The biggest story of the soccer season for American soccer fans has been the ascendance of the Wonderteen Christian Pulisic from Dortmund bench guy to potential Lionel Messi understudy, so it’s been easy to forget that there’s another young American on an elite Bundesliga club. Julian Green, the USMNT’s surprise 2014 World Cup teen, has toiled away at Bayern Munich’s second team for a while and has thus far struggled to get a spot on one of the most competitive first teams in the world. He finally found an impressionable manager in Carlo Ancelotti, and he ingratiated himself to the Italian by scoring a buttload of goals in Bayern’s preseason. Still, even though he’s one of only two strikers on the roster, he’s behind Robert Lewandowski.
Today he made his first start in a competitive game for the club, in a DFK Pokal match against fellow Bundesliga club Augsburg. Late in the first half, Green scored his first goal for the Bayern first team after Thomas Müller found him waiting in the box.
While Augsburg are not Real Madrid or Atletico Madrid, they’re a Bundesliga-level opponent, and Green was playing alongside a host of regular starters. He was held back last year by an apparently fragile disposition or an unwillingness to work and grind his way up the ladder, depending which rumors you believe. A goal of any sort is a good indicator that Green is playing with confidence, unencumbered by expectations.
Is this goal also a sign of things to come, a warning to the rest of Europe that the fearsome Julian Green is now ready to score goals and clown defenders in the Bundesliga and Champions League? Almost certainly.