American forward Haji Wright, 20, gets first Bundesliga goal
Haji Wright became the second young American in less than two weeks to score his first Bundesliga goal.
The 20-year-old forward from Los Angeles scored in first-half stoppage time with the help of fellow American Weston McKennie, Schalke’s only goal of the night in a 2-1 loss to visiting Bayer Levekusen on Wednesday.
Wright scored in the second minute of stoppage time when McKennie rushed in on Bastian Oczipka’s corner kick and headed the ball downward from 8 yards. Wright had position in front of Wendell, stuck out his right foot and redirected the ball past goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky from 4 yards.
Wright became the eighth American to score in the Bundesliga this season. Josh Sargent, an 18-year-old forward from O’Fallon, Missouri, scored two minutes into his debut for Werder Bremen on Dec. 7.
Bobby Wood has three goals for Hannover, while Wolfsburg’s John Brooks, Borussia Moenchengladbach’s Fabian Johnson, Borussia Dortmund’s Christian Pulisic, Fortuna Duesseldorf’s Alfred Morales and McKennie each have one
Wright played for the U.S. at the 2015 Under-17 World Cup alongside Christian Pulisic and Tyler Adams, spent 2015 with the New York Cosmos in the second tier North American Soccer League and signed with Schalke in March 2016. He was loaned to second-division Sandhausen for 2017-18, scoring once in 15 games, and spent most of this fall with Schalke’s reserve team in the fifth tier.
He made his Schalke first-team debut as an 88th-minute substitute on Nov. 24 against Nuremberg following injuries to Guido Burgstaller, Franco Di Santo, Breel Embolo and Mark Uth. This was his second start and fourth appearance.
Schalke is just one point above the relegation zone.