South Korean side Ulsan Hyundai confirmed its place in the knockout stages of the 2019 AFC Champions League thanks to a 1-0 win over Sydney FC early Tuesday morning. The game’s only goal came in the 60th minute and it was scored by U.S. international Mix Diskerud in glittering fashion.
With the American at the Korean club on loan from Manchester City, Diskerud continued Ulsan Hyundai’s undefeated group stage with a backheel strike, taking a square cross from In-seong Kim and depositing it inside the far post despite his back to goal. The goal is Diskerud’s fourth with the club since joining in January and his first in the AFC Champions League.
The win for Ulsan clinched the top spot in Group G on 11 points through five matches, with Chinese side Shanghai SIPG in a distant second on six points. In fact, they have the second-most points of the entire group stage to this point, behind the 12 collected by Saudi side Al-Hilal, and they are one of just three unbeaten teams across the group stage.
Diskerud has been a regular in the Ulsan lineup, seeing the starting lineup in all but one of the club’s games since he joined. They have lost just three of those 16 matches, with Diskerud mostly playing a defensive midfield role.
At 28 years old Oslo-born American international is unlikely to see the Manchester City first team anytime soon, and his developmental years are behind him, but should Diskerud’s good club form continue wherever City desides to send him on loan, he could most certainly find himself in the mix for a place in the USMNT squad as Gregg Berhalter continues to reorganize the international setup with a view towards the 2022 World Cup. Michael Bradley consistently occupies the holding midfield role even at 31 years old, but should Berhalter want depth at that position, Diskerud would undoubtedly be an option should he continue see consistent minutes and perform at his club.
Mix Diskerud’s fascinating career took another turn on Tuesday when the former U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder completed a move to South Korea.
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Ulsan Hyundai has confirmed a one-year loan signing of Diskerud from Premier League side Manchester City.
The 27-year-old midfielder joined the Citizens in January following his time in MLS with Eastern Conference side New York City FC.
Diskerud spent the last two seasons on loan at IFK Goteborg in the Swedish first division, including a stint with the club in the second half of the 2017/18 season after completing the move to Man City.
With his loan to South Korea, Diskerud becomes the first Premier League player to go to the Asian country, despite not having suited up for the defending English champions.
Mix Diskerud’s last 11 months are something else when laid out, line-by-line.
March 2017: Leaves NYCFC, on loan to Goteborg
December 2017: “Back” to NYCFC from Goteborg
Jan. 2018: Transfered from NYCFC to Man City
Friday: Back to Goteborg, on loan from Man City
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Diskerud, 27, seemed destined for a return to Goteborg after leaving Patrick Vieira’s NYCFC last season. He was a regular for the Swedish side at defensive mid and right mid, missing only one of 30 starts (yellow card accumulation).
But Manchester City bought his rights from NYCFC instead of Goteborg, and now Diskerud rejoins the club that very much appreciates him until… Man City says so?
Diskerud had five goals and four assists for Goteborg, one of their more effective players according to advanced stats site WhoScored.com.
Sportswear giant Umbro was first to the draw, announcing that Mix Diskerud was joining Premier League leaders Manchester City on a 4-1/2 year deal.
There was some initial confusion, but more legitimate reports – including ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle – are confirming that the former NYCFC midfielder will indeed join Man City, but is not likely to remain there for long. NBC Sports can confirm this report.
Diskerud has indeed signed on with Pep Guardiola‘s side, but he will not train with the first team, and City will be looking to loan him out or sell him outright. The signing is savvy business by City, as he joins on a free transfer with his NYCFC contract terminated.
The signing seems to signal a clear strategy by Manchester City, given the similarities to the Aaron Mooy signing and subsequent sale last season. The Australian midfielder played for Manchester City affiliate Melbourne City, and signed for the Premier League side for free before being immediately loaned to then-Championship club Huddersfield Town. Mooy played well to help the Terriers earn promotion, and eventually netted Man City $10 million on a permanent transfer.
The 27-year-old lost his starting place in the NYCFC midfield last season under Patrick Viera, making just 16 MLS appearances, 9 of those starts, and all coming before June 4th. He then went on loan to Swedish side IFK Goteborg, where he has been since December.
Diskerud will likely now use Manchester City to return to full match fitness and find another club. The move signals an appreciation by City Football Group for what Diskerud gave to NYCFC on and off the pitch, and his positive personality despite losing his place in the team. The signing is likely nothing more than a goodwill gesture to help him earn a new club, but never say never!
Diskerud was voted the most overrated player in Major League Soccer in an anonymous player poll conducted by ESPN before the 2016 season. He has made 38 appearances for the US National Team, making his debut under Bob Bradley but given a regular spot by Jurgen Klinsmann. He has not appeared for the USMNT since March of 2016, not even called in since Klinsmann was fired.
Mix Diskerud scored his first goal in 13 months, burying a 15-yard chance for new club Goteborg at Sirius on Sunday.
Goteborg is one of four teams with four points through two match days in Sweden’s Allsvenskan.
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Diskerud arrives to the party after a break down the right-wing came with a cross to the back post, and guides his shot back through traffic and into goal.