John Brooks waited his entire career for the chance to play in the UEFA Champions League, but he will probably not want to remember his first experience in the competition.
The Wolfsburg defender was sent off in the 62nd minute of Wolfsburg’s 0-0 Champions League draw with French champions Lille on Tuesday, drawing a second yellow card for what was deemed an intentional handball.
Brooks’ ejection came just six days after his poor showing for the U.S. men’s national team in last week’s 4-1 World Cup qualifying win against Honduras. He was replaced at halftime of that match by USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter after struggling badly in the first half, a change that helped the Americans overturn a 1-0 halftime deficit on the way to a blowout victory.
The 28-year-old defender’s sudden September struggles have been a surprise for a player who enjoyed an outstanding 2020/2021 season for Wolfsburg, playing a key role in the team’s securing of a top-four Bundesliga finish and Champions League place, as well as an important role in the team’s perfect 4-0 start to the Bundesliga season.
His poor form for the USMNT in its recent qualifiers was even more surprising, as he failed to reach his usual level in the team’s 1-1 draw with Canada before his nightmare 45-minute outing against Honduras.
Brooks will now miss Wolfsburg’s next Champions League group-stage match, on September 29 at home against Sevilla, which settled for a group-opening 1-1 draw with Red Bull Salzburg on Tuesday.
Brooks could return to action for Wolfsburg on Sunday against Timmy Chandler and Eintracht Frankfurt.