By FRANCO PANIZO
The first weekend of October is upon us, and that means there is one more chance for Aron Johannsson and John Brooks to prove they are healthy enough to play in the CONCACAF Cup.
Dealing with injuries that have limited their availability, both Johannsson and Brooks will be hoping to return to the field when their respective clubs resume league play on Saturday. Johannsson missed Werder Bremen’s game last weekend because of an abductor strain, and is hoping to make a comeback in the upcoming road fixture with Hannover. Brooks, meanwhile, will be hoping his knee heals enough to the point that he can at least take part in his first competitive game since the U.S. Men’s National Team’s friendly with Peru last month.
U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann will surely be keeping an eye on the statuses of Johannsson and Brooks ahead of the Oct. 10 meeting vs. Mexico, but that is not the only duo that will grab his attention. Goalkeepers Brad Guzan and Tim Howard will both be involved in intriguing matches, with Guzan and struggling Aston Villa taking on Geoff Cameron and Stoke City on Saturday and Howard leading Everton into the first Merseyside Derby meeting of the season a day later.
While the England-based veterans will be trying to keep shots out of their nets, Bobby Wood will be attempting to stay hot in front of goal. Wood has scored three goals in his last four games for FC Union Berlin, but will need to be sharp on Sunday to up that total as he faces a TSV Eintracht Braunschweig defense that has conceded just once in its last six games.
Here is who the Americans Abroad take on this weekend:
Zarek Valentin, Danny Cruz and FK Bodo/Glimt play Valerenga.
Jonathan Bornstein and Queretaro play Michael Orozco, Paul Arriola, Alejandro Guido and Club Tijuana.
Brad Guzan and Aston Villa play Geoff Cameron and Stoke City.
DeAndre Yedlin, Lynden Gooch and Sunderland play West Ham United.
Cody Cropper and Milton Keynes Dons play Bristol City. (Cropper is out injured.)
Jonathan Spector and Birmingham City play Leeds United.
Eric Lichaj and Nottingham Forest play Hull City.
Danny Williams, Andrija Novakovich and Reading play Middlesbrough.
Gedion Zelalem and Rangers play Falkirk. (Zelalem is with the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team.)
Fabian Johnson and Borussia Moenchengladbach play VfL Wolfsburg.
Alfredo Morales and FC Ingolstadt 04 play Timmy Chandler and Eintracht Frankfurt. (Chandler is out injured.)
Aron Johannsson and Werder Bremen play Hannover 96.
John Brooks and Hertha Berlin play Hamburg SV.
Andrew Wooten and SV Sandhausen play St Pauli.
Alejandro Bedoya and FC Nantes play Nice.
Rubio Rubin and FC Utrecht play Excelsior.
Rhett Bernstein, Erik Hurtado and Mjondalen IF play Cole Grossman and Stabaek IF.
Ventura Alvarado and Club America play Gabriel Farfan and Jaguares de Chiapas.
Edgar Castillo and Monterrey play Miguel Ibarra, William Yarbrough and Club Leon.
Greg Garza and Atlas play Jose Torres and Tigres UANL. (Garza is out injured.)
Joe Corona and Veracruz play Dorados de Sinaloa.
Tim Howard and Everton play Liverpool.
Tim Ream, Emerson Hyndman and Fulham play Charlton Athletic. (Hyndman is with the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team.)
Caleb Stanko and SC Freiburg play Karlsruhe.
Terrence Boyd and RB Leipzig play FC Nurnberg. (Boyd is out injured.)
Bobby Wood and FC Union Berlin play TSV Eintracht Braunschweig.
Desevio Payne and FC Groningen play Vitesse Arnhem.
Ethan Horvath and Molde FK play Tromso.
A.J. Soares and Viking FK play Lillestrom.
Which of these matches are you most looking forward to? Think Johannsson and Brooks should get called up for the USMNT if they play this weekend? Expecting Wood to score again vs. Eintracht Braunschweig’s stingy defense?
Share your thoughts below.