We’re just over a week away from the U.S. vs. Mexico World Cup qualifying match at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Let’s take a look at how the U.S.’ top players are performing for their clubs ahead of this crucial rivalry match.
Bobby Wood, Hamburger SV
Bobby Wood, after an impressive 17 goal campaign with Union Berlin in the 2. Bundesliga last season, has firmly supplanted himself in the Hamburger SV starting lineup. Wood, however, has not been able score a Bundesliga goal since September 10. Hamburger SV, consequently, currently find themselves last in the Bundesliga with only two points in nine games.
Wood is not entirely to blame, of course, as his other ten teammates have spent more time defending the opposition than trying to supply their lone striker in front of goal. Wood was able to score twice against Hallescher FC in the German Cup in 4-0 last week, but Hamburger SV will have to act fast if they are to remain in the Bundesliga next season.
Hamburger SV face Borussia Dortmund at home on November 5, as they will look to register their first league win of the season.
Jozy Altidore, Toronto F.C.
Toronto F.C., after finishing the season third in the Eastern Conference, currently find themselves with a 2-0 aggregate lead against New York City F.C in the MLS Playoffs. Jozy Altidore has a lot to do with it. Altidore scored once in the first leg against New York, finding the back of the net in the 84th minute to take the lead.
Altidore has been on a tear this season in the MLS, scoring 12 goals in his last 16 MLS appearances. Altidore and the rest of Toronto F.C. take on New York City F.C. again this Sunday, November 6, as they will look to advance to the Eastern Conference Final.
Julian Green, Bayern Munich
Julian Green, after scoring in both friendlies against Cuba and New Zealand for the U.S., scored his first competitive goal for Bayern Munich last Wednesday. The 21 year old headed home a pinpoint Thomas Müller cross against FC Augsburg to extend Bayern’s lead to two goals to none. The score finished 3-1, as Green’s side advanced to next round of the DFB Cup.
Green has mostly been an unused substitute this season, making only a handful of appearances in the Bundesliga, but if he continues to perform in cup matches, he may secure a transfer this summer for more playing time.
Bayern Munich take on Ingolstadt next in the Bundesliga. The match will take place on November 5, as Munich will look to further extend their lead in the league.
Christian Pulisic, Borussia Dortmund
18 year old wonder kid Christian Pulisic might just be the United States’ highest performing international player as of late. Pulisic has started in Dortmund’s last two matches – one in the Champions League and one in the Bundesliga – and has performed admirably. His most recent goal came against Ingolstadt in the Bundesliga, in which the midfielder provided the game tying goal in a 3-3 finish as a second half substitute.
After an exodus of talent last season that saw the likes of Mats Hummels and Henrikh Mkhitaryan depart the club, Borussia Dortmund currently find themselves in sixth place in the Bundesliga. The good news for Pulisic, though, is that the youngster has plenty of chances to demonstrate his ever-growing ability.
Dortmund will see Bobby Wood’s Hamburger SV side on November 5, looking to jump back in to Champions League contention for next season.
Michael Bradley, Toronto F.C.
Michael Bradley, alongside compatriot Jozy Altidore and Italian Sebastian Giovinco, have Toronto F.C. in an enviable situation. Although scoring only one goal this season in the MLS, Bradley’s contributions this season have come mostly in the buildup play, as the U.S. captain seems to boss every midfield he faces.
Should Toronto F.C. withstand New York City F.C. in the second leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinal (they’re already up 2-0), they will face the winner of the New York Red Bulls and Montreal Impact. Montreal is currently ahead 1-0 on aggregate.
Fabian Johnson, Borussia Mönchengladbach
Fabian Johnson’s Mönchengladbach side have experienced a somewhat middling Bundesliga campaign this season. Gladbach are 11th in the table through nine games, but are only six points out of the top four. Johnson has made starts in Gladbach’s last six games, registering a goal and an assist against Stuttgart in the German Cup.
Last season, after finishing fourth in the Bundesliga, also find themselves in the Champions League season. Unfortunately, they have Manchester City and FC Barcelona in their group. It’s unlikely that they will advance to the elimination stage, given their competition, but they can still compete for the Europa League spot against fellow group mate Celtic.
Borussia Mönchengladbach play Hertha BSC, tomorrow, November 4, as Johnson will aim for his second Bundesliga goal this season.
John Anthony Brooks, Hertha BSC
After sitting out the majority of September with a thigh injury, John Anthony Brooks has returned and started in Hertha’s last four games. Hertha has a 2-1-1 record during that span, rising to fifth in the Bundesliga table; just one point out of Champions League contention.
Brooks, when healthy, has undoubtedly been Hertha’s best defensive player this season, and may just see a transfer to a bigger club in the near future. Brooks is still only 23 years old, and looks to be entering the prime of his career. It was rumored this summer that Premier League side Manchester City was interested, but nothing came of it.
Nonetheless, if Brooks can continue his development, he has the potential to be the best United States defender in history. Seriously.
Hertha BSC have Mönchengladbach up next on November 4th.
DeAndre Yedlin, Newcastle United
After arriving relatively late in the transfer window from Tottenham Hotspur, DeAndre Yedlin took a little while to break into Newcastle United’s starting 11. But as of late, the pacey fullback has started each of the last three games. Newcastle United were relegated last season from the Premier League, and now are fighting to get back into England’s top flight in the Championship division.
So far, it looks as though the Magpies will get it done, as they are firmly atop the table with 34 points in 15 games. In Yedlin’s ten appearances this season, Newcastle has won all but one of them, a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa.
Newcastle United face off against Cardiff City on November 5th, and will try to further extend their lead upon the rest of the Championship.
Tim Howard, Colorado Rapids
After going down 1-0 in the first leg of the Western Conference Semifinal against the LA Galaxy, Tim Howard’s squad will have to score at least two goals in the upcoming fixture to further advance in the MLS Playoffs on aggregate. But, even if the Rapids manage to score twice on Sunday, the Galaxy can still advance if they can score just one away goal.
Howard will be put to the test against the likes of Giovani Dos Santos and Robbie Keane on November 6, and the offense will have to perform for the Rapids to advance. If Howard lets a goal go by against the Galaxy, their chances of advancing will all but disappear. Nonetheless, whatever happens against the Galaxy, Howard can definitely classify his first MLS season as a success.
The winner of Sunday’s Western Conference Semifinal will face either FC Dallas or the Seattle Sounders; the Sounders are currently ahead 3-0 on aggregate.