Overall, there is no denying it has been a solid start to the 2017/18 season for Americans in Europe. That being said, this weekend was pretty ugly with losses and benchings among the top stories. Brian Sciaretta takes a look
December 11, 2017
The past weekend was a tough one for Americans abroad as it was filled with mostly losses, poor games, own goals, benchings, and injuries. Of course there were a few exceptions but overall it was a weekend to forget.
But here is a quick rundown of the past few days.
There are always losses every weekend among Americans abroad but this weekend there were more than usual – especially at higher profile games.
The most noteworthy was Monterrey which dropped the second leg of Liga Mx Apertura final to Tigres 2-1 at home following a 1-1 draw in the first leg. Most felt that Monterrey was in the driver’s seat after a strong performance on the road. As usual, Jonathan Gonzalez started both games. In the first leg he was good and in the second leg he was decent.
Even with the tough loss there is no denying that it was a great first season for the Santa Rosa native. His development has been incredible this year but this Liga MX final will hopefully serve as learning experience moving into 2018.
On Saturday, Christian Pulisic went the distance for Borussia Dortmund which lost to Werder Bremen 2-1 at home. It continued a brutal stretch where Dortmund has not won in the Bundesliga since September 30 and has tumbled to eighth place. As a result manager Peter Bosz was fired after the game and replaced by former Cologne boss Peter Stöger. Pulisic will have adjust to yet another new system.
But while Pulisic and Gonzalez had difficult losses over the weekend. DeAndre Yedlin and Newcastle lost at home to Leicester City. Geoff Cameron made his return from a concussion and saw out the final few minutes of Stoke City’s embarrassing 5-1 loss to Tottenham.
Key Americans now riding the bench
The English Championship is a long, long season and no players feature every single game. Still, it is worth keeping an eye on Cameron Carter-Vickers. The English-born central defender hit a rough spell on loan for Sheffield United and was relegated to the bench on Friday against Bristol City. Sheffield United ended up losing the game 2-1 at home and Carter-Vickers did not make an appearance.
Carter-Vickers has shown that he can play at a very high level but is also still prone to mistakes. Now this will test his ability to recover after having a poor run of form.
Ethan Horvath started for the U.S. national team in November and let in a very poor goal. At Club Brugge, he has also let in some soft goals and that has resulted not only in him losing his starting spot, but also as a backup as well.
Meanwhile, Danny Williams had been starting regularly for Huddersfield but after four straight losses in the Premier League, David Wagner elected to change up his midfield on Saturday against Brighton & Hove with Williams dropped from the starting lineup. The change worked and Huddersfield walked away with a 2-0 win and Williams only made a cameo in the final minutes.
At the Club World Cup in the United Arab Emiriates, Pachuca got past Wydad Casablanca 1-0 in extratime. Despite being a starter all season, Omar Gonzalez only came on in the 118th minute to see the game out. Next up will be a semifinal game against Brazil’s Gremio.
The bright spots
It wasn’t all bad, however, for Americans in Europe over the weekend.
Weston McKenie was sharp in a full 90 effort for Schalke in a 1-1 road draw against Borussia Monchengladbach. He completed nearly 83% of his passes and was very active defensively as Monchengladbach pushed for a late goal. Still, with only 43 touches, McKennie needs to find a way to get on the ball more often as his superior passing can help Schalke open up the game.
Meanwhile, in the 3.Liga, Joe Gyau scored a goal for SG Sonnenhof Grossaspach in a 4-1 win over Preussen Munster to move into sixth place.
In the 2.Bundesliga, Julian Green started for Greuther Furth and was dangerous in a 1-0 win over Heidenheim. At one point the Tampa-born attacker hit the post in an important scoring chance. Furth will need Green to continue to be on his game because it is still in the relegation zone at 17th place.
In England, Tim Ream went the distance for Fulham which defeated Birmingham City 1-0 at Craven Cottage. With three wins in its last four, the London club now sits firmly in midtable at 12th place.
It was a battle of two American left backs when Eric Lichaj and Nottinham Forest hosted Antonee Robinson and Bolton. In the end, Lichaj and Forest prevailed 3-2 but Bolton did not skid back into the relegation zone with the loss.
In was a promising sign, Lynden Gooch earned the start in midfield for troubled Sunderland on the road against Championship leaders Wolverhampton. The scoreless draw was a great result for Sunderland despite the fact it still remains in the relegation zone. Along with the recent managerial change at Sunderland which saw former Wales boss Chris Coleman take the job, things could be looking good for Gooch after a difficult first few months of the season.
Finally, Jonathan Amon, 18, continues to be a wonderful story in Denmark. The Charleston native has broken into the starting lineup at Nordsjaelland and has been a nightmare for opponents to defend. On Sunday against Hobro, Amon helped in the buildup to Nordsjaelland’s first goal of a 3-2 win. It was the team’s final game before the winter break and it sits comfortably in third place.