1. Opportunity Knocks for Yedlin
In the 87th minute of Newcastle United's 2-0 loss vs. Wolverhampton on September 17, starting right back Vurnon Anita received a straight red card. It was rather inconsequential in terms of the game result, but it was a big deal for DeAndre Yedlin. Anita was handed a 3-game suspension by the English FA, so suddenly Yedlin was next man up, with a big opportunity to claim a starting role.
Three days later, Yedlin was indeed in the XI for an EFL Cup rematch vs. Wolves. This time, it was Newcastle on top bythat familiar 2-0 margin, with Yedlin playing a key role in an impressive first start. In the 27th minute, he was involved in the set up for the eventual game-winner (skip to 0:17):
Then on Saturday, Yedlin would earn his first start in league play at Aston Villa. Again, Yedlin was involved in an important goal, but this time more directly. His dangerous cross was too much to handle, creating an own goal for a 1-0 lead (skip to 0:19):
His performance drew rave reviews, and he was having a Man-of-the-Match type of performance... until coming up lame in the 73rd minute. Replays indicated a non-contact ankle injury, which forced him from the game. Newcastle would surrender a very late 89th minute equalizer for a tough 1-1 away draw. The injury does not appear to be serious. Optimistic news came after the weekend, with reports that manager Rafa Benitez is hopeful that Yedlin will be ready for Wednesday's massive home clash vs. first-place Norwich City.
2. Big Goals in Germany
Last week saw a trio of big goals for American attackers based in Germany.
On Wednesday in midweek Bundesliga action, it was Fabian Johnson to rescue with an 84th minute equalizer to salvage a 1-1 draw at top flight newcomers RB Leipzig:
Then on Friday, a pair of big goals from American strikers in the 2. Bundesliga. First, U.S. U-23 forward Jerome Kiesewetter scored his first goal for new club Fortuna Düsseldorf, a spectacular solo effort through the defense:
And then just minutes later, Andrew Wooten was the hero for SV Sandhausen, scoring his second of the season, a stoppage time equalizer to snare an away point in a 1-1 draw at Greuther Fürth:
3. Club Debuts in Domestic Cups
This was also a week for a trio of much anticipated debuts for some highly regarded younger Yanks across the pond.
On Tuesday in EFL Cup play, 18-year-old center back Cameron Carter-Vickers earned his first start and senior team debut for Tottenham Hotspur. It was a started hinted at earlier in the week by manager Mauricio Pochettino, who said Carter-Vickers "deserved to start." It was a gentle debut for CCV, as Spurs coasted to a 5-0 win vs. League One's Gillingham.
Later the same day, promising midfielder Emerson Hyndman finally made his debut for new club Bournemouth. Following a preseason injury, things haven't gone according to plan for Hyndman. Nonetheless, it's a small step, and we'll hope for bigger things to come. On this day, Hyndman played the entirety of extra time. However, the Cherries were knocked out and upset at home by Preston North End 3-2 after an 111th minute winner.
And finally on Sunday, former New York Red Bulls center back Matt Miazga continued climbing up the ladder at his new club. He made his debut for Vitesse in a KNVB Cup match vs. amateur side ASV de Dijk, a brief 20-minute stint in an easy 7-2 win.
Miazga would get a slightly longer run out on Sunday, making his Eredivisie debut in the 64th minute of a 2-1 loss at FC Twente.
4. More Gatt Milestones
After making his return to competitive play last week, Josh Gatt made his first start for Molde FK since June 2013. It didn't take long for him to make a measurable contribution. In the 32nd minute of a major test vs. 1st-place Rosenborg, Gatt delivered an assist to put Molde on top. His perfect cross from the end line was volleyed home for a 1-0 lead (skip to 1:42 below.)
Molde would succumb in the second half, falling to the Norwegian giants by a 3-1 final.
5. Captain Perry
It'd be a severe understatement to say Perry Kitchen is fitting in well at Heart of Midlothian in Scotland.
After less than six months at the club, and at a relatively green 24 years of age, Kitchen has been bestowed the honor of serving as team captain for the 2016-17 season:
Perry Kitchen made a significant impact in Edinburgh both on and off the field from the very beginning. He's quickly become a fan favorite, but has also earned the respect of his teammates, and most importantly, his manager. Said Hearts skipper Robbie Neilson, "He’s a natural and leads by example both on and off the park. He’s also a really good player and will inspire those around him to reach the highest standards."
It's an honor that won't go unnoticed by Jürgen Klinsmann as he looks for younger leadership in the defensive midfield. With longtime vets Jermaine Jones and Kyle Beckerman much nearer to the end than the beginning, Kitchen could play a key role in years to come.