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Americans Abroad

Wood and Chandler Both Score; John Brooks Injured

The Bundesliga and the English Premier League both started up over the weekend, and several Yanks featured prominently. Also, Joe Corona and Jonathan Gonzalez looked good in Liga MX action. 
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
August 14, 2017
2:50 PM

MULTIPLE YANKS PLAYING OVERSEAS were involved in their first competitive games of 2017-18 over the last few days. This weekend had it all—good, bad, and ugly—and American soccer fans will have plenty of storylines to follow as Liga MX proceeds and the European season get underway.

Wood, HSV crash out of German Cup

U.S. national team forward Bobby Wood, 24, elected to sign a new deal with Hamburg over the summer, a decison that resulted in a better paycheck. Unfortunately for the Hawaii native, Hamburg do not look improved from the team that narrowly escaped relegation last season.

On Sunday Hamburg opened up its German Cup campaign against third-tier Osnabruck, a team coached by Sacramento native Joe Enochs. Wood drew a red card on Osnabruck’s Marcel Appiah in the 19th minute but Hamburg struggled badly despite being up a man for 70 minutes. Osnabruck scored three times—in the 39th, 61st, and 71st minutes.

Wood converted a penalty in the 74th for his first goal of the season but that tally could not prevent a humiliating 3-1 loss. Heading into the Bundesliga season, Hamburg confirmed suspicion that yet another relegation battle awaits the club.

Things certainly seem bleak at Hamburg these days. 

Brooks injured in Wolfsburg win

Bruce Arena is no doubt looking forward to having his first choice of players available for the September World Cup qualifiers but there is cause for concern now that one of his top players might not be available.

On Sunday Brooks started for Wolfsburg against Entracht Norderstedt—his competitive debut for the club after leaving Hertha Berlin on a record transfer for an American player. Wolfsburg was taking on Eintracht  in the first round of the German Cup and it gave John 

The U.S. international was forced out of the German Cup game in the 39th minute with what looked like a thigh injury.

Wolfsburg ended up winning 1-0 but the loss of Brooks is bad news for Wolfsburg and potentially worse for the U.S. national team. (Fellow central defender Omar Gonzalez may miss the September qualifiers with an injury.) Brooks is one of the most talented American players and if he can’t go in September, it will force Arena to dig deeper into his central defense pool.

The exact diagnosis on Brooks and a timetable for his return is expected soon from Wolfsburg.

Ream makes EFL Team of the Week

Fulham’s Tim Ream earned the start in central defense against Reading Saturday but his backline partner, Toma Kalas, was shown a red card in the first minute of the contest, forcing the U.S. international into anchoring a makeshift backline for 89 minutes.

Ream, 29, gave a very strong performance in a hard-fought 1-1 draw and his effort saw him named to the EFL Team of the Week.

With the recent injuries to Brooks and Gonzalez, Ream’s performance was a bright spot for Arena heading into the upcoming World Cup qualifiers. 

Wagner, Williams earn emotional win

Former U.S. international forward David Wagner led Huddersfield Town to the English Premier League last season and the coach opened the season well on Saturday with a 3-0 road win over Crystal Palace.

Wagner is already a legendary figure among Huddersfield fans but if he can avoid relegation, he’d become a deity.

The win also marked the Premier League debut for Danny Williams, who came off the bench in the 57th minute. Williams, 28, has often said his dream was to play in the Premier League and that has now become a reality. Normally a central midfielder, Williams slotted in at right back and produced a serviceable performance. 

After the game Wagner was asked how it felt being at the top of the Premier League table. The question made him laugh and reply, “I cannot take this question seriously.”

Gonzalez continues to shine

One of the most promising stories for young Americans abroad so far in 2017 is Jonathan Gonzalez who was the subject of a recent American Soccer Now feature. The Santa Rosa, Calif., native has become a starter with a very strong Monterrey team.

On Saturday the 18-year-old earned a start against Chivas de Guadalajara—a club that had expressed interest in the teenager in 2013—but Gonzalez turned down the offer because Chivas insits its players represent Mexico on the international stage.

Monterrey dominated en route to a 4-1 win and while Gonzalez was not flashy in a full 90-minue effort he was very effective in central midfield connecting passes and helping to maintain possession. Gonzalez clearly looked like he belonged in the starting lineup for one of the best teams in Liga MX. He was not in awe of the moment. 

Scott makes Chelsea bench

Longtime readers of American Soccer Now might recall a 2013 interview with Kyle Scott of the Chelsea academy ahead of him getting called up to a tournament with the U.S. U-18 team. Scott was born in England but holds American, Irish, and British passports. He has represented all three countries at the youth levels but his last involvement for any team at the international level was in 2015 when he played for the U.S. U-20 team at a camp in Serbia.

On Saturday, Scott, 19, was on the bench for Chelsea’s first game of the Premier League season as it began the defense of its 2016-17 title. Scott played with Chelsea’s first team during the preseason but the fact he is still in the picture for the team is somewhat surprising.

While it must have been an exciting time for Scott, it was a terrible day for Chelsea. The English powerhouse fell behind 2-0, saw two players sent off, and eventually lost 3-2.

Perhaps Scott will sneak into a match next week since Cesc Fabregas will be suspended. But with the transfer window still open, Scott's biggest challenge will be remaining in the first-team picture before the club can secure reinforcements.

Corona makes 200th Xolos appearance

Joe Corona has a long and eventful history with Club Tijuana. In 2010, Corona was the first youth team player to debut for the first team of Tijuana—which was founded in 2007. In 2011, he scored the goal that sent the club from the second tier to Liga MX. In 2012, he helped the club win the Liga MX Apertura title. Aside from a pair of loans in 2016, he has spent his entire career within the Tijuana organization.

The situation at Club Tijuana is not great right now after head coach Miguel Herrera left over the summer and was replaced by Eduardo Coudet. After losing its first three games of the Apertura without scoring a goal, Tijuana earned its first point of the season in a 1-1 draw with Puebla.

Corona, 27, started and played a full 90 in the game, marking his 200th appearance for the club. Few American players abroad have developed such a bond with a club. Steve Cherundolo did it with Hannover and Tim Howard did it with Everton, but Corona’s tie with Tijuana is right up there. 

Chandler scores in German Cup win

Timothy Chandler started off the first round of the German Cup in nice fashion as he scored the opening goal for Eintracht Frankfurt in a 3-0 win on the road over fifth-tier TuS Erndtebrueck. With that goal Chandler was named the Man of the Match.

Chandler, 27, started off last season well but struggled down the stretch along with just about everyone else on Eintracht Frankfurt. As for his national team involvement, it is hard to see where he stands under Arena as he is yet to play for the new U.S. boss. (Chandler was called up but withdrew from the team’s camp in May, citing personal reasons).

But a nice goal certainly helps.

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