While many American fans spent this International break lauding the return to the U.S. national team for Julian Green, another Bundesliga talent among the Yank ranks should also have caught some eyes.
Green once again showed flashes of his immense talent, as he did in the 2014 World Cup, and may have earned his way back into coach Jürgen Klinsmann’s plans for the upcoming hexagonal round of World Cup qualifying. Only time will tell if he can likewise make his way onto the field for Carlo Ancelotti and Bayern Munich.
Green was impressive, netting two goals and adding an assist in the two friendlies, but the arrival of Terrence Boyd back into the national ranks may have been equally significant.
Boyd was recalled to the squad for the 2nd of the two friendlies and although he only came on in the 88th minute, just being out there was a huge win for the striker. The Bremen-born striker last featured for the USMNT in a cameo appearance at the tail end of a 2-0 loss to Ukraine in early 2014 and since then the big question facing Boyd was not whether he would represent his country again, but whether he would be able to get on the pitch again..
Thus, Tuesday”s cameo international appearance was big step in a long journey for the 25-year-old RB Leipzig player. In a quote from an SB Nation article, Boyd stated
I’m just thankful for the call-up. It’s nice to see all the old guys again. It was a long, long journey. I was injured and I didn’t know if I’d ever come back. To be back with the national team means a lot to me
Leipzig supporters can be excused if it is news to them that Boyd is still on their roster. It has been almost as long since he was seen in the Leipzig lineup as he has been absent from international play. December of 2014 was his last appearance for the Leipzig first team, at the time playing in the 2nd division. In a game against FC Ingolstadt, Boyd ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
The injury stemmed from a partial tear of that same ACL that Boyd had suffered before Rapid Vienna sold him back to Germany in the summer of 2014. Nearly two full years later, Boyd has not played in a competitive game of any kind for the first team.
Complications from his initial surgery and a cyst in his calf turned what has become a pretty routine injury for athletes into an ordeal that nearly cost the German-born American his career. One surgery became four, to this point, on Boyd’s right leg as his fight back from injury hit near constant setbacks.
The road back was so rocky that Boyd has admitted to discussing with his agent and RB Leipzig personnel the prospect of retirement as recently as the lead up to this season.
That is history now, Boyd enjoyed a preseason training camp this season in which he was not only healthy but also a full participant.
So far this season Boyd has made his presence felt for RB’s reserve team, who play in the Regionalliga Nordost, a 4th division competition. He has featured in the team’s last four games, playing the full 90 minutes in two, and scored a brace in a 4-1 win over Schönberg on the 24th of September.
It appears that, barring another setback, Boyd will be back with the first team at RB Leipzig soon after his return from international duty. He could be a solid addition to a club that, although they are having a great start to the season, have not set the world on fire with their attack.
RB have been an exciting team to watch thus far, but of the four teams ahead of them in the table at the time of the international break; only FC Köln have scored fewer goals. Of course, the Billy Goats have also allowed fewer goals than Leipzig.
If Boyd can return to his form before the injuries he could be a big weapon in a long Bundesliga season. In his last full year in 2013/14 he put in 20 goals in 38 games for Rapid Vienna, including four Europa League tallies in six appearances, after coming up in the Hertha Berlin youth system and featuring for the Borussia Dortmund reserves. In two years with Rapid Vienna, Boyd totalled 37 goals in 80 matches in all competitions after scoring 20 goals in 32 BvB reserve squad matches during the 2011/2012 season and earned a spot in BvB’s senior squad 18 man team for a October, 2011 Bundesliga match, although he did not get into the game. His performance for the Dortmund reserves paved the way to callups to the USMNT, where he earned 14 caps between 2012 and his 2014 injury.
For Terrence Boyd it is a huge step forward to be recalled into the USMNT setup. It signifies not only how far he has come, but also the confidence that Klinsmann and his staff have in the striker’s talent and potential. With his size (6’2″) and his proven ability to score (albeit at levels below the Bundesliga) a healthy Boyd could provide help for both club and country. Now comes the next step — he needs to make an impact in the Bundesliga for RB Leipzig. But even if it takes awhile to get a chance with that undefeated club, every match played, even at the reserve squad level, is a plus for the striker who has worked so hard to come back.
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