It was a goal-scoring Saturday for three young U.S. men’s national teamers in Europe.
Weston McKennie and Josh Sargent each scored their first goals of 2020 in the Bundesliga, while Matt Miazga found the net for the second time this season in England’s second tier.
The strikes are good news for the USMNT, which has seen its overseas-based contingent of players struggle with injuries, poor form and a lack of playing time in recent weeks.
Sargent’s goal was particularly important for both him and his club Werder Bremen. Last month, the 20-year-old lost the starting spot he had won under Werder manager Florian Kohfeldt earlier this season. That understandably appeared to sap the youngster’s confidence on a team desperately trying to avoid relegation.
The Missouri native’s self-belief should be higher following his third goal of the season, a pile-driver of a shot — with his weaker left foot, no less — from distance just two minutes into Saturday’s match at Hertha Berlin.
The early tally helped the visitors secure a point in an eventual 2-2 tie:
McKennie’s strike came off his left foot, and it was also a thing of beauty. At home against Hoffenheim, the 21-year old Schalke midfielder controlled a long pass from the wonderfully named Jonjoe Kenny, held off a defender as he cut inside the box and fired low blast through the legs of defender Kevin Akpoguma and past keeper Oliver Baumann:
The goal was the Texan’s first in the Bundesliga in more than a year, and it gave the hosts a 1-0 lead 20 minutes in. And while Hoffenheim equalized in the second half to steal a share of the spoils, the draw snapped Schalke’s three-match losing streak across all competitions during which the Bundesliga’s sixth-place side was outscored 9-0.
Not to be outdone, central defender Miazga, 24, got on the scoresheet Saturday for English Championship outfit Reading. With his team trailing 1-0 at Birmingham City, the former New York Red Bulls standout, who is on loan from Chelsea, volleyed home a pass from Andy Rinomhota early in the second half:
The goal was Miazga’s second of the 2019-20 campaign, and it came in just his second start since missing seven games with an ankle injury. It also started a comeback that ended with a stirring 3-1 away win for Reading.
Not a bad day for young Americans playing in Europe. Not bad at all.
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