one goal in any game since Carter-Vickers joined at the end of January. 

Kenny Saief and Anderlecht won their third straight with a 3-1 victory over Antwerp to move into second place in Belgium and push for a Europa League spot.

Weekend to forget for some

There were many who were not celebrating this weekend. Matt Miazga and Vitesse fell to Utrecht by a lopsided 5-1 scoreline. Bobby Wood was not in the 18 for Hamburg and youngster Haji Wright’s loan to Sandhausen has continued to go poorly as the Californian is no longer making the bench.

Emerson Hyndman and Ethan Horvath, both veterans of the 2015 U.S. U-20 cycle, are not making the bench for Bournemouth and Club Brugge respectively. In Mexico, Alejandro Guido was sent off and Rubio Rubin was ineffective for Tijuana in a 2-0 loss to Tigres.

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