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Americans Abroad: Holmes picks up assist in big Derby County win

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With a number of Americans abroad picking up injuries or struggling for form, one American in England is stepping up his game to take the mantle of top American abroad.

Duane Holmes battled through two midfielders before feeding Chris Martin for a goal as Derby County routed Stoke City, 4-0. It’s Holmes second-straight game with an assist and he’s suddenly having a bigger impact on the game since the arrival of Wayne Rooney, his new attacking midfield partner.

Here is a list of several other USMNT affiliates making a name for themselves (or not) abroad this weekend.

Premier League/Championship

DeAndre Yedlin, Newcastle — Yedlin started but picked up a yellow card and only played 54 minutes in a disappointing performance for the fullback. Newcastle finished in a scoreless draw on Saturday with Norwich City.

Duane Holmes, Derby County — Holmes started, went the full 90 minutes, and picked up an assist in Derby County’s 4-0 win over Stoke City.

Matt Miazga, Reading (loan from Chelsea) — The 24-year-old captain was out of the gameday squad for Reading’s 1-1 draw with Cardiff due to an ankle injury. He has a grade II ankle ligament strain, and is expected to be out 4-6 weeks from late January. 

Eric Lichaj, Hull City — The Tigers’ defender started and played 90 minutes in Hull’s 5-1 loss to Brentford.

Geoff Cameron, QPR — The 34-year-old defender did not make the gameday roster for QPR’s 1-0 defeat to Bristol City.

Tim Ream, Fulham — Ream did not feature in Fulham’s gameday roster for its 3-2 win over Huddersfield Town

Cameron Carter-Vickers, Luton Town — The Tottenham loanee played his first match for last-place Luton Town, coming off the bench for the final 17 minutes in a 2-0 defeat to first place West Bromwich Albion

Ligue 1

Timothy Weah, Lille — Weah didn’t feature on the field or on Lille’s bench this weekend.

Theoson Jordan-Siebatcheu, Rennes — Jordon-Siebatcheu watched Rennes beat Nantes, 3-2 from the bench.

Eredivisie

Haji Wright, VVV-Venlo — Wright started and played the full 90 minutes in Venlo’s 1-1 draw with Utrecht.

Sergino Dest, Ajax — Dest started and played 90 minutes in Ajax’s 1-0 win over rivals PSV Eindhoven. Dest was taken out in the box and arguably should have drawn a penalty kick.

Desevio Payne, FC Emmen — The U-23 MNT fullback didn’t dress for FC Emmen on Saturday in it’s 3-0 defeat to Feyenoord.

Bundesliga

Timmy Chandler, Eintracht Frankfurt — The veteran fullback played the full 90 and scored a diving header in the 93rd minute to save a point for Frankfurt against Fortuna Dusseldorf.

Tyler Adams, RB Leipzig — Adams started and played 69 minutes for Leipzig in a 2-2 draw with Borussia Monchengladbach as he works his way back from injury.

Weston McKennie, Schalke — McKennie continued his comeback from injury with a second-straight substitute appearance, this time coming on in the 90th minute of Schalke’s 0-0 draw with Jurgen Klinsmann’s Hertha Berlin.

Zack Steffen, Fortuna Dusseldorf — Steffen is inactive with an injury.

Alfredo Morales, Fortuna Dusseldorf — Morales started and played 90 minutes in Fortuna’s 1-1 draw with Eintracht Frankfurt.

Josh Sargent, Werder Bremen  The 19-year-old played just three minutes off the bench in Bremen’s 2-1 defeat to Augsburg.

John Brooks, Wolfsburg John Brooks didn’t come off the bench in Wolfsburg’s 2-2 draw with Paderborn. It was his second-straight game on the bench.

Fabian Johnson, Borussia Mönchengladbach — Johnson was back on the bench for Monchengladbach, making a last-moment appearance

Giovanni Reyna, Borussia Dortmund Reyna came off the bench for his third Bundesliga appearance in the 77th minute, replacing instant icon Erling Haland.

Honorable Mentions

Tyler Boyd, Besiktas — Boyd came off the bench in the 74th minute of Besiktas’ 2-1 win over Rizespor.

Actors Reynolds, McElhenney bid to invest in Wrexham AFC

Wrexham AFC
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“The Gang Buys a Football Team?”

“It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia” actor Rob McElhenney and “Deadpool” star Ryan Reynolds are said to be in talks to buy National League side Wrexham AFC, reports The Guardian.

[ MORE: ProSoccerTalk unfiltered, Week 2 ]

The Welsh club, nicknamed the Red Dragons, was founded in 1855 and made it to the European Cup Winners’ Cup eight times between 1972-96.

They’ve since been relegated out of the Football League, dipping out of League Two in 2008.

McElhenney and Reynolds have bid to take over the club, and the Wrexham Supporters Trust says 97.5 percent of their members voted to allow the actors to propose their vision for the club before a second vote.

From wst.org.uk:

As a result, talks with the proposed bidders will now continue and we are in a position to confirm the two people interested in investing in Wrexham AFC.

Rob McElhenney is an American actor, director, producer and screenwriter, best known as the creator of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Ryan Reynolds is an award-winning Canadian actor, writer, producer and business entrepreneur whose credits include Marvel’s Deadpool.

It’s gotta get McElhenney’s goat that Reynolds gets the “award-winning” adjective added to his name.

Either way, this is definitely an intriguing club for investment and the potential addition of Reynolds and McElhenney to the fray would only increase the interest in Wrexham AFC.

Deadpool and Mac would be quite a combo in the transfer market.

Arteta drawn into Ozil discussion, reacts to Liverpool doubleheader

Arteta on Ozil
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Mikel Arteta did his best not to give a soundbite that included Mesut Ozil’s name following Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Leicester City in League Cup action on Wednesday.

Ozil, 31, has not played since assisting the lone goal in a March 7 win over West Ham and has since only twice even made the bench (June 20 and 25).

[ MORE: ProSoccerTalk unfiltered, Week 2 ]

Asked six times about the German, Arteta painted in broad strokes before mentioning Ozil in the second set of questions.

Arteta said that Ozil simply hasn’t warranted a place in an 18. This is how he responded when asked if he understood why there are so many questions about a player who has 44 goals and 77 assists in 254 appearances for the Gunners.

From Football.London:

“Of course I understand and I respect your questions but I have to try to do my job as fair as possible. I try to select the players that are, in my opinion, in better condition.”

Okay then.

As for Wednesday’s win, the Gunners broke through on a Christian Fuchs own goal before sealing the deal on Eddie Nketiah’s marker just before the final whistle.

Arsenal was outshot 15-10 but both teams were decidedly second-string. Now the Gunners get consecutive affairs at Anfield, as Liverpool is the hosts for a Monday meeting in the Premier League and a League Cup fourth round tie days later.

Arteta was asked how big of a test that will be for the Gunners.

“You can imagine, probably the toughest place to go in Europe or the world. That’s the fixtures, we have to go there. Let’s go first on Monday, let’s prepare well and see how it goes.”

Arsenal beat Liverpool 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium in July to deny the Reds a 100-point season, weeks after the Reds clinched the Premier League title. The Gunners again topped Liverpool in the Community Shield one month later.

The atmosphere and stakes will be high again next week. Surely Arteta can’t go 4-0 against Jurgen Klopp, right? Right?

Leicester City’s Rodgers: Gruesome Ndidi injury could cost him 12 weeks

Ndidi injury
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For every team, there’s an indispensible player and it’s difficult to argue against Leicester City’s player being Wilfred Ndidi.

The groin injury that kept the Nigerian out of Leicester’s 2-0 home loss to Arsenal in the League Cup could require surgery, said Foxes boss Brendan Rodgers after the game.

[ MORE: ProSoccerTalk unfiltered, Week 2 ]

One of the game’s top destroyers, Ndidi had played two matches at center back as Leicester opened the season 2-0.

Rodgers could hardly have made the injury sound more painful.

From The Leicester Mercury:

“We’re just waiting to hear more on that but it could be anything between six and 12 weeks,” Rodgers said. “It’s a groin abductor which may have come off the bone, which is quite a nasty one. We’re waiting to see if he needs an operation or not. If he does, it will be at least 12 weeks.”

Leicester missed Ndidi for five-of-six games in early 2020 and went 2D-3L, starting a skid that ended up costing them Champions League football.

The 23-year-old already has 34 caps for Nigeria.

The Foxes have Nampalys Mendy, Hamza Choudhury, and Daniel Amartey amongst their defensive midfield options.

They next face Man City, West Ham, Aston Villa, and Arsenal in Premier League play. Leicester will learn its Europa League group on Oct. 2 before beginning its UEL run the week of Oct. 22.

Champions League: Six-goal thriller in Norway; Marsch’s Salzburg lead

Champions League qualifying
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The UEFA Champions League qualifying playoff round is delivering entertainment, with six first legs dotting the European landscape over the past 27 hours.

[ MORE: ProSoccerTalk unfiltered, Week 2 ]

American coach Jesse Marsch saw his Red Bull Salzburg take a first leg advantage home from Israel, while U.S. right back Henry Wingo and Molde played the game of the round so far against Hungary’s Ferencvaros.


Maccabi Tel-Aviv 1-2 Red Bull Salzburg

The Austrian visitors were heavy favorites, especially with the hosts dealing with positive COVID-19 tests, but Maccabi took a ninth-minute lead through Dan Biton.

But young Dominik Szoboszlai’s Man of the Match showing began with a goal in the 49th minute and Masaya Okugawan gave Salzburg the lead eight minutes later ahead of next week’s second leg in Austria.

Molde 3-3 Ferencvaros

A thriller in Norway saw the hosts erase a 2-0 deficit only to hand a big away goals advantage to the Hungarian visitors with minutes to play.

Ferencvaros scored early in each half through Franck Boli and Myrto Uzuni. Both goals were set up by Endre Botka and Ferencvaros looked set to cruise through the first leg.

Molde snapped awake through former Manchester United, Cardiff City, and Seattle Sounders man Magnus Wolff Eikrem, who set up Leke James in the 55th minute before scoring a classy goal that was started on the right flank by fellow ex-Sounder and American export Henry Wingo.

Martin Ellingsen gave Molde its first lead in the 83rd, but Ihor Kharatin made it 3-3 four minutes later to send Ferencvaros back to Hungary with three away goals. A draw any less insane would be enough for them to head to the group stage.

Elsewhere

Gent 1-2 Dynamo Kiev
Olympiakos 2-0 Omonia Nicosia
Krasnodar 2-1 PAOK
Slavia Prague 0-0 Midtjylland

Second legs

Sept. 29
Ferencvaros v Molde
Dynamo Kiev v Gent
Omonia v Olympiakos

Sept. 30 
Midtjylland v Slavia Prague
PAOK v Krasnodar
Red Bull Salzburg v Maccabi Tel-Aviv