By FRANCO PANIZO
First appearance one week. First start the next. First goal after that.
Aron Johannsson crossed off another item from his Werder Bremen to-do list on Sunday, as he scored the opener in a 2-1 home win over Borussia Moenchengladbach. Johannsson opened his club and Bundesliga account in the 39th minute of the match, converting a penalty kick that gave Werder Bremen a 1-0 lead. The goal was canceled out shortly thereafter, but Werder Bremen was able to pick up all three points after scoring eight minutes into the second half.
While Johannsson grabbed headlines for finding the back of the net, Tim Howard also entered the spotlight for his stellar performance in Everton’s goal on Saturday. Howard demonstrated quick memory loss by moving past last weekend’s costly error with a six-save showing that helped earn Everton a scoreless draw with Tottenham. The strong outing is sure to serve as a boost in confidence for Howard, who is returning to the U.S. Men’s National Team picture this week after a year-long sabbatical.
A trio of firsts provided even more encouraging developments across Europe. Tim Ream started his first league game for Fulham in a 3-1 triumph over Rotherham United on Saturday, and John Brooks got the nod for the first time this season in Hertha Berlin’s 3-1 defeat to Borussia Dortmund on Sunday. Gedion Zelalem, meanwhile, played from whistle to whistle in his first league start for Rangers, which routed Queen of the South, 5-1.
Here is how the Americans Abroad did this weekend:
photo by Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports
By FRANCO PANIZO
HARRISON, N.J. — The top spot in the Eastern Conference is up for grabs.
The New York Red Bulls closed the gap between themselves and first-place D.C. United on Sunday, cruising to a 3-0 victory over their arch-rivals at Red Bull Arena. The win kept New York in third place in the East, but the club now trails D.C. by just two points with three games in hand.
Bradley Wright-Phillips led the way for Red Bulls with two goals and assist. His first finish was a superb volley in the opening stanza that stung into the top corner, and the second came in the 64th minute following an aerial pass from Sacha Kljestan.
It was mostly one-way traffic at Red Bull Arena, as New York came out of the gates firing on all cylinders. D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid made a number of highlight-reel stops to prevent his side from falling behind, but he eventually surrendered the winner to Lloyd Sam.
Photo by Joe Nicholson/USA Today Sports Images
By JASON MITCHELL
SEATTLE– If any team needed a break, it was the Seattle Sounders.
Ravaged by injuries, suspensions, and international call-ups for much of the summer, the Sounders came into Sunday afternoon’s match against the Portland Timbers having lost nine of their last 11 matches, out of the playoff spots, desperate for a win.
And they got a break. Despite being outplayed for much of the match, the Sounders escaped with a 2-1 win over the Timbers in front of 64,358 at CenturyLink Field.
No surprise, Designated Player Obafemi Martins was involved in both Seattle goals.
The Sounders first struck in just the sixth minute. Nelson Valdez took the ball off Nat Borchers’ feet with a powerful tackle in the penalty area. Martins then recovered, beating both Alvas Powell and George Fochive to the ball and converting past Adam Kwarasey from 7 yards out for the 1-0 lead and his team-leading 10th goal of the season.
Despite being outshot and overmatched throughout the first half, the Sounders doubled the lead in the 42nd minute on a Brad Evans penalty kick. Referee Alan Kelly awarded the penalty after Kwarasey took down Martins in the penalty area. Timbers players and coaches vehemently argued the call.
Evans has now converted 10 of 10 career penalty kicks.
photo by Troy Taormina/USA Today Sports
By FRANCO PANIZO
The Houston Dynamo are no strangers to turning things up a notch late in the season, and they will surely be hoping that Saturday was the start of their latest impressive run.
Ricardo Clark and Raul Rodriguez scored on each side of halftime to help the Dynamo blank a nine-man Vancouver Whitecaps side, 2-0, at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston on Saturday night. Vancouver was already trailing when it lost Kendall Waston and Matias Laba to second yellow cards in an eight-minute span in the second half.
Waston was sent off for chopping down Giles Barnes near the sideline on a 56th-minute counterattack, and Laba joined his teammate for an early shower after kicking Sheanon Williams near midfield.
The Dynamo were holding a 1-0 lead when those ejections happened thanks to a sliding finish from Clark in the 34th minute, but they did not put the game out of reach for the Whitecaps until Rodriguez headed home a Brad Davis corner three minutes before the final whistle.
It was not all good news for Houston on Saturday, however. The club lost starting left back and U.S. Men’s National Team veteran DaMarcus Beasley to an injury in the first half, and had to replace him in the 24th minute.
What do you think about the Dynamo’s 2-0 win over the Whitecaps? See Houston making another strong late-season run en route to landing a playoff spot this year? How do you expect Vancouver to respond to this defeat?
Share your thoughts below.
photo by Jonathan Dyer/USA Today Sports
By FRANCO PANIZO
Orlando City and the Chicago Fire had more than one another to worry about as they jostled for playoff positioning. They also had to deal with Mother Nature to deal with.
Playing in the midst of a heavy storm that caused two delays in the action, Orlando City and the Chicago Fire played to a 1-1 stalemate at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida, on Saturday night. The two Eastern Conference playoff hopefuls had to deal with pauses in the action of 110 and 67 minutes, with the first coming prior to kickoff and the second happening midway through the opening stanza.
The rain-soaked match concluded after midnight, and saw the two clubs share the spoils despite each of them sorely needing three points. David Accam opened the scoring in the 30th minute with a shot that beat Orlando goalkeeper Tally Hall at the near post, but the Chicago attacker’s good work was outdone by an Eric Gehrig own goal seven minutes later.
Gehrig accidentally flicked a floated cross over goalkeeper Sean Johnson and into the Fire net on the play. It initially looked as if Orlando City striker Cyle Larin had nodded the ball from Lewis Neal home to set the rookie record for goals in an MLS season, but it was Gehrig that got the touch on the ball.
By SBI SOCCER
Jurgen Klinsmann has called on a crop of familiar faces to take part in the upcoming U.S. Men’s National Team friendlies against Peru and Brazil.
Tim Howard, Geoff Cameron, Danny Williams and Jermaine Jones are among the U.S. players called into this week’s training camp ahead of Friday’s friendly against Peru.
“The bigger picture is to get some answers for how we put things together for Mexico game a month from now,” Klinsmann said. “Obviously we want to continue to have a good flow of guys from the Gold Cup, but also to bring back guys who are in position to compete for a spot on the roster for Oct. 10. Our message to these guys is simple: prove a point that you want to be at the Rose Bowl.
“With these games, it is not the time to be patient. This is really now time for the guys to make a really strong impression that they understand the situation we’re in because of what happened in the Gold Cup. These games are not about developing things for the future. This is about proving a point towards the Mexico game.”
Of the 23 players named to the squad, only Andrew Wooten enters USMNT camp for the first time.
Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey will not be in camp this week, but will join the team ahead of next week’s friendly against Brazil. Goalkeeper Sean Johnson will also join the team next week, replacing William Yarbrough, who will rejoin his club team after the Peru friendly.
Several players were left off the team due to injuries, including Fabian Johnson, DaMarcus Beasley, Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando.
Here is the full squad: