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USMNT Watch: Wood Bags Brace for Union Berlin, Brooks Continues Good Form

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 13, 2015

United States’ Bobby Wood celebrates scoring his side's 2nd goal against Mexico during the CONCACAF Confederations Cup playoff soccer match at the Rose Bowl Stadium, in Pasadena , Calif. Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015, (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

Germany is the place to be if you're a United States international looking to gain form at the moment. 

A week after we profiled the lengthy string of success Fabian Johnson has enjoyed with Borussia Monchengladbach, two more players based in Germany continued to thrive as 2015 reaches its end. Bobby Wood and John Brooks both made key contributions to their respective sides on Saturday in their latest attempts to impress United States men's national team boss Jurgen Klinsmann. 

The other news surrounding USMNT-eligible players this week included a long suspension, a potential new face for the squad and one player earning a spot in the knockout round of the UEFA Europa League.

Continue reading for a full wrap-up of all the important news about American players in our latest USMNT Watch.

Wood Scores Twice, Brooks Helps Hertha Berlin Move Into 3rd

A legitimate argument can be made that Bobby Wood is the player most suited to lead the line for the USMNT.

Wood, who has earned the trust of Klinsmann over the last two years, scored his sixth and seventh goals of the league season for Union Berlin on Saturday in their 3-0 victory over Fortuna Dusseldorf

On his first strike, Wood made a nice run through the defense to latch onto a pass before striking the back of the net. In the build to his second tally, Wood cut around a defender on the right side of the box before slotting home his club's second of the match. 

Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

Jozy Altidore is Wood's top competition for the starting forward spot, but the Toronto FC man hasn't been as reliable for the Yanks as he should have been in the last year. Other options include Aron Johannsson, Jordan Morris, Gyasi Zardes and Andrew Wooten, but Wood is in better form than all four of them as well. 

On the other end of the pitch in the top tier of German football, John Brooks is enjoying a nice spell of form with Hertha Berlin, who are up to third in the league table on 29 points following a 4-0 win over Darmstadt on Saturday.

In the four-goal victory, Brooks played 90 minutes and contributed an assist in the 50th minute. Brooks also scored in his previous league contest. If he keeps his strong play up, the 22-year-old could be a vital part of the USMNT program in 2016.

Hertha's defender John Anthony Brooks (2nd R) and Hertha's midfielder Mitchell Weiser celebrate their team's third goal during the German first division Bundesliga football match SV Darmstadt 98 vs Hertha BSC Berlin in Darmstadt, Germany, on December 12,
DANIEL ROLAND/Getty Images

Fabian Johnson picked up an assist in the UEFA Champions League for Borussia Monchengladbach on Tuesday, but he did not start in the Bundesliga on Saturday because of an injury. 

Wood wasn't the only American to score on two occasions in Germany on Saturday. U23 forward Mario Rodriguez netted a pair of strikes for Borussia Monchengladbach II in a 3-0 win over TuS Erndtebruck. 

Cameron, Yedlin Make Early Exits in the Premier League 

Things didn't go so well for the USMNT contingent based in England on Saturday, as Geoff Cameron and DeAndre Yedlin were both pulled from their respective matches early.

Cameron came off in the 68th minute of Stoke City's 0-0 draw with West Ham United. The 30-year-old once again started in the defensive part of midfield for the Potters. 

Stoke City's US defender Geoff Cameron (R) vies with Manchester City's Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne during the English Premier League football match between Stoke City and Manchester City at the Britannia Stadium in Stoke-on-Trent, central England o
PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images

Yedlin's stint on the pitch was shorter as he lasted just 20 minutes before Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce made a tactical change. The Black Cats eventually fell to Watford 1-0 at the Stadium of Light. 

Tim Howard conceded a 47th-minute equalizer to Norwich City's Wes Hoolahan in Everton's 1-1 draw at Carrow Road on Saturday.

Down in the Championship, Tim Ream, Jonathan Spector, Eric Lichaj and Danny Williams all started and played 90 minutes for their respective clubs. 

Jones Suspension Highlights Round of MLS News

Jermaine Jones, who is currently without a club, was suspended six matches by Major League Soccer on Friday for an altercation with a referee during the New England Revolution's knockout-round match with D.C. United in October. 

Jones is not allowed to play in a match until the six-game ban is over, which means he will likely miss the USMNT's World Cup qualifying matches against Guatemala in March

Oct 28, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; New England Revolution midfielder Jermaine Jones (13) yells at referee Mark Geiger while receiving a red card during the second half at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial. D.C. United won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TO
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Center-back Matt Miazga, who starred for the New York Red Bulls in 2015, has reportedly turned down a contract offer from the club, per Yahoo Sports, in order to pursue opportunities in Europe. A move across the Atlantic Ocean will be easier for Miazga than it has been for others since he holds a European Union passport because of his Polish heritage. 

Another defender who could see significant time in red, white and blue in 2016 made a switch from MLS to Liga MX this week. Jorge Villafana, who starred in the MLS Cup at left-back for the Portland Timbers, signed with Santos Laguna less than a week after earning his first professional championship.

News and Notes: Horvath Leads Molde into Europa League Final 32 

Ethan Horvath and Molde finished off group play in the Europa League on Thursday with a 1-1 road draw against Ajax. The point allowed the Norwegian side to clinch first place in Group A. Horvath, who should feature in the USMNT's January camp, was one of the club's top performers over their six group-stage matches in European action.

Alejandro Bedoya retained his starting position with Nantes on Saturday. The midfielder played 72 minutes in the club's 1-1 draw with Toulouse.

Gedion Zelalem played the first 61 minutes of Rangers' 2-2 draw with Greenock Morton in the Scottish Championship. Rangers lead Hibernian by three points in the title race. 

A new face may be in the USMNT squad soon, as an Israeli report, translated by MLSSoccer.com, said Gent's Kenny Saief should expect a call-up from Klinsmann soon. Saief was born in Florida, but he has appeared for Israel at the youth international levels. 

Joe Tansey covers U.S. Soccer for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter, @JTansey90

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