With the roster announcements for the Guatemala home and away World Cup Qualifying series and the U.S. U-23 Olympic Qualifying playoff with Colombia looming, this past weekend’s matches stood as the last chance for hopefuls to state their case for either roster. With fitness and form a priority, Chris Wondolowski and Bobby Wood made a point with a goal each on the weekend, leading a long list of MNT players in action this past week.
In MLS play, Chris Wondolowski made it two goals in two games to start the season when he redirected Anibal Godoy’s centering pass from the left to score the first goal in the San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 win against the Portland Timbers. Earthquakes ‘keeper David Bingham earned his second win of the season, while midfielder Darlington Nagbe put in a full shift for Portland.
Kyle Beckerman, Nick Rimando, Clint Dempsey and Jordan Morris were all in action on the Wasatch Front as Real Salt Lake defeated Seattle Sounders FC 2-1 on Saturday night. Rimando made two saves to earn his 173rd MLS win as he keeps the chase up on Kevin Hartman (180) for most all-time. Beckerman and Dempsey went the distance for RSL and Seattle respectively, while Morris gave way in the 76th minute.
Just east of Salt Lake, Gyasi Zardes also put in a full 90 minutes, but windy conditions at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park frustrated the LA Galaxy before Marco Pappa’s 94th minute volley clinched a 1-0 home win for the Colorado Rapids.
In the Midwest, Graham Zusi and Matt Besler both played the full 90 for Sporting KC as a Dom Dwyer brace lifted the home side to a 2-1 victory against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Elsewhere, Brek Shea and Orlando City drew 1-1 at home with 10-man Chicago Fire Friday night, while Lee Nguyen and the New England Revolution couldn’t break through in their 0-0 home opening tie with D.C. United.
On Sunday, Mix Diskerud and New York City FC got a pair of goals from David Villa to go up 2-0 on Toronto FC in the first 28 minutes. Michael Bradley and the Reds stormed back, however, as Sebastian Giovinco setup Damien Perquis to pull one back before halftime before Giovinco’s individual magic in the 76th minute earned TFC a 2-2 road draw. Both Diskerud and Bradley played 90 minutes in the match.
In Germany, John Brooks played the full 90 minutes in Hertha Berlin’s 2-0 win against Schalke on Friday, marking his 15th straight start in league play. The clean sheet was the club’s third in its last four matches. The three points were necessary for Hertha as Fabian Johnson played 86 minutes in fourth-place Borussia Monchengladbach’s 3-0 win against Eintracht Frankfurt. ‘Gladbach sit just three points back of Hertha for third place in the Bundesliga table and a spot in the UEFA Champions League.
Bobby Wood scored his fourth goal in three games and eighth in their last eight, tallying from the penalty spot in the 61st minute of Union Berlin’s 2-1 defeat at MSV Duisburg on Saturday. His 13th of the season, the goal keeps Wood in contention for the Second Bundesliga’s Golden Boot, leaving him just three behind league leader Nils Petersen of SC Freiburg. With eight matches left in the campaign, Wood is also just one goal from tying the American goal scoring record in the Second Bundesliga set by Conor Casey at Karlsruher during the 2003-04 season. Elsewhere in the Second Bundesliga, Andrew Wooten played 86 minutes as Sandhausen defeated Fortuna Dusseldorf 1-0 to snap their four-game losing streak.
In England, midfielder Danny Williams played the final 15 minutes for Reading in their 2-0 loss to Crystal Palace, ending their dream FA Cup run at the quarterfinal stage on Friday. In the Premiership, Brad Guzan kept his team in the game with some spectacular saves in his third-straight start back in goal for Aston Villa, but his side was undone by two Harry Kane strikes in the first five minutes of the second half as Villa fell 2-0 to Premier League title contenders Tottenham Hotspur. Geoff Cameron once again plugged in at right back for Stoke City, whose second-half comeback fell short in a 2-1 defeat to Southampton on Saturday.
In the Championship, defender Jonathan Spector made his first league start of 2016, going the distance to help Birmingham City earn a clean sheet in their 0-0 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers. In London, defender Tim Ream played the final 13 minutes of Fulham’s 2-1 defeat to Bristol City at Craven Cottage.
In France, Alejandro Bedoya put in a complete shift in his return to the lineup for Nantes as les Canaris’ dispatched Angers 2-0 on Sunday. The win moves Nantes back up to sixth place, just one point behind fourth-place Lyon for a UEFA Europa League place and three back of third-place Nice for a UEFA Champions League qualifying spot.
Four Americans took part in Copa MX play midweek in Mexico. Joe Corona played the final 37 minutes of Dorados Sinaloa’s 1-0 away win at Chivas. Across Guadalajara on Wednesday, Michael Orozco went the distance while U.S. U-23 hopeful Paul Arriola played the final 18 minutes in Club Tijuana’s 3-2 defeat at Club Atlas. Elsewhere, midfielder Miguel Ibarra started and played the first 55 minutes of Club Leon’s 4-1 defeat to Morelia.
On Friday, Omar Gonzalez was at the heart of central defense for Pachuca, but los Tuzos tumbled 3-2 at Santos Laguna. The loss presented an opportunity for league leaders Monterrey as left back Edgar Castillo played the full 90 minutes in the club’s 3-1 win at Morelia on Saturday. The victory gave the side a five-point cushion ahead of second-place Club Leon, who saw U.S. goalkeeper William Yarbrough earn his second straight clean sheet in their 2-0 win against Queretaro. Having played substitute minutes at midweek, Arriola started and played 90 minutes for Club Tijuana in their 2-1 league win at Chiapas on Saturday night.