Americans abroad have been on their best run in quite a while: Bobby Wood
and Fabian Johnson
in Germany, Alejandro Bedoya
in France and Omar Gonzalez
in first season in
Mexico. Jurgen Klinsmann
broke down how he views their recent form and that of U-23 keeper Ethan Horvath
, who started for Molde at Spain's Sevilla in the Europa League on Thursday.
In an interview with ussoccer.com
Klinsmann said Wood's consistently strong performances for Union Berlin (nine goals in 21 games, two in the first two games since the winter break) were important as the USA looks ahead to a pair of
World Cup 2018 qualifiers against Guatemala in March.
"It’s really nice to see how he’s becoming a mature player," said Klinsmann. "It’s nice to see that he takes things
in his own hands -- we always tell the players to be more self-responsible and to have that inner drive to go through problems and to go through issues and make things happen, and Bobby right now
makes things happen. He starts to score goals on a consistent basis, and has an influence on his club team getting out of relegation area and then hopefully to get them higher up in the end of the
day. He’s also adjusting himself to the lifestyle in Berlin, in a very, very different place to where he was before in Munich, and just becoming more mature in what he’s doing.
Since Johnson and Bedoya have gotten healthy, they have been on a tear for Borussia Moenchengladbach and Nantes, two historically powerful clubs challenging for European berths next season. Johnson
has a career-high five Bundesliga goals, while Bedoya has four goals and two assists in the last month for Nantes, which has a 12-game unbeaten run.
“Well not only Fabian Johnson is
doing really well, especially also Alejandro Bedoya at Nantes in France is on a very, very good stretch right now scoring goals and delivering assists and just being involved constantly in very, very
important moments of the game. This gives us different options going toward the World Cup qualifiers at the end of March."
Klinsmann said he was impressed how well Gonzalez has done since
"From Day 1 on," he said, "he was very determined and focused to make a statement. Not only did he become a starter right away, he made a big difference in most of the
games, defensively obviously with his very strong presence that he has and also his capability to play out of the back or even go with the ball into midfield, but also here and there scoring a
Horvath's emergence at Molde in the last year has made him the No. 1 choice in goal for the U-23s, according to Klinsmann, and a possible successor to national team veterans Tim
and Brad Guzan
"Having him play week in and week out in the league in Norway, but especially now in the Europa League, is big," said Klinsmann before Thursday's 3-0
loss at Sevilla.