Picault, 28, had five goals and five assists in 35 appearances for Philadelphia this season, his third in MLS. He scored 17 times with eight assists his first two seasons in the league, and his next appearance will be his 100th in the league. He earned caps for the USMNT in 2016 and 2018.
As for the Re-Entry draft, Mikey Ambrose is headed from Atlanta United to first-year club Inter Miami CF, while fellow expansion side Nashville SC has selected Eric Miller from New York City FC.
A pair of goalkeepers are also moving, with Richard Sanchez going from Chicago to Sporting KC and Kendall McIntosh heads from Portland to the New York Red Bulls.
Both players broke through the lines for their finishes, though Picault’s goal (below) was the better of the runs and finishes.
2.Bundesliga mainstay Przybylko won favor with curtain despite bringing a history of foot injuries to the United States. After scoring three goals in two USL matches, he’s scored in both of his MLS appearances.
Toronto FC’s points-per-game is a bit higher through seven games and fellow 10-gamers DC United and Montreal Impact are also on 17 points, but life is sweet for Jim Curtin’s men.
As for FCC, the expansion side is ahead of only New England in the East.
31′ — Picault slams Bedoya’s cross — Alejandro Bedoya’s cross has some serious loft on it, which it makes it so tough to keep the ensuing shot low and to hit it with such power. Fantastic finish from Picault.
70′ — Blake stone-walls Neagle from the spot — It’s a pretty poor penalty from Lamar Neagle, but it’s a massive moment so badly needed by Andre Blake who’s been well off his own standard this season. Don’t be surprised if it’s a season-turning save for the talented Jamaican.
67′ — Martinez turns and beats Howard for the game’s only goal — You can’t give Josef Martinez this kind of space, and this kind of time, around the six-yard box. He’s shown us seven times already this season (in just seven games) how deadly he is from there.
He broke out last season, scoring four goals and adding two assists in 16 appearances last season. The former NASL player was capped by Klinsmann in May, going 19 minutes in a 3-1 win over Puerto Rico.
Philadelphia is the top spot for Picault, according to Bild and translated by VAVEL reporter Jonny Walsh. It’s just agent talk, but we’d like to get a closer look at the American man.
Bild: Fafa Picault's agent, Alessio Secco says "several MLS clubs are interested" in Picault and Philadelphia Union lead that race. #FCSP
The side will have an injection of talent and first-choice players for this week’s Copa America Centenario preparation matches against Bolivia and Ecuador, and those will deserve some real inspection. But for today, three things will do.
Bobby Wood up to plenty of good
It’s been so long since we saw an in-form club striker bring that confidence to the United States set up. Even if the opponent was Puerto Rico, it was refreshing to watch Bobby Wood put in more than an hour of “Nope. You’re not stopping me” up top.
The new Hamburg forward sounded like a veteran after scoring his fifth international goal, a bullish run through the box complete with a calm finish in the face of chaos.
“We’re just looking forward to gradually growing as a team. We’re going to take it step by step and hopefully reach our peak by the Copa.”
If he’s not at his peak already, we’re in for something special.
Good day for debutants
Both Paul Arriola and substitute Fafa Picault made their international debuts, and both did plenty to impress.
Arriola was especially solid. The diminutive Club Tijuana winger worked well with Wood, showed a nose for where the ball was going, and even tapped in a goal to go with his assist.
As for Picault, we only got a limited sample size of the St. Pauli man, but he showed good speed and plenty of unpredictability. Given the opponent and a longer stint, a goal would’ve felt inevitable.
Defense/goalkeeper in fits and starts
Michael Orozco wasn’t an absolute nightmare this go-round, but he didn’t inspire a lot of faith that he could be an answer if Geoff Cameron or John Brooks pick up a knock during next month’s tournament. DeAndre Yedlin had a good turn at right back, and has definitely scooped up confidence from his time at Sunderland. Tim Ream scored a goal, but the Fulham man didn’t have his best days on the outside. Eric Lichaj showed us what we’re missing at left back, but Klinsmann didn’t include either in his Copa roster.
We know Brad Guzan is a pretty good ‘keeper in his own right, and he also has experience playing behind leaky back lines (Cough. Aston Villa. Cough), but he was way off his line on Puerto Rico’s goal. Still, we want to see a strong performance against either Ecuador or Bolivia, because right now there’s not confidence oozing from the big veteran. Tim Howard wasn’t really tested as the No. 2.