By Leo Linden
Certainly the biggest news for American soccer over the weekend was the USWNT taking home the Women’s World Cup. But all was not silent on the men’s side as the national team faced Guatemala, a USMNT hopeful completed a transfer from one of Germany’s biggest cities to another, and a few Americans played in midseason games in the Nordic leagues.
We will start with the USMNT, who impressively
The rest of the first half was a stalemate, but after halftime, the USA was able to put the game out of reach thanks to a pair of European-based players. With just under an hour played, Yedlin again found himself with acres of space on the right. Instead of electing to cross, the midfielder laid an easy pass to Timothy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt). Chandler did the rest magnificently, taking a touch to the inside before launching a left-footed strike from 25 yards which curled around keeper Paulo Motta and into the side netting.
From there, the game was put out of reach by domestic players, as Clint Dempsey scored a penalty and Chris Wondolowski tapped in from close range. It is clear, however, that the players abroad are adding a creative element to this squad which is a positive moving forward.
Speaking of creative players, Bobby Wood found a new home this week. The 22-year-old striker from Hawai’i burst onto the international scene by scoring late goals in the USMNT’s wins against the Netherlands and Germany a few weeks ago. Last year, he played most of his football at 2. Bundesliga side Erzgebirge Aue after going on loan from 1860 Munich. Due to a knee injury, Wood only made 15 appearances for Aue, in which he scored three goals. At the end of the year, Erzgebirge were relegated, but Wood was still an 1860 Munich player, and they remain in the 2. Bundesliga.
However, on Monday, Wood was purchased by FC Union Berlin, another 2. Bundesliga side which finished seventh last year, nine places above 1860 Munich. Upon the deal being announced, Union Berlin manager Norbert Duwel gave high praise to Wood, which is an early indication that he will be a first-team regular in Berlin. USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann has stated he wants his players playing in Europe at a high level, and though Wood’s not in the top division, he will surely gain valuable experience this season with the Berlin side.
While Germany is in the midst of the offseason, just a few miles to the north, the Nordic leagues are in full swing. Bob Bradley’s Stabaek side, which again featured fellow yank Cole Grossman in midfield, did not come to play against ninth place Start, and were subsequently thrashed 4-1. The only good news this weekend for Bradley came from Zarek Valentin’s Bodo/Glimt side.
The defender was on the pitch for a full 90 minutes in a 1-0 win against league leaders Rosenborg. It’s a great result for Bodo, and it’s always good to see an American defender be involved in a clean sheet against a quality side. For Bradley, it keeps his Stabaek squad just three points behind the leaders.
Elsewhere in Norway, a pair of American keepers went head-to-head as Quentin Westberg’s Sarpsborg hosted Ethan Horvath’s Molde. It was a bad day at the office for Westberg, who was beaten four times on the day as Sarpsborg dropped to 11th following a 4-1 defeat. Horvath, however, is in the midst of a quality run for Molde as they have ascended to fourth and are lurking just eight points behind Rosenborg.
Though plenty of yanks were involved in Norway, none of note made the pitch in either the Finnish Veikkausliiga or the Swedish Allsvenskan this week.