By Leo Linden
American footballers around the globe did not have the strongest showing last week. The USMNT’s struggles continued with a pair of losses in the Gold Cup, to Jamaica in the semi-finals and to Panama in the third-place game. On top of that, it was a relatively quiet weekend for those stationed abroad who are either in full swing in Norway, Sweden and Finland or prepping for game one in continental Europe.
We’ll start with the national team’s disappointing finish at the Gold Cup. We previously discussed how the USMNT played in the semi-final here, so we’ll delve further into the European-based Americans who played in Saturday’s third-place game penalty loss to Panama.
Two other European based defenders got the start, Tim Ream (Bolton Wanderers) and Timothy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt). Though neither was directly responsible for the goal like Brooks, the pair didn’t play to the fullest of their abilities, and it showed, as the back line was often sprawled across the pitch.
Up top, Aron Johansson (AZ Alkmaar) was also gifted a start, but the Icelandic-born forward couldn’t muster up his usual liveliness and energy that USMNT fans are accustomed to.
The bright spot for the Americans was DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham Hotspur), who brought his pace and technical ability to the game when he was subbed on after an hour. The Seattle native was responsible for creating the USMNT’s only goal by slicing through the Panamanian defense, collecting a long ball with his chest, and calmly slotting a pass over to Clint Dempsey for a much-deserved assist. The game, and the tournament, did not end the way the yanks imagined, but it’s clear from the Gold Cup — and the past year as a whole — that the European-based players are adding a new dimension to the USMNT, which is only continuing to grow in power and popularity.
Elsewhere, other Americans played in competitive matches in the Nordic leagues, which are just about approaching their half-way mark. In Norway, there were three games of note, and we will begin with Zarek Valentines’ Bodo/Glimt. The side won 1-0 and Valentin played a full 90 minutes in defense, while fellow yank Danny Cruz was subbed on with a few minutes to play to help preserve the victory.
Elsewhere in Norway, Bob Bradley’s Stabaek squad was unfortunate to concede a 90th-minute equalizer which dropped them to seven points out of first place. American midfielder Cole Grossman again featured for a full shift for Stabaek, though he did little of note besides pick up a second-half yellow card.
Alex De John was the only other American featuring this weekend in Norway, and he was stuck on the pitch for 90 minutes during his side’s 3-0 thrashing at
The two other Nordic countries saw just one American see any minutes, and it was Brian Span of IFK Mariehamn, who was on the field for the entirety of a 1-1 draw with RoPS. Span’s Mariehamn have been in intriguing form, as their last six fixtures have ended in five draws and a win, but they still trail leaders HJK by nine points (though IFK have a game in hand).
Lastly, a pair of young German-based players were in action for their respective sides. Bobby Wood (FC Union Berlin), who was transferred less than a month ago, started and played just over an hour in his club’s first 2. Bundesliga game of the season, a 1-1 draw against Fortuna Dusseldorf. Union Berlin manager Norbert Duwel has already stated his intentions of letting Wood shine at the club, so more league starts should be in store for the young Hawaiian.
Alfredo Morales (Ingolstadt) also appeared for his side, but as a substitute in a friendly, as Bundesliga-bound Ingolstadt beat Celta de Vigo of Spain. Though Morales didn’t get the start, he was a key part of Ingolstadt’s 2. Bundesliga title run a season ago and will certainly get looks in the top flight this year.