1. Williams Steps Up
After missing the cut for this summer's Copa America Centenario roster, and then not being selected for the September World Cup Qualifiers, Danny Williams feels he has something to prove to Jurgen Klinsmann.
Taking an even bigger leadership role this season at Reading could help him do just that. On Friday with the game on the line in stoppage time, Williams stepped to the penalty spot vs. Ipswich Town:
MULTI ANGLE | Pressure penalty, but the coolest head in the house! Danny Williams smashes in a 95th-minute winner! pic.twitter.com/qNGVySiREP— Reading FC (@ReadingFC) September 10, 2016
Williams' confident blast inside the left post secured a huge 3 points at home for the Royals, and has them back in the thick of things after a poor start to the campaign. Despite sitting in 11th place thru Week 6, Reading is just 2 points back of 2nd place on a tight overall table. Williams' first goal of the season was his first since January 30.
2. Wood Pounces
We're pretty accustomed to Bobby Wood's name popping up in this space. Wood got on the scoresheet for the second consecutive game this weekend, this time taking advantage of a goalkeeping miscue:
Certainly Bobby Wood's run and a great through-ball made this play happen, but when Leverkusen GK Bernd Leno's gamble didn't pay off, Wood was left with a wide open goal for an easy finish. His second goal in two games for Hamburger SV provided an early 1-0 lead. However, HSV would go on to drop points from a winning position for the second straight game. A late second half equalizer before Wood subbed off, followed by two stoppage time goals, would send HSV tumbling to a 3-1 loss, and little to show for Wood's stellar play thus far.
3. Yedlin Scores ?!
The most surprising goalscorer of the weekend was, without a doubt, Newcastle United's DeAndre Yedlin. Coming off the bench for the second consecutive match, Yedlin was asked to help secure three points. His speed would be utilized in this designed play off a set piece:
Yedlin makes it 2-0 in stoppage time to seal the 3 pts for Newcastle! pic.twitter.com/m220Tgqjx5— Nats Abroad (@NatsAbroad) September 10, 2016
How exactly did that ball go in the net? Did Yedlin get a toe on it? Perhaps a deflection off the defender? It's difficult to say with certainty. But Yedlin's sprint from the center circle put him in a dangerous position, and he was credited with his first goal since November 2013, and first since heading to England. The goal would seal a 2-0 win for Newcastle on the road at Derby County, boosting the club to 2nd place on The Championship table.
In both of Yedlin's substitute appearances for the Magpies, he's been deployed as a winger. It's still a bit early to draw conclusions on his prospects of earning starting minutes at right back, but it does bear watching. While it's fun to see Yedlin on the scoresheet, the USMNT needs him playing as a fullback.
4. ArJo's Back
Two weeks ago we celebrated Aron Johannsson's return to competitive play after a long injury layoff. In a midweek friendly during the International Break, Johannsson found his scoring groove by scoring FIVE goals. On Sunday vs. Augsburg, he'd get one that counted for a 1-0 halftime lead for Werder Bremen:
Once again, Aron Johannsson is the man up top for Werder Bremen. His calm, confident finish from the penalty spot was his first competitive goal in nearly a year, last scoring on September 22, 2015. Unfortunately, the second half didn't go so well. Bremen conceded twice for a 2-1 loss, a very disappointing home result. It's still very early in the 2016-17 Bundesliga season, but Werder Bremen finds itself bottom of the table.
5. Gatt Returns
Speaking of happy returns, here's one to feel great about all-around. After 16 months out of action following his latest injury setback, Joshua Gatt returned to competitive play for the first time since May 2015. On Sunday in Norway, Gatt came off the bench for Molde FK in the 67th minute vs. Haugesund, and made an immediate impact, according to media reports from Norway:
This is some return to the first team for @JoshuaGatt. He has completely changed the game— Perry Sykes (@FRfotballPerry) September 11, 2016
Gatt was all smiles afterward, beaming after his long-awaited return and many months of difficult rehab work. Regardless of what comes next for Gatt, it's wonderful to see him back healthy, fit, and playing soccer again.
Molde would have to settle for a 1-1 draw on the day, but the club ran its unbeaten streak to five games and continues to inch up the table. Molde is now 5th place in the Tippeligaen, just 3 points back of second place.