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USMNT Striker Bobby Wood’s Bundesliga Debut Outlines Enormous Potential

Bobby Wood’s goalscoring record in the Bundesliga reads one match, one goal. The 23-year-old is quietly making an impressive mark.

Bobby Wood’s play hasn’t been dissected to the level with which we’ve examined Gyasi Zardes. Wood, at 23, doesn’t come with the ‘phenom’ label that’s attached to Jordan Morris. He doesn’t uniformly divide opinion like Jozy Altidore or Chris Wondolowski. Wood has endeared himself to USMNT supporters without ever triggering the American soccer hype machine.

Important goals against the Netherlands, Germany, Mexico and Costa Rica would normally be the catalyst for a symposium on the Great American Striker Problem, but the man from Honolulu, Hawaii has been largely allowed a separate peace over in Germany.

Perhaps that’s because before the 2015-16 season Wood had scored only 18 goals in 109 appearances across various lower divisions in Germany — a total that hardly lends itself to YouTube highlight reels or goals per game analysis.

Or maybe it’s because the 5’10’’ striker of African-American and Japanese ancestry doesn’t fit precisely into our canon of American athletic superstars. Measured in his interview responses and quick to praise his teammates, Wood’s demeanor personifies the industry of his own rise from the fourth tier of German football to the Bundesliga with Hamburger SV.

Wood’s 17 goals for Union Berlin last season marked the highest total for an American in Germany’s top two divisions and earned him a move to Hamburg in Germany’s top flight.

On Saturday, he marked his Bundesliga debut with a fantastic goal against Ingolstadt.

A goal demonstrating strength, skill and tenacity, Wood’s been rewarded with a call up to the USMNT for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

Should Wood play well against St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad & Tobago, the noise surrounding the forward will inevitably rise a notch.

If he doesn’t perform well, expect many to question the faith Jurgen Klinsmann has placed on Wood over the last two years.

Either way, don’t expect Bobby Wood to question his own approach or to back down from the myriad of tests that are sure to come his way over the next few years.

Follow me on Twitter: @ConmanFleming

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