Rapid Vienna

UEFA Champions League wrap: Celtic escapes through Boyata; Ajax draws

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Dedryck Boyata’s late winner has the purchase of the former Manchester City man looking even better, as Celtic netted a late win in its UEFA Champions League first leg against Qarabag.

The Azerbaijani champions nearly walked out of Celtic Park with a deadlock, but Boyata’s second goal in as many games did the trick for the Scottish powers. The 24-year-old defender also scored in the last round’s first leg versus Stjarnan.

The second leg is Wednesday back in Azerbaijan.

[ MORE: Swiss star Barnetta joins MLS; Orlando signs pair ]

The highest-profile match pitted Rapid Vienna against Ajax, and the Dutch side’s two away goals give it an advantage despite a deadlock in Austria.

Davy Klaassen scored both Ajax goals before halftime, but Rapid Vienna rallied to score in the 48th minute before tying it in the 75th despite being down to 10 men after a 58th minute straight red to Stefan Schwab.

Other first legs

source: Getty Images
Salzburg’s Benno Schmitz (L) stops a ball watched by Felipe Carvalho of Malmo (JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images)

HJK Helsinki 0-0 Astana
Red Bull Salzburg 2-0 Malmo
Steaua Bucharest 1-1 Partizan Belgrade
Lech Poznan 1-3 FC Basel
CSKA Moscow 2-2 Sparta Prague
Midtjylland 1-2 Apoel Nicosia
Milsami Orhei 0-2 Skenderbeu Korce
Maccabi Tel Aviv 1-2 Viktoria Plzen
Fenerbahce 0-0 Shakhtar Donetsk
Panathinaikos 2-1 Club Brugge
BSC Young Boys 1-3 AS Monaco
Videoton 1-1 BATE Borisov
Dinamo Zagreb 1-1 Molde

Report: Terrence Boyd set to join German club from Rapid Wien

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Weeks after missing the cut for the United States World Cup roster, young forward Terrence Boyd looks set to for a move from Austria’s top tier to a rising club in German’s second-flight.

Boyd, 23, scored 20 goals for Rapid Vienna (Rapid Wien) this year and had interest from all over Europe, but has reportedly chosen Red Bull Leipzig of 2.Bundesliga.

There were rumors he could head to Wigan Athletic in England’s Championship, or to Sporting CP in Portugal. Yet it appears the German-born American striker will come back to his birth nation, where he spent his formative years with Hertha BSC II and Borussia Dortmund II before his move to Austria.

From MLSSoccer.com:

While Rapid announced the transfer via their official website on Monday afternoon, the Red Bulls have declined to comment at this time. However, Boyd’s agent told MLSsoccer.com that the deal should be finalized within a couple of days.

Boyd also had domestic interest from league champions Red Bull Salzburg earlier in the summer, but sources close to the club confirmed to MLSsoccer.com that the Bremen-born US international insisted he would not play for any other Austrian Bundesliga side and that he felt it was time to try his luck in a more challenging league.

“I want to thank Rapid and numerous fans for two outstanding years,” Boyd said in a statement on the Rapid website. “Unfortunately, it did not come with a title win, but my time in this very special club was hugely important and beautiful to me. The decision to leave was not easy, because I have always felt very comfortable here, both in the club and in the city. A part of my heart will always remain green and white.”

Red Bull Liepzig has only existed for five years but has made a charge into 2.Bundesliga after consecutive promotion campaigns in the fourth and third divisions.

Perhaps Boyd got the memo on how much Jurgen Klinsmann enjoys his players in Germany. Though his work in UEFA’s 28th-ranked league was prolific, it’s hard to argue that Germany’s second-tier won’t be a bigger test for how far Boyd has progressed.

Terrence Boyd begins season brightly, if quietly, for Rapid Vienna

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It’s been a while since Terrence Boyd was the most hyped United States national team forward. After making seven appearances in 2012 and providing the assist in the U.S.’s 1-0 win at Mexico on Aug. 15, 2012, he has only played twice in 2013 for his country.

With Jozy Altidore’s summer scoring tear and Aron Jóhannsson choosing to represent the U.S. over Iceland, Boyd has been left on the fringes for a while. He didn’t even get called up for the last round of qualifiers against Costa Rica and Mexico, when the U.S. clinched its World Cup berth.

That hasn’t deterred Boyd from scoring just one less goal than Landon Donovan since July 27, when the Austrian Bundesliga season started. In 13 appearances for Rapid Vienna, across league, cup and Europa League matches, Boyd has scored six goals.

Boyd broke onto the national team scene in 2012, when he scored two goals against El Salvador in the U.S.’s failed Olympic qualification attempt. Then came his call-up to the match at Azteca Stadium, and the promising young prospect seemed to have cemented a spot on head coach Jürgen Klinsmann’s roster.

Boyd faces a tough challenge for playing time against the goal machine Jóhannsson has become for AZ Alkmaar, but continued success at his own current rate should be enough to get the 22-year-old German-American a spot on the plane to Brazil.

Americans Abroad preview: Countrymen go head to head

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With a full slate of games around the world this weekend, United States internationals will be busy trying to impress for their clubs.

(MORE: Americans Abroad – Full Archive)

Here are just a few of the match-ups on this weekend:

ENGLAND

• Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan faces another tough test when Manchester City comes to town. With just two league wins this season bookending three losses, Guzan will need to be in top form if his team is to get anything out of this game.

• Stoke City takes on Norwich City on Sunday, and Geoff Cameron is set for another start for the Potters after playing 90 minutes in a 2-0 League Cup win over Tranmere Rovers at midweek. Brek Shea was nowhere to be found in that game, still recovering from a knee injury he suffered in preseason.

• Jozy Altidore’s Sunderland takes on Liverpool without a permanent manager in place. It’s been a frustrating season so far for Altidore, much as his last Premier League campaign was, but if he could get one goal to get him off the mark against a tough team such as Liverpool, his confidence would increase.

• In the Championship, Danny Williams and Jonathan Spector clash when Reading plays Birmingham City. Although the two likely won’t have any head-to-head confrontations, as Williams plays defensive midfield and Spector plays in the back, Birmingham would like to continue the momentum of its first league victory last weekend, while Reading has only lost once, on the opening day of the season.

GERMANY

• Schalke 04 and Jermaine Jones pay a visit to Fabian Johnson’s Hoffenheim on Saturday. One point separates the two clubs early in the season, and they’re both coming off German Cup wins and Bundesliga losses in their last two outings.

NETHERLANDS

• Any time Aron Jóhannsson plays, he could score. That’s what makes PSV Eindhoven’s visit to his AZ Alkmaar exciting: on any given day, you get the feeling he could turn in another special performance. Jóhannsson scored a hat trick, including two goals in extra time, in a 4-1 cup win over Sparta Rotterdam on Wednesday.

AUSTRIA

• Quietly, Terrence Boyd has scored five goals in six appearances for Rapid Vienna this season, including one in the 17th minute of its last league game, Sept. 22 against Ried. Vienna takes on Wolfsberger AC on Saturday, which has lost its last two games and given up 21 goals in nine league matches so far.

MEXICO

• The most Americans on the field in any foreign match this weekend could easily be when Puebla hosts Club Tijuana on Sunday — when DaMarcus Beasley and Michael Orozco host Edgar Castillo, Greg Garza, Joe Corona, Herculez Gómez and Paul Arriola. Perhaps even better, the match is televised in the United States at 12:50 p.m. ET on ESPN Deportes.

Christian Benteke – fresh and poised to re-sign with Aston Villa

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According to manager Paul Lambert, Aston Villa fans shouldn’t worry about Christian Benteke burning out. Whether the Belgian striker will sign a new deal with the club remains to be seen although things are looking up the West Midland’s club.

From the moment he arrived at Villa Park last August Benteke has been terrific. Having signed a four year deal from Genk for $10.7m (£7m) the 22 year old has racked up 15 goals in 29 league games and 19 in all competitions. Manager Paul Lambert has repeatedly hailed Benteke’s work ethic, attitude and contribution to a Villa squad that entered the season in desperate need of offensive output. In Benteke, as well as Austrian striker Andreas Weimann who Lambert brought up from Villa’s youth ranks after signing from Rapid Vienna at age 16, Lambert has found lightning in a bottle.

The key is not letting that energy escape – whether through fatigue or transfer. Lambert remains convinced that despite the 44 matches that Benteke has played for club and country, the hulking striker isn’t running out of energy anytime soon. “He played for Genk before our season started, he’s played every game for the national team, and then played for ourselves,” Lambert said. “But he doesn’t look tired at all. The big guy has been terrific.”

Benteke has been so terrific that many pundits projected him the target of a move to a big club that could provide a sizeable pay raise and a bigger stage to perform. Tottenham, Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal were all rumored to be interested. Worries concerning such a move subsided on Tuesday when reports emerged the striker will engage in talks this week over a lucrative new contract to keep him at Villa. Benteke told manager Paul Lambert that he wants to stay with the Villains to continue playing regular football thereby providing him with the best chance to stay in Belgium’s squad for the 2014 World Cup.

Villa are believed to be preparing a package that would add an additional year onto Benteke’s contract (currently due to end in 2016) and to raise his salary from £20,000 per week to £40,000 per week. A similar move is believed to be in the works with Weimann after Lambert revealed that he had owner Randy Lerner’s backing to tie down his young strike force.

For Lambert, doing so is his top priority. “I don’t want to go back to square one,” the manager said. “These are only young guys in their early 20s, they still have so much to learn and so much to prove. That is what you want — to work with guys to keep them progressing.”

The Villains, currently 16th in the table and two points from the drop, will look to continue their progression to safety this weekend when they take on Fulham at Villa Park.