While fans of the U.S. national team wait to see if Jozy Altidore can find his missing scoring touch for Sunderland in the final weeks of the Premier League, coach Jurgen Klinsmann has noticed another American striker heating up in Austria.
Terrence Boyd scored two more goals last weekend for Rapid Vienna, netting both in a 2-1 win over league champion Red Bull Salzburg. That followed his two-goal performance a week earlier.
The 23-year-old Boyd, who has never scored for the U.S. in 12 national team appearances, now has 13 league goals for Rapid Vienna this season and 18 in all competitions. While Altidore likely remains the first choice at striker based on his past success for the national team, Boyd's strong finish for his club heading into the 2014 World Cup should send him to U.S. training camp brimming with confidence that he can earn a roster spot.
In a recent interview with U.S. Soccer, Klinsmann noted Boyd has scored goals of ''top class.''
Against Red Bull Salzburg, Boyd scored his first on a header of a corner kick in the first half, then closed out the victory with the game winner with five minutes to play.
GOALS ABROAD: Boyd wasn't the only American to find the net last weekend: John Brooks scored for Hertha Berlin in a 2-0 win over Eintracht Braunschweig in Germany. It was Brooks' second goal of the season.
HOME FRONT: U.S. national team captain Clint Dempsey maintained his torrid scoring pace in Major League Soccer last week, with two goals in Seattle's 4-1 win over Colorado. Dempsey leads MLS with eight goals and has scored or assisted in every match he's played this season.
WATCHING THE INJURIES: Klinsmann dispatched national team fitness coach Masa Sakihana to Germany last week to check on a couple of banged-up players who may still figure in his roster plans.
Nuremberg defender Timothy Chandler, who had previously been ruled out of the final two months of the Bundesliga season after surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee, returned to action last weekend and played the first half of a 2-0 loss to Mainz. Nuremberg is fighting to avoid relegation.
Forward Julian Green, who opted in March to play his international soccer for the U.S. rather than Germany, has been out of action for Bayern Munich's second team after dislocating a shoulder in his U.S. debut against Mexico on April 3.
Klinsmann said last week his biggest concern at this stage is a late injury that could knock a top player out of World Cup consideration.
''You hope everybody stays healthy,'' Klinsmann said. ''A new injury now, you pretty much have no chance to recover before the World Cup.''
Klinsmann will be keeping a close watch on several national team players with lingering health issues:
-Midfielder Michael Bradley took advantage of an open weekend on Toronto's schedule to have foot surgery to repair a nerve problem. Toronto officials said the surgery had been planned since the preseason.
-Left back DaMarcus Beasley missed Puebla's 3-1 win over Morelia in Mexico after the three-time World Cup veteran strained a hamstring a week earlier. Beasley's Puebla and national team teammate Michael Orozco Fiscal also did not play. The center back hasn't been in Puebla's lineup since limping off the field early in a match April 5.
- D.C. United forward Eddie Johnson, who played in the 2006 World Cup and was cut from the 2010 roster, left early in the second half of a 4-1 win over Dallas with an apparent hamstring strain. Johnson said this week he hopes to play Saturday against Portland.
Preliminary 30-man rosters are due to FIFA by May 13, the day before the Americans start to arrive for training camp at Stanford University.
They can have up to 30 players and must submit their final 23-man roster to FIFA by June 2.
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- Jurgen Klinsmann
- Rapid Vienna
- Jozy Altidore