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Americans abroad

Yet another tough weekend for Americas abroad to start December

Unless your name is John Brooks or Ethan Horvath, the chances are that you didn't have a very good weekend if you were an American playing abroad. ASN's Brian Sciaretta breaks it down 
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
December 02, 2018
10:00 PM
IT WAS another uneventful weekend for Americans abroad where good news was few and far between. Unfortunately for American fans, this has become a recurring theme over the past several months and perhaps 2019 will bring better news.

Hope in 2019

The good news is that 2019 should bring some more young players pushing through. Josh Sargent should get opportunities to show he belong with Werder Bremen’s first team over the winter break and, perhaps, set himself up for a Bundesliga debut in the second half of the season. Tyler Adams is moving to RB Leipzig and he should also get an opportunity there.

Similarly, Nick Taitague scored a goal for Schalke’s U-23 team over the weekend. The Virginia native is one of the more talented American youth players but has had a terrible time staying healthy. If he can stay healthy, he has a chance in 2019.

United States U-20 forward Sebastian Soto is also continuing to score goals for Hannover’s U-19 team. Over the weekend he scored his 10th goal in 13 games in a win over Osnabruck. The Californian told me at qualifying in November that he believes a Bundesliga debut is “likely” this year but turning over the keys to a club in a relegation battle is a gamble.

Wright makes first Schalke start

Haji Wright, 20, made his Bundesliga debut last weekend for Schalke in a convincing 5-2 win over Nurnberg when he came on as a late-game cameo and did not have to do much. Over the weekend, the Californian made his first start for the club against a very good Hoffenheim club.

While Schalke has struggled with injuries, it was still a surprise given that Wright has not had a good year. His loan last season to Sandhausen was mostly a failure and over the summer he went on a trial with Union Berlin – where he failed to impress.

But Wright has worked hard this fall at Schalke with its reserve team. And while it plays in the very low fifth tier Oberliga, he produced.

The good news is that Wright is working hard to develop. The bad news is that he did play well against Hoffenheim and left with his team down 1-0. It’s unfair to read too much into this because there is a long list of successful players who struggle in their first meaningful appearance at a high level. But once everyone is healthy at Schalke, it will be interesting to see what the plan is for him at the club. Another loan is certainly possible.

On the flip side, Weston McKennie played the final 20 minutes for Schalke in his first game since the England friendly where he picked up an injury.

Brooks & Horvaht continue upward trend

There was a long stretch during the early part of this Bundesliga season where Wolfsburg and John Brooks struggled to win games. After a strong start, the club tumbled down the standings.

On Saturday, the club won its second in a row and third in five games with an impressive 2-1 away win over Eintracht Frankfurt. The win moved it to eighth in the Bundesliga. Defensively, Brooks was very important to the team in the win and the German-American has played very well since returning from the international break.

Ethan Horvath, meanwhile, posted yet another cleanwheet win for Club Brugge which thumped Standard Liege by a 3-0 scoreline. The Colorado native has been among the most plesant surprises this season in his comeback from the abyss. 

Still too many struggles

While Weston McKennie made his return, the news on the injury front was mostly full of bad news. Jonathan Amon missed this weekend’s game for Nordsjaelland as did Christian Pulisic for Borussia Dortmund. The same can be said for Emerson Hyndman who was injured and nowhere to be seen for Hibernian in a 3-0 loss to Kilmarnock.

Rumors continue to swirl that Chelsea are looking to buy Pulisic and, if the reports are to be believed, you wonder why Dortmund are seeking £70 for the American if he has been mostly coming off the bench for Dortmund? Is the club protecting its player ahead of a sale, has he been surpassed in the depth chart, or is he still dealing with lingering injuries?

Elsewhere, Matt Miazga is still MIA at Nantes. Erik Palmer-Brown and NAC Breda got demolished by Groningen 5-2. It is an awful result for last-place NAC Breda against another team battling relegation. Cameron Carter-Vickers earned his second straight start for Swansea City, but both games were losses. On Saturday, it was a 2-1 loss to Derby County (American Duane Holmes made a late-game cameo for Derby). Aside from Brooks, it was a bad weekend for the European-based Americans in the central defense depth chart for the national team.

DeAndre Yedlin and Newcastle suffered a terrible 3-0 loss at home to West Ham United. Tim Ream is still on the outside at last-place Fulham where he went as an unused sub in a 2-0 loss to Chelsea. Danny Williams made his second appearance of the year for Huddersfield but could not stop a 2-1 loss at home to Brighton & Hove.

Bobby Wood has been playing well lately but was non-existent for Hannover in a 2-0 loss at home to Hertha BSC. Alfredo Morales was an unused substitute for last-place Fortuna Dusseldorf in a 1-0 loss at home Mainz. Fabian Johnson, likewise, did not get off the bench for Monchengladbach in a 2-0 loss to RB Leipzig.

The weekend was even worse for Julian Green who only played the final nine minutes for Greuther Furth in a 4-0 loss to Koln. Meanwhile Andrew Wooten was a nonfactor for Sandhausen off the bench in a 2-1 loss to Heidenheim (which sent Sandhausen into the relegation zone of the 2.Bundesliga). The normally productive Jann George also did not do much for Jahn Regensburg in a 1-1 draw vs. FC Erzgebirge.

In Denmark, Emmanuel Sabbi continues to remain cold after his hot start. The American hasn’t scored since September and Hobro continued to remain in last place on Saturday after a 1-0 loss to Brondby.

In Spain, Shaq Moore started for Reus which lost 0-2 at home to Mallorca and sits in the relegation zone in the the second tier. 

In Austria, Josh Gatt got another start for Altach but couldn’t help boost the team’s offense, and it lost 1-0 to Salzburg for its third straight cleansheet loss.

All of this, makes for yet another bad weekend for Americans abroad.

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