We’ve reached that time of year again for soccer in the United States.
With the MLS offseason in full effect until next March, and the United States Men’s National Team on a month-long hiatus from competitive matches, the United States will be without domestic soccer for the next few weeks.
Overseas, however, soccer is still in full effect, as Americans in both the English Premier League and German Bundesliga are still competing for their respective league titles. Let’s take a look at how the U.S.’ best players are performing ahead of their friendly match against Serbia on January 29.
In his last two games with Bundesliga side Hamburger SV, Bobby Wood has found scintillating form.
The 24 year old striker has scored two goals in his last two games, with the most recent giving his side a 2-1 victory over FC Schalke 04. Wood, who joined Hamburger SV this season from second-tier Union Berlin, is still adjusting to life in Germany’s top division, having scored 6 goals in 15 games for Der Dino.
Hamburger SV is currently in the midst of a relegation battle in the Bundesliga, currently sitting a 16th place in the table, but if Wood can continue to produce like he has in his last two games, Hamburger SV’s chances at staying up will rise significantly.
However, should HSV go down next season, Wood has likely shown enough promise to be picked up by another Bundesliga squad for the 2017 campaign.
After receiving minimal game time this season with Bundesliga side Bayern Munich, Julian Green has elected to leave the soccer powerhouse for second-division side Stuttgart.
The 21 year old forward will, for the first time in his brief career, will get extend play time with a team like Stuttgart; something he desperately needs to improve his game. Green scored his first ever competitive goal for Bayern this season in the German Cup, but he has yet to see any time – both as a starter and substitute – in the Bundesliga.
With Stuttgart, Green will likely compete for the starting striker position, but it may not come as easily as he would like. Stuttgart currently find themselves third in the 2. Bundesliga, and are in firm position to get back to Germany’s top division next season. But compared to a side like Bayern Munich, Green’s chances at play time will increase exponentially.
Liberian born midfielder Darlington Nagbe has had a somewhat controversial history with the U.S. Men’s National Team. The 26 year old midfielder has made 10 appearances for the U.S. senior team since 2015, but hadn’t been named to the roster since last May.
Nagbe turned down manager Jurgen Klinsmann’s call up to the team’s October friendlies earlier this year, citing displeasure with his lack of playing time for the Stars and Stripes.
But now, with Klinsmann’s dismissal earlier this year, Nagbe may have a second chance at making the U.S. National Team.
For MLS side Portland Timbers, Nagbe finished the 2016 campaign with one goal and five assists, using his pace down the wings to make life difficult for opposing fullbacks. New U.S. head coach Bruce Arena has already called up Nagbe for the U.S.’ January camp next month, so it looks like Nagbe will have a shot at starting for the U.S. against Serbia on January 29.
At just eighteen years of age, Borussia Dortmund midfielder Christian Pulisic is making waves in the Bundesliga. The Pennsylvania native started Dortmund’s last game in the Bundesliga – a 1-1 draw – and has appeared in almost every game this campaign.
So far this season, Pulisic has registered two goals and five assists in both the Bundesliga and Champions League.
Borussia Dortmund, after losing star players Mats Hummels and Henrikh Mkhitaryan to Bayern Munich and Manchester United, respectively, have taken a step back from last year’s second placed team.
BVB currently sit sixth in the Bundesliga with 27 points, 12 points out of first place. This season, for lack of a better term, has been a rebuilding one for manager Thomas Tuchel. Young players like Pulisic, as long as they keep improving, should make Dortmund a force to be reckoned with in the near future.
German-born midfielder/defender Fabian Johnson has been ruled out for the remainder of 2016 with an achilles tendon problem.
In his absence, Bundesliga side Borussia Mönchengladbach has struggled mightily, falling to 14th in the Bundesliga table with only one win in their last eleven games.
For the past two seasons, Gladbach has finished the Bundesliga campaign in a Champions League place, placing third in 2014 and fourth in 2015. But with injuries quickly piling up for Dieter Hecking squad, just staying in the Bundesliga may be the goal for the rest of the season.
No timetable has been set for Johnson’s return to the field, but it doesn’t look likely he will be playing in the United States’ friendly against Serbia this January.
DeAndre Yedlin, since joining Newcastle United this summer from Tottenham Hotspur, has finally experienced winning in Europe as a regular starter.
Last season, Yedlin was involved in a fierce relegation while on loan with Sunderland in the English Premier League. The Black Cats, with the help of Yedlin’s blazing pace down the flanks, were able to fend off Newcastle to stay in the Premier League another year.
Now with Newcastle in the Championship – one level lower than the Premier League, Yedlin’s squad is in first place with a league-high 17 wins. Yedlin has acted as a squad rotation player for Newcastle United, making the occasional start as a well as timely substitute, but there’s no denying the American defender’s impact on Newcastle’s bid to get back in the Premier League.
Yedlin has even scored a goal this season; his first ever in any league in England.
If Newcastle can continue their winning ways displayed thus far into the season, perhaps Yedlin will get a second chance at proving himself in England’s top flight.