Christian Pulisic starting for Borussia Dortmund isn’t out of the ordinary these days under normal circumstances. However, seeing him start alongside Marco Reus is quite surprising.
Pulisic's spell on the Dortmund bench this winter came to an end when Reus went down with a thigh injury, with the teenager finding arguably the best form of his young career in the six weeks his teammate was out. So with Reus returning to the side, it would not have been shocking to see Pulisic drop out of the lineup.
Instead Thomas Tuchel left the two in together and the move paid instant dividends against Eintracht Frankfurt, as Pulisic was able to find Reus with a low cross, which the German expertly flicked home with a backheel redirection.
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) April 15, 2017
It wasn’t a standout game for Pulisic beyond the early assist, but it’s hard to complain about directly contributing to a goal, especially one that opened the scoring. Dortmund went on to win the contest 3-1 at home.
Whether Pulisic starts the second leg of the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal against Monaco on Wednesday is up in the air. But with Dortmund needing goals to overturn its 3-2 deficit, it seems likely that he will be called upon at some point with another chance to further increase the momentum on his hype train.
YEDLIN MAKES NEWCASTLE RETURN
DeAndre Yedlin made a big step in returning to fitness Friday when he appeared as a substitute in Newcastle United’s 1-1 draw with Leeds, his first appearance since March 3.
Yedlin entered the game in the 84th minute and was on the field as Newcastle conceded a late equalizer to Chris Wood in the fifth minute of stoppage time. It’s a result which will feel like dropped points, but Newcastle remains eight points clear of third-placed Huddersfield Town, though Huddersfield does have two games in hand, with just four games remaining, making a return to the Premier League a likely scenario.
Newcastle played Monday away to Ipswich Town, and Yedlin returned to the starting XI. It looks like the fullback will be available for Newcastle’s closing run of games.
BROOKS SERVES UP OWN GOAL
John Brooks finding the back of the net has been a bonus for Hertha BSC this season. Unfortunately, the center back’s most recent goal was not the type his side was looking for.
Late in the first half against relegation-threatened Mainz, Brooks attempted to redirect a shot from distance, but ended up heading it into his own net for the own goal. That proved to be the only goal of the contest as Hertha fell 1-0.
That result will muddy an extremely tight Bundesliga mid-table race with just seven points separating Hertha in fifth from Bayer Leverkusen in 12th. If Brooks and Hertha hope to add continental soccer to their future next season, they’ll need to close strong in the final five games of the campaign.
WOOD INJURED AGAIN
While Pulisic chases a Champions League semifinal dream and John Brooks fights for a place in Europe, Bobby Wood would probably just be content being with a Hamburg side that retains its Bundesliga status for next season.
Unfortunately for Hamburg, Wood was forced to miss Sunday’s visit to Werder Bremen with a knee injury. The visitors scored first, but ended up falling 2-1, leaving them in 14th place with 33 points. Hamburg is one point above 15th and 16th, with the latter being the relegation playoff spot. And with Hamburg’s poor goal differential, it would be unlikely to win a tiebreaker with those sides.
Wood’s strong play of late has been a big reason for Hamburg’s surge toward safety. Losing him would be a big blow to their chances. And while Wood has picked some small injuries during this run, he’s managed to avoid anything that would sideline him for an extended period of time.
We’ll see if he can again make a quick recovery from this latest injury.
HYNDMAN PICKS UP ASSIST
As has been the case for much of the last three months, Emerson Hyndman continued his strong play for Rangers on Saturday, picking up an assist in a 2-0 win over Partick Thistle.
With Rangers up a goal in the second half, Hyndman made an impressive run into the area, beating one defender and then drawing another out of position for him to feed Jon Toral for the finish.
As the season winds down, it’s fair to wonder what the future holds for the Bournemouth loanee. Will he return to the Premier League club or push to remain with Rangers where European soccer, albeit in Europa League qualifying, is all but assured?
ARRIOLA GETS ASSIST ON WINNER
Hyndman wasn’t the only American contributing to his team’s success this past weekend. Paul Arriola, who has returned to the starting lineup in recent weeks, picked up the game-winning assist in his side’s 2-1 win over Chiapas.
While it wasn’t as eye-catching as Hyndman’s, Arriola's run did draw in the fullback, allowing space for Juan Lucero to walk in and blast the shot into the back of the net at the odd angle.
As for Arriola’s American teammates at Tijuana, Joe Corona exited the contest in the 56th minute after receiving the start. Michael Orozco did not play after he was injured against Club America on April 7.
MIAZGA INJURES HAMSTRING
After not getting a lot of time in the first team in the fall, Matt Miazga’s become a fixture in the Vitesse lineup over the past couple of months. He also had been on a run of good form for the Eredivisie side. Unfortunately, the center back was subbed off in the 27th minute of his side’s 1-0 loss to Excelsior.
The club’s official website said the injury was to Miazga’s hamstring, which does not sound promising. A strong finish to the season may have gotten Miazga back on the radar of the national team for the Gold Cup. However, if he’s sidelined for an extended period of time, it may be hard for him to make a case over some of the MLS-based options.