John Brooks has climbed out of the doghouse at Hertha Berlin to play himself back into World Cup consideration, capping his team's latest win with a game-winning goalWhen 2014 began, John Brooks was stuck on the bench at Hertha Berlin, having fallen out of favor and no longer looking like a can’t-miss prospect for club and country.
Getting injured didn’t help his cause early on, and the calendar year was turning into a nightmare rather than the dream 2014 he was hoping for. Things looked like they might be hitting bottom when Brooks reportedly angered his club coach because of a back tattoo he received, which forced him to miss practice time.
Brooks overcame that misstep and fought his way back into a starting role. This past weekend he delivered a winning goal in a shutout victory, helping Hertha Berlin post a 2-0 win against last-place Eintracht Braunschweig.
The German-American's recent form for Hertha Berlin has come at an ideal time for the 21-year-old defender, who looks like a good bet to be called in to the U.S. national team’s pre-World Cup training camp.
Two of the central defenders fighting Brooks for a pre-World Cup camp spot squared off in England this weekend. Tim Ream and Bolton rolled to a 3-1 victory against Oguchi Onyewu and Sheffield Wednesday. Both Americans went the full 90 minutes, but it was Ream who drew raves after the match while Onyewu was panned for a poor performance.
Brooks wasn’t the only German-American to have a good weekend. Terrence Boyd scored two goals for the second straight match, delivering a double in Rapid Vienna’s 2-1 victory against Red Bull Salzburg. Meanwhile, in Germany, Timmy Chandler made his return from a serious hamstring injury to start and play 45 minutes in FC Nurnberg’s 2-0 loss to Mainz 05 on Saturday. Chandler had been sidelined for more than two months before Saturday’s appearance.
It was a rough weekend for Americans in the Premier League, as all who earned starts this weekend suffered defeats. Tim Howard watched Everton’s Champions League hopes all but disappear after dropping a 2-0 loss to Southampton on Saturday. Brad Guzan and Aston Villa suffered a 4-1 loss to Swansea City that has the Villains just three points out of the relegation zone with three matches to play. Geoff Cameron and Stoke City dropped a 1-0 decision to Tottenham on Saturday.
Jozy Altidore failed to make it off the bench for Sunderland on Sunday, but did watch his Black Cats post an emphatic 4-0 victory against Cardiff City. The win propelled Sunderland out of the relegation zone, and puts the team’s fate in its own hands with three matches left in the season.
In the Netherlands, Juan Agudelo came off the bench and delivered an assist in FC Utrecht’s 4-1 loss to Heerenveen on Sunday. Aron Johannsson started in AZ Alkmaar’s 2-1 win over ADO Den Haag on Saturday.
In France, Alejandro Bedoya played the full 90 minutes in FC Nantes’ 1-1 draw with Marseille. In Norway, Michael Stephens played 90 minutes in Stabaek’s 2-1 win against Bodo Glimt.
In Mexico, Club Tijuana lost 2-1 to Club Leon on Friday its final regular season match of the Clausura campaign. Xolos still managed to qualify for the playoffs after losses by Morelia, Atlas, and Chivas Guadalajara kept Tijuana in the Liguilla.
Jose Torres continued his impressive Clausura campaign for UANL Tigres by registering an assist in his team’s 2-1 win against Atlas on Saturday.