Yedlin, Arriola and Chandler Making Noise From Afar
February 06, 2017
Arriola emerging as 2017 breakout player
In 2016 Christian Pulisic was the American breakout player abroad; Paul Arriola is making a case to claim that title in 2017. And yes—it's funny that Arriola qualifies as somebody playing abroad even though he lives in his hometown of Chula Vista, Calif., and commutes across the border every day to Tijuana to train and play.
Over the weekend, Arriola celebrated his 22nd birthday with another goal for Club Tijuana. He now has two goals and two assists in his last four Liga MX games. Even more impressive, he is playing multiple positions, ranging from right wing to right wingback. Hid defense is improving and so is his overall game.
Last year Jurgen Klinsmann brought Arriola into the U.S. national team and Arriola played well. He missed out on the November qualifiers as his Tijuana playing time tapered off. But now with Arriola starting regularly, it will be interesting to see how or if Bruce Arena rates him. Will Arriola be part of the March qualifiers? If not, is he in the plans for the Gold Cup?
If he continues to play this well for Tijuana, he will be hard to ignore.
Yedlin once again superb for Newcastle
Two weeks ago DeAndre Yedlin had his best game of the season, registering two assists in a 4-0 win over Rotherham United.
Over the weekend Yedlin was also one of the game’s best players in an important 1-0 win over Derby County. The three points moved Newcastle into the top spot in the Championship and six points clear of third-place Reading.
Yedlin was solid throughout the game both offensively and defensively but he unquestionably made the play of the game in stoppage time when he headed a dangerous Derby chance off the goal line to preserve the win.
With the season he is having now, Yedlin should be line to be a Premier League starter for Newcastle next season. Assuming it secures promotion, Newcastle will want to upgrade its team but Yedlin is making a statement that right back is one of the positions that does not need any fixing.
Hyndman continues to impress
Emerson Hyndman’s loan to Glasgow Rangers has gotten off to a strong start and the legendary club’s fanbase has taken a liking to the 20-year-old Texan. On Saturday Rangers boss Mark Warburton decided to move Hyndman back in the midfield, from an attacking role into more of a holding midfielder position.
The result was a disappointing 1-1 draw with Ross County but Hyndman played very well and was one of Rangers best players—again. It's unlikely that Hyndman will be at Rangers beyond this season but he is showing versatility in addition to playmaking skill. He will either return to Bournemouth in position to play first-team soccer or he will have nice options for a loan next year.
Payne begins life as Groningen starter
When FC Groningen sold Hans Hatboer at the tail-end of the transfer window, Desevio Payne finally became the first-choice starter at the Eredivisie club. Before then, he only played when others were injured or suspended.
On Saturday he went the distance in a 1-1 draw with Excelsior and picked up a yellow card in the process. Defensively, he was very strong with four interceptions, three tackles, three clearances, and two blocked shots. Offensively he was steady playing the ball out of the back.
Payne, 21, is a player for American fans to watch. He’s very talented and can enter the national team at right back—a spot that is crowded with DeAndre Yedlin, Timothy Chandler, Keegan Rosenberry, and Eric Lichaj all playing well the past year.
Green scores nice goal for Stuttgart
Julian Green did not really impress in his first start for VfB Stuttgart. His second start was very strong, and he scored a classy goal on a volley in the 19th minute of a 2-0 win over Fortuna Dusseldorf.
With the win, VfB Stuttgart moved into first place of the 2.Bundesliga and Green should likely find himself back in the Bundesliga in just a few months.
Green, 21, was never in a good position to see the field at Bayern Munich and the usefulness of the prestigious club’s reserve/youth teams had long since worn off. Finally, he is in a position to play on a regular basis and show everyone his talent.
Making it back into the U.S. national team will not be easy. His likely competition is Paul Arriola on the wing and Jordan Morris at the forward position, depending on where Arena would want to play the Florida-born Green.
Brooks helps Hertha to a cleansheet win
John Brooks celebrated his 24th birthday last week—still young for a central defender. On Saturday, he was a steadying force for Hertha in a 1-0 home win over Ingolstadt. At this point, every point is crucial for Hertha.
Brooks enjoyed a very strong 2016 and now it will be an important test to see if he can continue to raise his game at Hertha Berlin. If he finishes the year well, there will likely be high-profile suitors sniffing around because Brooks will have established some consistency.
Now in sixth place, Hertha is in a dog-fight for a Champions League spot with just two points separating it from third place. If Brooks and company can get an automatic berth into the Champions League group stages, it will be a yet another important turning point in his career. There will be a lot for Brooks to play for in the coming three months.
Chandler continues career-best season
Of all the players in this column Chandler is the only one not considered young anymore. But the 26-year-old is having the best season of his career, raising his game at a crucial time for both club and country.
His club, Eintracht, is exceeding all expectations and now sits in third place in the Bundesliga. Before the season started, few would have predicted Eintracht would have been in position for a Champions League spot, and Chandler has been a huge part of the team’s success.
On Sunday, Chandler went the distance for Eintracht in a 2-0 win over Darmstadt and completed 89% of his passes from the right back position. His passing out of the back helped his club to a big advantage in possession and scoring opportunities.
For the U.S. national team, Chandler is likely in competition with DeAndre Yedlin for the starting right back job with both players having good games for their respective clubs on a near weekly basis. It should be a tough choice for Arena.