Bobby Wood will be fresh heading into the United States' World Cup qualifiers against Mexico and Costa Rica. The striker has been suspended for three matches for an elbow in Hamburg's 3-0 loss to Köln over the weekend, giving him a weekend off before joining up with the Americans for their crucial matches.
Wood and Köln's Dominique Heintz were pushing and shoving before a free kick, then Wood delivered an elbow to Heintz's stomach. The referee saw it and immediately showed Wood a red card.
Hamburg manager Markus Gisdol called Wood's actions “inexcusable” and now the American will have several weeks to think about what he did. He isn't eligible to return to the field for Hamburg until their December 4 clash against Darmstadt. Losing your top scorer for three matches is a big blow to any team, but is especially hurtful to Hamburg, who are dead last in the league and figure to be in a relegation fight all year.
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The suspension may actually not be too bad for the U.S., though. Wood will only miss one match before the Americans' World Cup qualifiers, so there's no risk of him losing match fitness. He won't have to deal with much fatigue either. That could pay dividends because Mexico look like the best team in CONCACAF and it's always very difficult to win in Costa Rica. That's what's on tap for the U.S., so they need every advantage they can get.