Matthew Hoppe’s first assist for Mallorca
USMNTer Matthew Hoppe’s first La Liga start in a Mallorca uniform came on Wednesday, and he needed just 25 minutes to make an impact, assisting Lee Kang-in to cut Real Madrid’s lead to 2-1. Truthfully, Lee made the play, with some help from a puzzling defensive breakdown, but Hoppe did set up Lee for his run with a simple pass just past midfield. Check it out below:
— Tyler Everett (@Tyler_Everett1) September 22, 2021
Hoppe traveled to first-place Real Madrid as a starter for Mallorca up top in in coach Luis Garcia Plaza’s 4-2-3-1. What a place to make your first start in La Liga at just 20 years old. It was his second appearance after his debut for Mallorca against Villarreal in a 0-0 draw last Sunday.
Hoppe was largely uninvolved early — through no fault of his own — prior to the assist. Seconds after Real Madrid went ahead 2-0 — Los Blancos looked like they might score 5 or 6 by the end of the match* — Hoppe laid the ball off to Lee, who exploited poor (non-existent) defense by Real Madrid, dribbling his way into an impressive far-post shot to beat Thibaut Courtois.
Hoppe survives a scary collision
Later in the half, Hoppe was knocked to the ground in the box as he bumped heads with Nacho on a physical challenge. The Real Madrid defender’s head collided with Hoppe’s, as the American was in midair looking for the ball and never saw the contact coming. Unfortunately, Nacho was not whistled for a foul. The good news was that Hoppe quickly returned to the pitch after briefly exiting the match.
In the second half, Hoppe played 14 more minutes before coming off in the 59th. While he had a half-chance to volley a corner into the net in the 53rd, the list of players who could have pulled that off is extremely short, so no one can be too disappointed in that “missed opportunity.”
A solid start to his Mallorca career
Against Villarreal last weekend, Hoppe did very little — good or bad — in 31 minutes on the pitch. He had 11 touches and completed 6 of 10 passes. His biggest moment was what appeared to be his first goal, in the 82nd minute, but that was nullified by an offsides call. He finished that match with a Whoscored rating of 6.15
Through two games, he’s yet to really flash, but the fact Hoppe’s already played over 90 minutes total is encouraging for his development at Mallorca.