Chris Richards made a major mistake in the opening minute of his latest start for Hoffenheim, but he rebounded to put together a solid overall performance, complete with a pinpoint assist.
The U.S. Men’s National Team centerback initially got caught trying to dribble on the ball in the defensive third in the first minute of the home game, committing a turnover that led directly to Mainz’s opener. He helped get Hoffenheim back on level terms in the 39th minute with an excellent pass played over the top to Ihlas Bebou.
(You can see the blunder at the start of the video below and the assist beginning at the 2:25 mark.)
Unfortunately for Richards and Hoffenheim, Mainz responded with another goal two minutes later off a corner kick. That 41st-minute strike proved to be the difference, leaving the U.S. Men’s National Team player and his club to head into the international break on a losing note.
Richards was subbed off in the 76th minute, as Hoffeinheim made attacking changes while chasing the game, but not before making a goal-saving block to deny Mainz a third goal.
On an individual note, Sunday’s affair marked the 20-year-old defender’s sixth start in as many appearances for Hoffenheim in this German Bundesliga season. Richards — who joined the team on loan in February from reigning UEFA Champions League winner Bayern Munich — has also gotten the nod in a pair of UEFA Europa League matches at Hoffenheim.
Richards will quickly have to shift his focus towards his national team. He was recently called up for the USMNT’s upcoming camp in Europe, though he will only be available to play in the friendly vs. Jamaica and not against Northern Ireland.
Richards made his full international debut last fall, coming off the bench in the 80th minute of the Americans’ 6-2 win vs. Panama in November. It is his lone cap to date.