Wood Scores Twice; Rubin Rehabs; a Salgado Sighting
March 08, 2016
THIS PAST WEEKEND may have been uneventful, but 2016 has been a revelation for Americans abroad after a very poor 2015. The good news continued as Rubio Rubin made huge steps in his recovery from a stress fracture and Perry Kitchen is closing in on a new home. Also, there was an Omar Salgado sighting in Colombia.
The usual stalwarts—Fabian Johnson at Borussia Monchengladbach, John Brooks at Hertha Berlin, Alejandro Bedoya at Nantes, Brad Guzan at Aston Villa, and Eric Lichaj at Nottingham Forest— all saw the field in losing causes. Meanwhile, Danny Williams, Emerson Hyndman, Timmy Chandler, Gedion Zelalem, Alfredo Morales, Tim Ream, and Tim Howard did not see the field either due to injuries, illnesses, or form.
Here's what the informed American soccer fan needs to know.
Bobby Wood closes in on record
Bobby Wood is one of the most in-form American players at the moment and on Friday he scored two goals in a 4-0 rout over FSV Frankfurt (which started American Shawn Barry in central defense).
Wood’s first goal came from the penalty spot to make the score 2-0—it was his first penalty attempt of the season.
His second strike came at the end of a smart run as he tapped home a rebound to give his club a 3-0 lead.Wood has scored seven goals in his last seven games and now has 12 this campaign. He is the third leading scorer in the 2.Bundesliga, trailing Conor Casey by just two goals for the American record for goals scored in any single season in Germany within the top two tiers.
Yedlin settles amid relegation fight
A relegation fight is often no place for a young player although DeAndre Yedlin is making the most of it after earning regular starts for Sunderland. After assisting on a late equalizing goal midweek against Crystal Palace, the Seattle native again went the distance on Saturday in a 1-1 draw against Sunderland. The two points moved Sunderland out of the relegation zone.
Overall, Yedlin did not stand out but defensively he was rarely caught out of position and did not make any drastic errors to prevent his team from accumulating valuable points. Yedlin will probably not be back with Sunderland after his loan expires after this season but the experience he is getting is first rate this year.
Prank Sidelines Grossman
In one of the most bizarre injuries you'll ever see, Stabaek midfielder Cole Grossman is set to miss the opener of the Norwegian season this weekend because of a stupid prank. In February, Grossman was set to do an on-camera interview and teammate Ohi Omoijuanfo decided it would be a funny idea to pull the chair out from behind Grossman as he sat down.
Grossman, 26, fell, hit his head on the ground, and sustained a concussion. Omoijuanfo said he tried to apologize but apparently Grossman refused to accept it and is still angry about the incident.
Stabaek is coming off a terrific season under the departed Bob Bradley and will participate in Europa League qualifiers. Grossman was a key player for Stabaek in 2015 and has found a nice career in Norway. This incident is unfortunately stupid and embarrassing for the organization. Hopefully Grossman recovers and Omoijuanfo receives some sort of punishment.
Rubin Impresses in Rehab Start
Rubio Rubin, 20, hasn’t played since October 3 but the Oregon native is nearing his return to Utrecht’s first team. On Monday, he earned the start for the youth team of FC Utrecht against Sparta Rotterdam and assisted on his team’s first goal and scored the third in a 7-2 win.
This is indeed welcome news for Rubin who could return to the first team in the weeks ahead. Could he also return to the U.S. U-23 team for the Olympic qualifiers against Colombia? It seems ambitious after a six-month absence but perhaps if everything goes his way he could be ready by March 25.
Kitchen closing in on Hearts Deal
Perry Kitchen did not want to sign a new deal with D.C. United after the 2015 season. One of the league’s better defensive midfielders, the Indianapolis native instead wanted to give it a go in Europe. After reports in Scotland surfaced last week that he was closing in on joining Scottish Premier League side Hearts of Midlothian, head coach Robbie Neilson told reporters on Monday that it should be official next week.
Neilson also indicated that the Kitchen received a substantial offer from MLS and that Hearts appeared to be a backup plan after a move to a German club fell through.
"I was pleased to get him and quite surprised," Neilson said. "He had a big offer in the MLS, but he wanted to come to Europe to get into the USA team more consistently. He had an offer from a German team, which fell through at the last moment, and, because it was February, he couldn't make a move there because their window shuts."
Hearts is currently in third place in Scotland and should see action in the qualifying rounds of the Europa League starting this summer. If Kitchen’s deal is not completed until next week, his debut could come on March 19 against sixth place St. Johnstone.
Salgado Sees Field in Colombia
Drafted by the Vancouver Whitecaps with the first overall pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft, Omar Salgado, then 17, appeared to be a star in the making. Unfortunately for the El Paso, Texas, native, foot injuries have prevented his career from blossoming. He has spent time briefly with Tigres and the Tampa Bay Rowdies but has not seen the field.
Recently Salgado signed with Jaguares de Cordoba in Colombia’s top flight and on Saturday he made his debut coming off the bench in the 73rd minute in a 1-0 win over Envigado. Jaguares is not a big club in Colombia and is currently in 13th place in the Primera A standings. That said, it's better than nothing and it would be great to see Salgado revive his once-promising career.
Brian Sciaretta is an American Soccer Now columnist and an ASN 100 panelist. Follow him on Twitter.