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What I Learned – Tyler Boyd: USMNT winger scores for Besiktas (VIDEO)

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U.S. men’s national team winger Tyler Boyd tallied his first league goal of the season for Besiktas, opening the scoring in Thursday’s match vs. Kasimpasa.Boyd worked what turned out to be a prolonged give-and-go with Caner Erkin, sending the ball across the field from the right channel before calling for the return pass and redirecting home Erkin’s cross from the left with a sliding first-time finish. It was Boyd’s first goal since Dec. 5 and his third in all competitions in his first season with Besiktas.The 25-year-old Boyd joined Besiktas last summer after a successful loan spell in Turkey with Ankaragucu, during which he scored six goals. Playing time has been limited, with Boyd starting just 10 of Besiktas’s 31 league games thus far. The club is in a five-team race for the Super Lig’s two UEFA Europa League qualifying round berths, and the come-from-behind 3-2 win, courtesy of a 90th-minute goal, has put the Besiktas into one of them with three matches to play. Boyd’s season, like just about everyone’s across Europe, has been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, which halted Super Lig play in March. He described playing through the pandemic to Sports Illustrated’s Brian Straus, with Besiktas’s rivalry match against Galatasaray on March 15 taking place behind closed doors after many other leagues had already been suspended.“It was such a strange feeling. The contrast is crazy because the Turkish fans are the craziest fans in the world, so going from 1,000 to zero, from the noisiest crowds to nothing, was just crazy,” Boyd said. “Football isn’t the same without fans. Fans make football. Otherwise it’s just like training, really. We tried to stay as focused as we could.” Boyd has two goals and an assist in 10 international caps for the USA since declaring his allegiance for Gregg Berhalter’s side over his native New Zealand in May of 2019.

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