Ask and ye shall receive. Thanks to your great recommendations, we’re proud to introduce a new weekly feature here at SSFC: Goal of the Week!
In the past, presenting a Goal of the Week strictly for the USMNT player pool would’ve been quite bland and limited to just MLS and the scarce goal in Europe somewhere. Now thanks to the rapidly growing talent base around the world, we’re almost guaranteed to have at least a couple of goals to choose from every week. Our aim here is to not only highlight the best goals by a USMNT-eligible player but maybe showcase some players who may not be on the forefront of Gregg Berhalter’s depth chart.
Throughout the week if you see a worthy candidate for our award, feel free to comment in our match threads or tweet them at me (@RobUsry) or the blog (@StarsStripesFC) for consideration.
Goal of the Week: Matthew Hoppe’s first as a professional
It didn’t take a genius to figure out what player would win Goal of the Week this week with Matthew Hoppe scoring a hat trick for Schalke, the first ever by an American in the Bundesliga. The intrigue lies in which goal should win the award? While it doesn’t really matter which one is “better,” it’s always fun to have these kinds of debates. After examining each of his three goals individually, I’ve decided to go the sentimental route and give it to his first goal as a pro. In the end, all three goals were very good and none of the three really stuck out over the others. Each had moments of exceptional skill. On the first goal he made a nice run into space and kept his composure to chip a lovely finish over the goalkeeper.
Young American Matthew Hoppe with the cheeky chip for Schalke! pic.twitter.com/VNNRZE2TVz— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) January 9, 2021
Hoppe converts the Hatty
His other two tallies against Hoffenheim were just as good. The second of which showcased some nice off-the-ball movement to get in behind the back line. Instead of trying another quick finish, he showed his composure once more to round the goalkeeper and slot a shot into the empty goal. Another great piece of skill from the 19-year-old.
The finale was a bit of a hybrid of both of the first two as Hoppe made another nice angled run in behind and chipped another cheeky finish over the goalkeeper. Unfortunately there weren’t any good uncopyrighted clips of the second goal, so here is a clip of all three. You can decide for yourselves which goal was the best of the bunch.
In Schalke's hour of need, 19-year-old Matthew Hoppe stepped up with the first ever Bundesliga hat-trick by an American player— Bundesliga English (@Bundesliga_EN) January 9, 2021
What dreams are made of ✨ pic.twitter.com/CfZYuMBVWG
Matthew Olosunde off the mark
Hoppe wasn’t the only American to get his first goal as a professional in Europe this past weekend. Olympic-eligible fullback Matthew Olosunde scored for Rotherham United in the club’s 2-1 loss to Everton in the FA Cup. While it wasn’t the most beautiful goal, it’s still a great moment in the career of a promising player.
If we missed any goal highlights from the depths of the USMNT player pool let us know in the comments below.