It’s been a long time coming for Terrence Boyd.
After coming up through the Bundesliga youth ranks with Hertha Berlin and Borussia Dortmund, Boyd left Germany for Rapid Wien in Austria. Boyd had success in Vienna before returning to Germany with RB Leipzig. After a severe injury cost him his place when Leipzig was promoted to the top division, Boyd decided to make the move to Bundesliga bottom-feeder Darmstadt this January.
And at least for a day, that move couldn’t have worked out any better.
With Darmstadt struggling for any type of result, and facing his former team Dortmund, Boyd picked the perfect time to find the back of the net for his first goal in the Bundesliga.
The goal gave the hosts a surprising 1-0 edge, though Dortmund would equalize near the half. Boyd exited in the 59th minute, but Darmstadt would have the last laugh, with Boyd’s replacement Antonio Colak scoring eight minutes after his entrance. The Bundesliga strugglers actually had chances to increase the edge but walked away with a deserved 2-1 victory anyway.
It was an early birthday present for the striker, who turns 26 on Thursday.
”I’m just relieved that it finally happened and to help my team win today,” Boyd said after the match. “It was just a tremendous team because we all had to defend like crazy today and eventually it paid off.”
Darmstadt still has a long way to go to escape relegation, as it is seven points off 15th-placed Hamburg. But that win could be the start of something, for both Darmstadt and Boyd.
Meanwhile, it was a very quiet outing for Christian Pulisic as he and Dortmund lacked ideas to break down Darmstadt’s defense. Considering that Darmstadt was continuing to go at Dortmund, even while holding the lead late, the visitors' inability to score multiple times against the worst team in the Bundesliga will give Thomas Tuchel plenty of concerns as his team struggles in its quest for a guaranteed Champions League spot for 2017-18.
AMERICANS START EVERY BUNDESLIGA MATCH SATURDAY
There were six Bundesliga matches Saturday and an American started in every one. Boyd started for Darmstadt against Pulisic and Dortmund. Fabian Johnson returned to Borussia Monchengladbach’s XI and went the full 90 in his side’s 1-0 win over Werder Bremen. He didn’t contribute to the lone goal of the contest, but seeing Johnson go the distance is sure to make U.S. fans smile. Aron Johannsson did check in for Bremen off the bench, but didn’t do anything notable.
It was happy days for Bobby Wood and Hamburg, who are now three points clear of the relegation playoff. Wood didn’t score, but won seven aerial duels in the surprise 3-0 road victory over second-placed RB Leipzig.
The rest of the Americans in the Bundesliga didn’t fare as well as Boyd, Wood and Johnson. Timmy Chandler got the start for Eintracht Frankfurt and went the full 90 in a 3-0 loss to Bayer Leverkusen, which got a brace from Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez. Chandler was arguably slow to react to Hernandez being left alone on the back post on the opener, though he may not have been the defender’s man.
Alfredo Morales and Ingolstadt nearly earned a valuable point against leader Bayern Munich. But Arturo Vidal’s goal in the 90th minute, followed by Arjen Robben’s insurance maker in stoppage time, gave Bayern the win. Morales had been steady, but could potentially be faulted for not closing down Thomas Muller, who delivered the ball on Vidal’s winner.
John Brooks and Hertha were unable to build off their win last week, falling away at Schalke 2-0.
ZELALEM OPENS VVV ACCOUNT
Gedion Zelalem’s loan to Dutch second-division side VVV Venlo isn’t going to excite someone tracking the progress of young Americans. But exciting or not, Zelalem needs to show well to merit himself greater opportunities, whether at VVV, Arsenal or elsewhere.
Zelalem has yet to start for the second-division leaders, but he has notched his first goal. Coming in his second game, Zelalem capped a VVV rout, scoring the seventh goal in his side’s 7-0 victory over Helmond Sport on Friday.
Again, this isn’t the type of thing that’s going to get Zelalem into the U.S. national team picture. But he needs to take his chances when he gets them, and goals are better than the alternative.
GEOFF CAMERON NEARING STOKE CITY RETURN
The number of Americans in the English Premier League these days has dwindled to near zero. But one who remains, defender Geoff Cameron, looks to be making strides after being sidelined since October with an MCL strain.
“Geoff has had a good week or so, and all being well he will join in with the group for the warm-up session on Friday,” Stoke City manager Mark Hughes said during the pre-match news conference last week.
“Hopefully there are no issues after that and then he can join in full training next week, which would be a huge boost for him and for us.”
Hughes, following Stoke’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace to move the club up to ninth in the league, also mentioned Cameron as “someone who could benefit” from the extra week of training. With Stoke out of the FA Cup, the Potters' next match won’t take place until Feb. 26 against Tottenham.
If Cameron can get back to full fitness by that match, the timeline will sync up well for U.S. fans as he might be able to get three or four games under his belt before the national team’s World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and Panama. A healthy Cameron is almost certain to start those games for Bruce Arena’s side.
HYNDMAN AND RANGERS FACE UNCERTAINTY
While Emerson Hyndman’s loan at Rangers could not have gotten off to a much better start with two goals thus far, things around him at the Glasgow club could be going a little better.
Friday saw the shocking and confusing resignation of manager Mark Warburton. When the dust settles however, Rangers will have a new manager, and Hyndman will have a new boss to impress.
Caretaker manager Graeme Murty started Hyndman this weekend against Greenock Morton in the Scottish Cup and the midfielder again showed well. While he did not score, he did clip the crossbar, and was involved in the build-up to the winning goal that sent Rangers into the quarterfinals.
While his flying start will help his cause, Warburton is the manager who wanted Hyndman in Glasgow. A new manager may have a different style or desire different players, and given that Hyndman is on loan, there’s potentially less to gain for the manager if he does not think the player will be present long term.
It’s a situation that bears watching. But for now, Hyndman will just have to keep up with his performance. Do that, and he’ll make it hard for any new manager not to put him into the 18.