It was a relatively mundane week for Americans in the world of soccer in comparison to the whirlwind that has occurred lately. There were still a few bright spots among the overall quiet landscape that was.
Goal of the Week: Matthew Hoppe is on fire, your defense is terrified
In just about seven days, Schalke’s Matthew Hoppe has gone from obscure name thrown around in only the most diehard soccer fan chats to the name on every USMNT fan’s lips and/or finger tips. The 19-year-old striker followed up his stunning hat trick last week with another goal for the relegation-threatened Bundesliga side. It was the only goal for Schalke in a 3-1 loss.
Another game, another goal.— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) January 17, 2021
Young American Matthew Hoppe is on a tear! pic.twitter.com/AOinuBFgi5
While the defending by Frankfurt was ... ahem ... questionable, the young American deserves credit for putting the back line and goalkeeper under pressure and forcing the miscommunication. After realizing he would be able to beat both the centerback and keeper to the loose ball, he did incredibly well to find the back of the net.
It’s such a reactionary narrative to start throwing Hoppe’s name into the conversation for the USMNT’s striker position already, but that just goes to show you how desperate Gregg Berhalter’s side is for one of the many candidates to emerge as a clear favorite. Who knows how long this hot streak will last, but for now, Hoppe has all the attention and opportunity (assuming he can fight off Klaas-Jan Huntelaar for minutes) he could ask for. It’s up to him to see what he can do with both.
By SSFC law, the Goal of the Week award will be renamed the Matthew Hoppe Goal of the Week award when he inevitably wins it again next week. However, I’ve already run out of ‘hope’ cliché headlines so here’s to hoping someone else scores next week. Until then, feel free to give me your best headline ideas in the comments.
Brenden Aaronson scores in his Salzburg debut
It was in a friendly against a second-division side. Our fearless leader Donald wrote more about it in more detail here. Click the link and watch the goal. This is called clickbait.