Josh Sargent celebrates USMNT invite with first start, goal of Bundesliga season

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Doug McIntyre
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BREMEN, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 01: Josh Sargent of SV Werder Bremen and Davy Klaassen of SV Werder Bremen celebrate after scoring his team's second goal during the Bundesliga match between SV Werder Bremen and FC Augsburg at Wohninvest Weserstadion on September 1, 2019 in Bremen, Germany. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
U.S. national team striker Josh Sargent (center) made his first start of the Bundesliga season for Werder Bremen, scoring in a 3-2 win over Augsburg. (Getty)

It’s been a good few days for Josh Sargent.

Last week, the 19-year-old Werder Bremen striker was named to the United States’ national team’s 26-man roster for this month’s friendlies. On Sunday, he celebrated the selection with his first start and first goal of the Bundesliga season a a 3-2 win over Augsburg.

After being left off the U.S. squad for the Gold Cup earlier this summer, Sargent returned to Germany for preseason, impressing by all accounts. But the Missouri native still saw just eight minutes of action off the bench through Werder’s first two games of the new campaign, and he didn’t play at all in the club’s most recent match.

But with starter Johannes Eggestein suspended because of yellow card accumulation, there the American was in manager Florian Kohfeldt’s starting 11 on Sunday.

It didn’t take long for Sargent to take advantage of the opportunity. With the score tied 1-1 in the 21st minute, Sargent collected a long pass from Nuri Şahin, flicked it over Augsburg goalkeeper Tomas Koubek and fired home to gave his side the lead:

Earlier in the contest, Sargent was involved in the buildup to Yuya Osako’s opening goal, his clever give-and-go with Niclas Fullkrug enough to earn a secondary assist on the Japanese international’s strike:

Osako would go on to score the decisive third goal for his side in the second half after the visitors — who played the final hour with 10 men after veteran right back Stephan Lichtsteiner was sent off for picking up a second yellow card — cancelled out Sargent’s tally less than a minute into the second half on Ruben Vargas’ second of the afternoon. Sargent had a chance to add a cushion late in the match, but rushed his shot and misfired, skewing the ball wide of Koubek’s net. He received a warm ovation from the home supporters nonetheless when he was replaced by veteran forward Claudio Pizarro moments later.

Sunday marked Sargent’s second career start since he joined Bremen in January of last year. The former U.S. U-20 World Cup standout managed two goals in nine first-team appearances in 2018-19 but only made one brief cameo over the final two months of his first full season in Germany.

At the senior international level, Sargent has scored twice in seven matches for the USMNT. Last Wednesday, U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter explained why he summoned the teenager this time after leaving him off of multiple rosters earlier this year.

“We’ve been tracking Josh and he has had a really good preseason,” Berhalter told reporters via conference call. “We want to try and capture some of the momentum he’s had from preseason and bring him into this group. He’s a player all along that has been in our plans, and with the way the Gold Cup roster needed to be constructed, there wasn’t a place for him. He’s a player with great talent, a lot of promise, and we’re looking forward to working with him again in this camp.”

The U.S. takes on rival Mexico in a friendly on Friday in New Jersey in a rematch of July’s Gold Cup final that was won by El Tri. The Americans then face Uruguay in another exhibition Sept. 9 in St. Louis in Sargent’s home state.