1. CCV Locked In
It's been a season of great progress on the field for 18-year-old center back Cameron Carter-Vickers. After making his senior team debut for Tottenham Hotspur recently, this week there was noteworthy progress off the field.
On Thursday came the news that Carter-Vickers had signed a contact extension that will keep him with Spurs thru 2019. It's been clear for quite some time that Tottenham has been very high on his future with the club.
Another source of speculation has been the occasional rumor that CCV might be drawing interest from the England national team set-up. Well, rest easy, my fellow Yanks, according to SI's Grant Wahl, who reported "a source close to the situation says he’s 'all USA' for his senior level choice."
Need further proof of Carter-Vickers' commitment to the USMNT? On Friday he was among the most prominent names listed on Tab Ramos' U-20 roster for the upcoming Four Nations Tournament in Manchester, England. The young Yanks will take the field on Wednesday vs. Germany.
2. Attacking Defenders
Life as a defender is usually an unglamorous existence. So whenever these guys get involved in the scoring, it's good to show them some love.
On Saturday in the English Championship, versatile defender Tim Ream, currently playing center back for Fulham, scored his first club goal in over six years (skip to 1:37 of the video below):
In the box for a corner kick, Ream put himself in the right spot to parry home a big rebound off the crossbar to level the game at 1-1 (It ended 2-1 for QPR.) It was Ream's first professional goal since September 11, 2010 when he was with the New York Red Bulls. In fairness, he did score one for the USMNT just a few months ago in a friendly vs. Puerto Rico. We didn't forget, Tim.
Meanwhile, another defender quite literally spent some time as an attacker. Omar Gonzalez, having another stellar defensive season, was pushed up top for the final ten minutes of Pachuca's match at Puebla. Needing a goal and seeking to use Omar's height as a weapon, things worked just as planned in stoppage time:
#PorSiNoLoViste G⚽⚽⚽L de Rubén Botta@PueblaFC 1-1 @Tuzos#J12AP2016 #LIGABancomerMX#TuVidaNoEsUnJuego ⚽ #SienteTuLiga ⚽ pic.twitter.com/H8CVBGn69S— LIGA Bancomer MX (@LIGABancomerMX) October 3, 2016
Omar's game-tying assist lifted Los Tuzos to a 1-1 draw, and the club remains in third place on the Liga MX Apertura table.
3. One for the Road
Perhaps stretching the traditional definition of "Americans abroad," but this goal was too good to pass up. Darlington Nagbe, of course, plays his professional soccer domestically for the Portland Timbers. On Wednesday night, however, the Timbers were in El Salvador for a critical group stage match in CONCACAF Champions League. With the score tied 1-1 and Portland desperately needing a win to stay alive in the competition, Nagbe stepped up for a massive free kick attempt in stoppage time.
GOAL Portland Timbers, Darlington NAGBE No.6 | @CDDragonOficial @TimbersFC #SCCL #SoyAficionado pic.twitter.com/T7UqOwLJvj— CONCACAF (@CONCACAF) September 28, 2016
Nagbe's gorgeous goal gave the Timbers a 2-1 win over CD Dragón, the team's first away win of 2016. More importantly, it gives Portland a chance to advance to the Knockout Round. First place in Group B will be on the line when Costa Rican power Saprissa visits Providence Park on October 19. It'll be a tricky schedule to navigate, with the game sandwiched midweek between two must-win MLS matches.
4. More Magpie Madness
When we last checked in with DeAndre Yedlin, he was forcing an own goal with a dangerous cross to help Newcastle to a big away result in a very eventful week.
This week, things got even crazier for the Magpies in a massive home showdown vs. Norwich City.
Things were looking bleak for the home side, trailing 3-2 deep into stoppage time. With the clock showing 90+5' and Newcastle on the attack, Yedlin picked up a loose ball and measured a cross into the box (skip to 1:30 of the video below):
The pinpoint cross to the head of Yoan Gouffran would level the game at 3-3, a game-tying assist for Yedlin. That would've been dramatic enough, yet moments later, Newcastle scrambled and found a winner, and St. James Park erupted to celebrate a 4-3.
By the weekend, incumbent starting right back Vurnon Anita returned from suspension and reclaimed his starting role... at least for the day. Too early to tell if fixture congestion played a role in sending Yedlin to the bench, but his performance over the three game span certainly gave manager Rafa Benitez every reason to award him the job.
5. Pulisic tames Real Madrid
The stage keeps getting bigger, and Christian Pulisic keeps proving he's up to the task.
This was UEFA Champions League vs. the defending champions Real Madrid. Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and company lining up on one side. On the other side (okay, on the bench to start) was an 18-year-old kid from Hershey, Pennsylvania (have you heard this before?).
In the 73rd minute with Dortmund trailing 2-1, Pulisic got the call, Thomas Tuchel showing every bit of confidence bringing him in at a critical juncture.
Let's cut to the chase. 87th minute - Pulisic on the ball:
Wonderful work from Pulisic to set up Schurrle's unstoppable equalizer for Dortmund. #UCLonFOX https://t.co/JYkieVRcAS— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) September 27, 2016
Did Christian Pulisic just assist on the game-tying goal against Real Madrid? In Champions League? Yes, he most certainly did. Of course he did. The kid is great. Enjoy it, folks.
Borussia Dortmund earned a 2-2 draw, and sits atop Group F on goal differential through two games.