USMNT Watch: Bobby Wood Nets 1st Bundesliga Goal Since September

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 18, 2016

Hamburg's scorer Bobby Wood, left, celebrates his opening goal with Hamburg's Nicolai Mueller, right, during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Bayer Leverkusen and Hamburger SV in Leverkusen, Germany, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
Martin Meissner/Associated Press

Goals have been hard to come by in the last few months for Bobby Wood and his Hamburg teammates. 

Wood put an end to his scoring drought in the Bundesliga on an average Saturday for Americans across The Pond.

Elsewhere in Europe, one potential breakout star for 2017 continued his strong run of form at Hearts, while Bob Bradley's struggles in charge of Swansea City continued. 

We'll dive deeper into those stories and more below in our latest USMNT Watch.


Bobby Wood Snaps Bundesliga Drought

Wood broke his scoreless streak in league play in style, as he laced a shot from the right side of the pitch into the net in Hamburg's 3-1 loss to Mainz 05. 

The 21st-minute thunderbolt from the Hawaii-born striker handed Hamburg the lead. However, Mainz struck three unanswered goals at home to take the points. 

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

Bobby Wood scored his first #Bundesliga goal for @HSV since September 10, and what a nice hit it was. https://t.co/jllniDQgcG

According to Opta, four of the five goals Wood has scored in his first season at Hamburg have given the club a 1-0 advantage. 

OptaFranz @OptaFranz

4 - 4 of Bobby Wood's team-leading 5 goals in all competitions 2016-17 gave @HSV a 1-0 lead. Opener.

However, HSV have had trouble holding their rare leads this season, as they sit 16th in the Bundesliga table with 10 points. Relegation contenders Ingolstadt and Darmstadt 98 are below with nine an eight points respectively. 

Someone who will be in direct competition with Wood for a spot on the USMNT forward depth chart in 2017 is Aron Johannsson.

Johannsson came off the bench for a 15-minute cameo in Werder Bremen's 1-1 draw with FC Cologne on Saturday. The appearance was the the forward's first in three months.

Christian Pulisic started and played 83 minutes for Borussia Dortmund in their 2-2 draw with Hoffenheim on Friday. 

Fabian Johnson and John Brooks are both out with injuries at the moment, while Timothy Chandler is serving a red-card suspension. 


Bjorn Johnsen Continues to Make Mark in Scotland

Many USMNT fans are aware of Perry Kitchen's presence on the field for Scottish Premiership side Hearts, but there is another American worth keeping eyes on.

Forward Bjorn Johnsen, 25, was named the Scottish Premiership Player of the Month for November. 

Johnsen extended his scoring form into Saturday, as he opened the scoring for Hearts in their match against Partick Thistle. 

Heart of Midlothian @JamTarts

PIC: Bjorn Johnsen opens the scoring against Partick Thistle at Tynecastle https://t.co/COLVXXVQ7j

The 6'5" striker has found the back of the net on six occasions in his first year at Hearts. He will have to do more to find his way into the USMNT conversation, but his output at the back end of 2016 is a good start.

Kitchen, who was named captain after less than a year at the Scottish club, once again played the full 90 on Saturday.


Bob Bradley Suffers Another Crushing Defeat

The losses are beginning to pile up for Bradley at Swansea City. 

The Swans fell 3-0 to Middlesbrough on Saturday to further complicate their status in the relegation battle. 

MIDDLESBROUGH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 17: Bob Bradley, Manager of Swansea City looks on during the Premier League match between Middlesbrough and Swansea City at Riverside Stadium on December 17, 2016 in Middlesbrough, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty I
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Entering the holiday period, the Swans are in 19th place with just 12 points, and there is no clear fix in sight for the dreadful defending until the January transfer window opens.

The good news for Bradley and the Swans is the group of clubs looking to avoid the bottom three is packed together. Only nine points separate Stoke City in 11th from bottom-dwellers Hull City

Down in the Championship, Eric Lichaj, DeAndre Yedlin and Jonathan Spector all started for their respective sides. 

Those three players should be in the conversation for the starting full-back spots for the USMNT's March matches against Honduras and Panama. 

Yedlin seems like a lock to start at right-back, while Lichaj and Spector are deserving of a look from new U.S. boss Bruce Arena. 


Bruce Arena Starts to Put January Camp Roster Together

Arena began to name his roster for the annual January camp for domestic-based players during a Facebook Live session on Friday. 

The former L.A. Galaxy manager confirmed veteran midfielders Chris Pontius and Dax McCarty, as well as FC Dallas center-back duo Matt Hedges and Walker Zimmerman for the camp, per ESPN's Doug McIntyre: 

Doug McIntyre @ByDougMcIntyre

Bruce Arena says Dax McCarty, Chris Pontius, Matt Hedges and Walker Zimmerman will be among the invitees for January camp. #usmnt

Benny Feilhaber, Juan Agudelo, Gyasi Zardes, Darlington Nagbe, Jordan Morris and Keegan Rosenberry will also be a part of the group, per Steven Goff of the Washington Post: 

Steven Goff @SoccerInsider

Arena says #USMNT winter callups include Feilhaber, Agudelo, Zardes, Nagbe, Morris, Pontius, McCarty, Rosenberry, Hedges, Zimmerman ...

More players should be named in the coming weeks.


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


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