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Americans Abroad

Wood, Williams, Yedlin & Arjo All Tally in Euro Action

While none of their goals are heading for time capsules, four key Yanks scored over the weekend. Also, former U.S. international David Wagner has Huddersfield Town atop the English Championship. 
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
September 11, 2016
7:15 PM

Bobby Wood scores again

Bobby Wood is erasing any doubt as to whether he is ready to be a Bundesliga player—he is. On Saturday, the Hawaii native scored his second goal in just his second Bundesliga game. In the 58th minute he made a nice run to get behind the Bayer Leverkusen defense. Goalkeeper Bernd Leno made a poorly timed run on the ball and Wood was able to get past him for an easy finish and a 1-0 lead.

In the end, however, Leverkusen had the last laugh with three unanswered goals for a 3-1 win.

For Wood, it is all about getting acclimated to the Bundesliga. If he can continue to score for HSV, he will have interest from better Bundesliga teams should Hamburg find itself in yet another relegation fight. For the U.S national team, the more in-form forwards at Jurgen Klinsmann's disposal heading into the Hexagonal, the better. Jozy Altidore, Aron Johannsson, Juan Agudelo, and Chris Wondolowski are all lighting things up at the moment, and the competition for playing time should benefit the team. 

Williams converts for Reading

On Friday in the English Championship, Reading defeated Ipswich Town 2-1— and all three goals were scored on penalties. The winner game deep into second-half stoppage time when U.S. international Danny Williams converted from the spot on one of the last kicks of the game. The penalty was awarded when Reading’s Joey van den Berg was ruled to have been brought down on a corner kick.

Williams, 27, made no mistake with the penalty as he sent the keeper the wrong way when finishing to the right side of the goal. The win lifted Reading to 10 points through six games which is good enough for 11th place in the league.

Johannsson scores PK goal  

As he continues to get back into fitness after missing nearly a year due to an nerve problem in his hip, Aron Johannsson scored his first Bundesliga goal since last September when he converted a penalty in a 2-1 home loss to Augsburg. The penalty was awarded when Zlatko Junuzovi? was taken down in the box.

The Alabama-born Johannsson finished easily after sending the keeper the wrong way.

Penalty aside, Johannsson was relatively quiet. And Werder has had a poor start to the season, going pointless after two games with a -7 goal differential.

Yedlin scores in Newcastle win

After playing with the U.S. national team in a 6-0 win over St. Vincent & the Grenadines (where he earned a yellow card which suspended him for the Trinidad & Tobago game), DeAndre Yedlin returned to Newcastle United in plenty of time for Saturday’s away matchup against Derby County.

After coming into the game in the 73rd minute with Newcastle up 1-0, Yedling put the game out of reach in stoppage time with his first goal in European play. While not pretty, the Seattle native made an aggressive move into the box to give his club a 2-0 win.

Over the next few weeks it will be fascinating to see if Yedlin can claim that starting right back spot. So far he has shown well off the bench.

Chandler plays in central defense

Timothy Chandler made his debut in central defense for Eintracht Frankfurt—a bizarre and shocking turn of events. On Thursday, the club announced that due to injuries, the fullback had been training in central defense throughout the week.

Chandler played relatively well although there were moments when the position looked completely unfamiliar to him. The game was scoreless in the 90th minute when Darmstadt right back Sandro Sirigu scored with what appeared to be a mishit cross. 

Does Chandler have a future in central defense long term? Probably not, although it is interesting to see he can fill in there.

On an interesting note, the man who scored the winner has American ties. Sirigu, 27, was born to an American mother although his agent informed American Soccer Now that he has never applied for an American passport. His agent also informed ASN that he has never been in contact with U.S. Soccer although he would explore his American passport options if asked.

Right now, the U.S. has plenty of right back options with DeAndre Yedlin, Eric Lichaj, Fabian Johnson, Geoff Cameron, and even youngsters like Keegan Rosenberry. Still, Sirigu is worth keeping an eye on.

Josh Gatt returns to the field

On Sunday Josh Gatt played the final 23 minutes of Molde's scoreless draw against third place Haugesund.
Gatt, 25, has been through more than his share of hard times. After winning the Norwegian league with Molde and rising to the level of the U.S. national team, Gatt tore his ACL for the first time in June 2013—right before he was slated to play in the Gold Cup. He was later injured in his first comeback, forcing him out of the entire 2014 season. Then, in his first game back in May 2015, he tore his ACL again—five minutes after coming onto the field.

On Sunday, Gatt looked lively on the field and even drew a red card in the 80th minute when he beat Haugesund defender Nemanja Tubic and forced a bad tackle. He has always been known for his speed but he erased any doubt whether or not that asset had been lost during his prolonged stint in recovery.

Wagner named manager of the month

Huddersfield Town won again on Saturday, posting a 1-0 road victory over Leeds United. The small club was given virtually no shot at promotion but the win on Saturday gave the team 16 points through six games and a four point cushion atop the English Championship standings.

In a story that will gain traction this season, one of the top young managers in England right played for the United States in the 1990s. David Wagner is in his first full season as Huddersfield’s coach and is earning accolades for the job he has done with the West Yorkshire club.

Earlier in the week, the popular Wagner was named the Championship manager of the month.

Also last week, Wagner shared his unique preseason training regimen via an extensive profile in The Guardian

We knew we had a lot of new signings and should never forget that this is a traditional English football club with more than 100 years of history and I am the first manager from outside the British Isles and maybe there are as many foreign players as there has ever been, so we thought: ‘How can we make the players bind together very quickly?’” he says.

“We went to Sweden for four days and three nights and we didn’t bring a ball. We were really in the wild, no electricity, no toilet, no bed, no mobile phone or internet. If you are hungry, take your rod and get a fish. If you are thirsty, go to the lake and put your bottle in. If you are cold, make a fire.

“We had three guides with us to help, but if you are always together, in a two-man tent or eight hours a day in a two-man canoe—and we always rotated the pairings—then you have to speak to each other. I am convinced that the better you know your mate off the pitch, the more you are able to work for him on it in uncomfortable situations.

“They changed their borderlines over those three days. I can say now, three months later, that it was 100% success, and that is the feedback from the players, too.”

Can Verbeek work magic with Canouse?

On Friday, Pennsylvania’s Russell Canouse made his first 2.Bundesliga start, getting the nod for VFL Bochum. Normally a central midfielder, the former U.S. U-20 captain played right back.

Canouse, 21, went the distance in a 2-0 road loss to Wurzburger Kickers but could be in line for more playing time in the weeks ahead.

Bochum are currently coached by Dutchman Gertjan Verbeek who, while a journeyman, has an exceptional record at working with American players. Michael Bradley, Aron Johannsson, Timothy Chandler, and Jozy Altidore have all had career-best seasons playing under Verbeek. Will the same apply for Canouse as well?

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