Americans Abroad: U.S. national teamers battle for Premier League promotion

Richard Heathcote
Multiple Americans are on the hunt for a chance to play in England's top division next season, but, at most, two will get the opportunity

There are just three Americans currently playing in the Premier League — Geoff Cameron, Brad Guzan and Lynden Gooch. And of those three, Guzan is joining Atlanta United in the summer while Gooch has been hurt and is playing for a club, Sunderland, that is likely headed down to the Championship next year.

But despite the current situation, Cameron will not be the only American in England’s top division next year, as one player's team booked its ticket to the top flight this week and several others are still in contention for promotion.

DeAndre Yedlin and Newcastle United clinched promotion thanks to a 4-1 win over Preston on Monday. Yedlin had cemented himself as an every-week starter for Rafa Benitez’s side before his injury, and now that he is back, the right back could use a strong finish to the campaign to make it clear he’s capable of playing at the higher level next season.

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Midfielder Danny Williams hasn’t been able to find his way into non-friendlies for the United States as of late, but he remains frequently mentioned as a potential option in the midfield. A promotion to the Premier League will certainly bolster those chances, and Williams and Reading will have to fight through the playoffs to secure a place in the top flight next year.

Williams has been a consistent starter for Reading this season with 39 appearances and 36 starts out of the club’s 44 games in 2016-17. Should Reading make its way back to the EPL, Williams is likely to have a place in the side.

Tim Ream Fulham Championship 030717

Center back Tim Ream and Fulham are into the promotion playoff spots on the strength of four straight wins. Like Williams, Ream has been consistently in the lineup for Fulham, starting 26 games this season, so he would likely be in the mix to keep his spot if Fulham goes up.

The Cottagers have the third-best goal differential in the Championship and are peaking at the right time. However, a spot in the playoffs is not guaranteed — Leeds United is just three points back with two games left.

Sitting in fourth is Huddersfield Town, managed by former U.S. international David Wagner. While they had been third and pushing for an automatic promotion place for much of the year, a recent dip in form leaves them unlikely to secure that spot. However, they are likely to be in the promotion playoff.

While Yedlin will be in the Premier League next year, only one team can emerge from the promotion playoff. That means at most, only one of Williams, Ream or Wagner will have a chance to ply their trade in England’s top league next year. And should either Sheffield Wednesday or Leeds get that spot, Yedlin will be the only American moving up for 2017-18.


Bobby Wood Hamburg Bundesliga 042217

On the flip side, three Americans in the Bundesliga are fighting to stay there with four games remaining.

Bobby Wood and Hamburg had a great chance to shore up their status at home against bottom-of-the-table Darmstadt on Saturday. Coming off a knee injury, Wood started for Hamburg but struggled to make an impact as the hosts fell 2-1.

That leaves Hamburg 15th in the Bundesliga, just one point above the relegation playoff. Wood and Hamburg can still survive — they are level on points with two other sides and just three off Leverkusen in 12th —  but their lousy goal difference means they’ll lose the tiebreaker to almost every team in the league.

Alfredo Morales and Ingolstadt are in a far worse position, sitting on 28 points, four off Augsburg for the relegation-playoff spot and five off Hamburg. While Morales seems back in as a starter, he may well be starting in the 2. Bundesliga next season.

Terrence Boyd and Darmstadt are likely headed down. On 21 points, 12 off Hamburg and safety, 11 from Augsburg and owning the worst goal difference in the league, there’s probably no way back for Darmstadt despite the surprise victory this weekend.

That may not be the worst thing for Boyd, who has not played for Darmstadt since March 5. It can take a while to come back from a severe injury and it does not appear the striker is fully recovered yet. A drop down to the second division, provided it comes with playing time, might help Boyd recover the form that made him such an intriguing prospect a few years ago.


Christian Pulisic Borussia Dortmund Bundesliga 042217

Christian Pulisic was back in Borussia Dortmund’s starting lineup against Borussia Moenchengladbach on Saturday. Much like his last start, Pulisic did not wait long to make an impact. After picking up an assist last week, this week he drew a penalty, which Marco Reus finished off.

The Champions League title dream for Dortmund is over, but a huge matchup remains for the side this week as it faces Bayern Munich in the DFB Pokal semifinals. In addition, while Dortmund will almost certainly make next year’s Champions League, it is in a battle with Hoffenheim to claim the automatic place in the group stage of the competition.

In other words, there are going to be plenty of chances for Pulisic to make a potentially big impact for his club down the stretch, whether it comes as a starter or impact substitute.


Joe Corona Tijuana Liga MX 042117

Joe Corona’s strong Clausura with Tijuana continued Friday night, as he scored the winning goal in his side’s 2-0 victory over Toluca.

The goal was Corona’s second of the season for Tijuana as he continues his resurgence.

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Will it be enough to get Corona back into the national team picture, a place he hasn’t been since 2015? Current U.S. national team coach Bruce Arena has not hesitated to call up Americans in Liga MX, with Omar Gonzalez, Michael Orozco, Paul Arriola and Jorge Villafana all being on the March World Cup qualifying roster at some point.