Americans Abroad: Miazga captains Vitesse and scores

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The on-loan defender wore the armband Sunday and helped his team lock up a spot in the Eredivisie Europa League playoff

Matt Miazga’s last game of the Eredivisie league season was certainly a memorable one.

The center back was handed the captain’s armband for the match against Willem II, as regular captain Guram Kashia was given a rest. And while things didn’t get off to a great start as Vitesse went down 1-0 in the first half, Miazga stepped up in the second 45.

The defender headed home a corner kick in the 63rd minute to level the score at 1-1. Though Willem II did get a go-ahead goal seven minutes later, Vitesse would find another equalizer and the game finished 2-2.

The point ensured a sixth place finish for Miazga and Vitesse, which offers a place in the Eredivisie Europa League playoff. While Vitesse didn’t fare well in this year’s edition of the continental competition, they could have the opportunity to go back if they can secure a pair of two-leg playoff victories.

Whether Miazga is there or not next season, regardless of outcome, is still a question as the defender remains on loan from Chelsea. But with a strong season in which he’s cemented himself as a starter, the defender appears to have done exactly what he needed to do with his loan.


Gall finds the net for third straight game


While many Americans abroad are seeing their seasons wind down, Romain Gall’s is heating up.

The Swedish Allsvenskan is seven games into its campaign and Gall finds himself near the top of the league’s scoring charts after adding another tally this weekend.

With Sundsvall trailing 4-1 in the second half, Gall took a shot in the area that deflected off Bjorn Paulsen for an own goal. While Gall might have been unfortunate not to get credit for that one, he left no doubt by striking a low drive from the edge of the area four minutes later to cut the score to 4-3. Unfortunately for Sundsvall, that’s how it ended.

Gall has now scored in three straight Allsvenskan matches, with four goals in those three games. He also added two goals in the Swedish Cup in February.

Not bad for a player who a few years ago found himself at a crossroads in the game and gambling on a chance in a completely different country.


Corona goes 90 as America advances to semifinal


Joe Corona Club America Pumas UNAM Liga MX

Multiple Americans will be taking part in the semifinals of the Liga MX Liguilla, but only two got starts in the quarterfinals.

Joe Corona didn’t play in America’s 4-1 win over Pumas UNAM in the opening leg, but went the full 90 in the second leg, a 2-1 win. Corona and America will square off against Jorge Villafana and Santos Laguna in the semifinals.

Villafana actually went only 35 minutes in the first leg, as he was sacrificed as Santos Laguna needed to make changes against Tigres. While it didn’t change the result in the first leg, a 2-0 defeat, Santos rallied in the second leg for a 2-0 victory, which moved them on. Villafana did not play in the second leg, but might return at some point in the semifinal.

Meanwhile, while Michael Orozco has not played much for Tijuana down the stretch, he did come on in the second half of their first-leg draw with Monterrey. He got a cameo in Xolos’ 2-1 second-leg win, which sees the club face off against Toluca in the semifinals. Rubio Rubin also appeared in the second leg.


Ream and Fulham miss out on automatic promotion


Tim Ream and Fulham turned out to be one win from the Premier League. Now they’ll have to do it the hard way.

Fulham, which had not lost since Jan.6, faced off against Birmingham, which was trying to avoid relegation from the Championship. But it was Birmingham which came away with the three points, emerging with a 3-1 win and saving itself from the drop. Ream went 90 minutes, as usual, in the defeat. 

Cardiff City’s scoreless draw at the same time meant a Fulham win would have seen the Cottagers move into second place and book their return to the Premier League for next season. Instead they must go through the more difficult route, and make it through the promotion playoff. A showdown with Derby County is up first with the opening leg taking place on May 11.


McKennie goes 90, Chandler injured


Weston McKennie Schalke Augsburg Bundesliga

It was a mixed week for Americans in the Bundesliga.

Weston McKennie by far had the best week, coming in for the suspended Nabil Bentaleb and going the full 90 minutes in a Schalke victory that locked up Champions League qualification for next season.

The rest of the Americans could have had better times. While Timothy Chandler got the start at center back against Bobby Wood and Hamburg, he was forced off due to injury just 22 minutes in. That may put Chandler’s chances of playing in the DFB-Pokal final against Bayern Munich in a few weeks in doubt.

Meanwhile, Eintracht Frankfurt got the 3-0 win, meaning Wood and Hamburg need a victory in their final game to even make the relegation playoff.

If they do manage to escape next week, it will be at the expense of John Brooks and Wolfsburg. Brooks was on the bench as Wolfsburg was hammered 4-1 by RB Leipzig – their third straight multi-goal loss.

Christian Pulisic and Borussia Dortmund don’t face anything that dire, but a Champions League place does go down to the final day. Pulisic was a nonfactor in a disappointing 2-1 loss to Mainz that guaranteed the visitors a place in next season’s Bundesliga. The teenager, meanwhile, was subbed out before the hour mark in a forgettable outing.


Free Kicks


Geoff Cameron Stoke City pregame

– It looks like Geoff Cameron’s stay in the Premier League may be over as Stoke City were relegated following a loss to Crystal Palace this weekend. Cameron has seen his playing time reduced drastically under Paul Lambert, so it remains to be seen where he fits in the future plans of the club.

– Darmstadt 98 has ridden an unlikely 10-game unbeaten run out of the relegation zone in the 2.Bundesliga. Terrence Boyd came on as a late sub for the Lillies in their latest win, a 3-0 victory over Jahn Regensburg (The in-form Jann-Christopher George was suspended due to yellow card accumulation for Regensburg). The club isn’t safe yet, but can guarantee it with a victory next week in the league finale against fellow regelation threatened Erzgebirge Aue.

– Julian Green will be another American with plenty to play for in the last week of his club’s season. The on-loan attacker went 66 minutes for Greuther Furth in a 2-2 draw with Duisburg. In an automatic relegation place, they need a victory against Heidenheim to get to safety.

– One player who will not be escaping relegation is Lynden Gooch after Sunderland was relegated from the Championship a few weeks ago. Gooch was not in the 18 for a meaningless 3-0 victory over Championship winner Wolverhampton on the final day of the season.

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