Some things sure are worth waiting for, and for Terrence Boyd, a Bundesliga goal ranked high on the list.
On Matchday 20, the USMNT international sent SV Darmstadt 98 on their way to a memorable, giant-killing victory over Borussia Dortmund. Boyd’s 21st-minute strike against his former club came just five days short of his 26th birthday. It was a goal that gave his new team a first win since October and one that made everything he has gone through worthwhile.
After almost two whole seasons out through injury, Boyd had finally got on the scoresheet in the German top flight. And, at last, he had another excuse to show off his ‘cyclops’ tattoo as part of his traditional goal celebration.
“I’m just relieved that it finally happened and to help my team win today,” Boyd said after Darmstadt’s 2-1 victory. “It was a tremendous team effort because we all had to defend like crazy today and eventually it paid off.”
His opening goal might not have been the keenly-awaited 50,000th goal in Bundesliga history, which would have been a nice milestone to link to his name. Nevertheless, netting a first-team goal for the first time since November 2014 will feel every bit as sweet, even if his somewhat scrappy left-footed effort bounced over the Dortmund keeper Roman Bürki and into the net. “I didn’t hit the ball very well but it was enough to beat Roman,” Boyd told German sports daily kicker.
Watch: enjoy highlights of Dortmund's win:
Make no mistake – Boyd has had to work hard to enjoy that moment. The Bremen-born frontman made his name at Hertha Berlin's reserves and soon caught the eye of Dortmund. Like with Hertha, the goals soon flowed for him in BVB's second team, and shortly after his 21st birthday he earned his first cap for the USA in their 1-0 friendly win in Italy in February 2012.
Boyd hit 20 goals for Dortmund’s reserves in his one full season at the club, helping them earn promotion to the third tier of German football. It was not enough to earn him a place in the senior team though, as Jürgen Klopp’s side had Robert Lewandowski banging the goals in on their way to winning the Bundesliga for the second year running.
Watch: Boyd credited the team's collective effort against Dortmund.
Instead, he linked up with SK Rapid Wien in June 2012, where he scored 28 league goals over two seasons and also impressed with eight goals in UEFA’s Europa League. After narrowly missing out on making USA’s 2014 FIFA World Cup squad, he joined then-Bundesliga 2 side RB Leipzig, where his luck unfortunately took a bad turn.
He suffered two serious cruciate knee ligament injuries and made just eight appearances for Leipzig in two seasons – all of them between October and December of 2014.
In June of this year, Boyd even trained with the U-13 team for three weeks to ease him back into action as safely as possible, eventually making nine appearances for Leipzig’s second team before Christmas before January's move to Darmstadt. And with a fresh start came the sheer joy of notching that first Bundesliga strike.
Now it’s time Boyd made up for lost time. Time, too, for Bundesliga defenders to watch out.
Thank you Leipzig for two and half great years! Despite the long injuries, I was always treated like a human being, which isn't a given, so it frustrates me all the more that I could repay that on the pitch. I'll never forget Leipzig!