Midweek musings

Aaronson assists, Green scores; McKenzie, EPB, & Durkin solid - & more

The past two days have seen a lot of Americans play big games, and bunch involved in the news. ASN's Brian Sciaretta breaks it all down for you in detail. 
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
January 27, 2021
5:00 PM

THE MIDWEEK has brought about several games to break down and a lot of news stories to break down in American soccer, on a lot of different levels.

Many were hoping to see Jordan Morris make his debut for Swansea City because, as expected, the Seattle native was on the bench to start Wednesday’s game against Brentford. A lot changed when Swansea went down to 10 players in the 69th and became more defensive as the game was still scorless. Brentford took a 74th minute and Morris was preparing to come on, but a Swansea equalizer in the 78th minute saw the game become more defensive.

Even without Morris, there was a lot to take in over the past few days. Brenden Aaronson and Chris Durkin each picked up assists. Julian Green, Ian Harkes, Steve Pittman, Terrence Boyd all scored. Others like Erik Palmer-Brown and Mark McKenzie played in big wins.

To dive right into it, here was a look at the games and then the news.


Aaronson assists in Salzburg win


On Wednesday, Brenden Aaronson earned his first start for Red Bull Salzburg when it hosted Ried. It was his second straight appearance for the Austrian leaders after he made his debut off the bench on Sunday in a win over Altach.

In this game, Aaronson made a big impact right from the start when he assisted on Rasmus Kristensen’s 15th minute opening goal.



Aaronson ended up playing 63 minutes and he left with the score 3-0 and that was the final score. With the win, Salzburg remained in first place in the Austrian Bundesliga.


  • 63 minutes
  • 32 touches
  • 0 shots
  • 1 assist
  • 13/20 passing
  • 2 duels won (5 lost)
  • 1 dribble (1 attempt)
  • 1 tackle


Jesse Marsch has been easing Aaronson into the swing of things at Salzburg as he adjusts to his new environment but his performance on Tuesday suggests that Aaronson should continue to start for the club heading into Sunday’s matchup against Hartberg.


McKenzie subbed into Genk’s win


Like his former Philadelphia Union teammate Brenden Aaronson at Salzburg, Mark McKenzie is getting eased into the swing of things at his new club, KRC Genk. After starting in a wild 3-2 loss to leaders Club Brugge, McKenzie was on the bench for Wednesday’s game against Zlute Waregem.

With Genk up 3-1 in the 68th minute, McKenzie came on for Genk to try to see out the win. In the 88th minute, Zlute Waregem pulled one back when Genk defender Jhon Lucumi was whistled for a handball. Minutes later, however, the game ended with Genk winning 3-2.

For McKenzie, he was solid in his time on the field.

  • 22 minutes
  • 15 touches
  • 11/11 passing
  • 1/1 long balls
  • 1 aerial won (0 lost)
  • 1 clearance

With the win, Genk remains in second place in Belgium and McKenzie should continue to earn more minutes with his outing against Zlute Waregem.


Pulisic subs into Chelsea draw


The Thomas Tuchel-era of Chelsea is underway and the new manager opted to have Christian Pulisic on the bench when it hosted Wolves on Wednesday. Of course, Pulisic played under Tuchel at Borussia Dortmund but Pulisic was coming off a rocky outing over the weekend in a win over Luton Town in the FA Cup.

In this game, Chelsea as a whole was poor again and Tuchel has his work cut out for him. Pulisic came on in the 77th minute and could not prevent the game from ending in a 0-0 scoreless draw. Fellow American Owen Otasowie was an unused sub for Wolves.

There really were no major takeaways for Chelsea other than the opportunity is there for any player to step up and take it. The team has starts but lacks leadership and that the team is playing below the sum of its parts.


Olosunde’s interesting outing


American right back Matthew Olosunde earned the start for Rotherham United on Wednesday when posted an impressive 3-0 away win over Middlesbrough to move close to safety in the Championship.

Olosunde, 22, had an interesting stat line in terms of his numbers. He completed just 47% of his passes (8/17) and generally was uninvolved in possession for Rotherham during the win.

But both defensively and in ball-winning, the New Jersey native put up huge numbers. He won 13/19 duels. He won 5/6 aerials. He was credited with four clearances and five interceptions.

In the bottom half of the Championship, or in the relegation battles, the games can be ugly and winning aerials and duels can be critical. Olosunde seems to handle this side of the game well, and it fits perfectly in what Rotherham United needs right now as it inches towards safety.


Harkes & Pittman score in Scotland


 In the Scottish Premiership, a weird coincidence happened as both Ian Harkes scored for Dundee United (in a brutal 5-1 loss to St. Mirren) and Scott Pittman scored for Livingston in a 2-0 win over Kilmarnock.

In one day, goals were scored by two American players who both have Scottish grandparents and who both have American fathers who played for the United States national team in the 1990’s. Harkes is, of course, the son of former U.S. captain John Harkes and Pittman’s father, Steve Pittman, played for the U.S. team occasionally.


Durkin assists in big win


Former DC United midfielder Chris Durkin had a big game for St. Truiden against Gent on Wednesday even if it was a frustrating result as Gent found a stoppage time equalizer for a 1-1 draw.

Durkin, 20, picked up an assist on Facundo Colidio’s 23rd minute wonder goal and that set the tone for St. Trudien trying to withstand the rest of the game trying to cling to a lead. In the end it came up just sort.


 But Durkin was really solid in this game where he was not playing right back (where he had been in recent weeks) but was based back in his normal defensive midfield position. He covered a lot of ground in this one and had touches all over the field. He won 6/7 duels and both of his aerials. His clearances and interceptions were also big on the day.




After a dismal start to the season, St. Truiden is no longer a threat for relegation and is continuing to push into midtable.


Julian Green scores again


Greuther Furth continued to push forward in its promotional hunt in the 2.Bundesliga with a 1-0 away win over VfL Osnabruck. The game winning goal was scored by American Julian Green in the 37th minute and it was his sixth of the season in league play and seventh across all competitions. It has by far been his best season as a professional.

The goal came when a poor clearance landed to Green.


Green was strong in this game throughout and was the MOTM.

  • 68 minutes
  • 2 shots
  • 1 goal
  • 21/30 passing (70%)
  • 3 crosses
  • 2 key passes
  • 0/2 long balls
  • 9 duels won (7 lost)
  • 4 dribbles (5 attempts)
  • 3x fouled
  • 2 fouls
  • 1 tackle
  • 1 aerial won (2 lost)
  • 1 interception

With the win, Furth remained in fourth place in the 2.Bundesliga but Green is absolutely critical to the team’s success.


EPB and Austria Vienna’s clean sheet win


One player who has been really sharp at the start of the second half of the Austrian Bundesliga season is Erik Palmer-Brown. The Austria Vienna central defender (on loan from Manchester City) helped his team to its second straight clean sheet win to start the second half of the season on Tuesday in a 4-0 win over FC Admira (which featured American forward Andrew Wooten playing the final 29 minutes in the loss).

Following a 1-0 win over Ried on the weekend (when Austria Vienna was reduced to 10 players for the final 37 minutes), Palmer-Brown was once again a big part of another win.


Austrian Vienna moved up to eighth place with the win. Palmer-Brown is probably helping his case for Jason Kreis to make a strong push for his release for U-23 Olympic qualifying (a release which was granted last season). On top of that, if Palmer-Brown is looking for a bigger loan next season to a higher-level league, his performances over the next few months will be important.


De la Torre & Heracles draw


Luca de la Torre, 22, and Heracles will be disappointed by their 2-2 draw with PEC Zwolle on Tuesday after squandering a 2-0 halftime lead.

The San Diego native had a nice game in central midfield, despite the result, and helped his team to earn the 1-0 draw. He frequently was on the ball, did not suffer many turnovers, dribbled well, and won a good number of his duels.

  • 90 minutes
  • 61 touches
  • 2 crosses
  • 30/38 passing
  • 6 duels won (5 lost)
  • 2 clearances
  • 4 dribbles (4 attempts)
  • 1 tackle
  • 1 interception

Heracles is almost certainly going to finish unspectacularly in midtable but for de la Torre, this is his first professional season as a regular first-team player. He’s doing very well and has been showing steady approval throughout the season.


Miazga and Anderlecht stumble


It was a weird and disappointing game for U.S. national team defender Matt Miazga and Anderlecht which needed a stoppage time penalty to earn a 1-1 draw with Royal Excel Mouscron.

In the 18th minute, it was Miazga’s mistake (aided by poor communication by his teammates) which led to Mouscron’s opening goal.


But Miazga played pretty well the rest of the way. He hit a beautiful long ball which was part of the buildup to a goal which was called back. He also, did well to limit Mouscron the rest of the way.

Anderlecht’s problems right now are on the offensive end. It’s 0-0 draw with lowly Waasland-Beveren on Friday was a big setback, and a Mouscron is a team Anderlecht should beat. Miazga’s mistake in this one wasn’t good, but it is not a fair reflection of the problems the team has right now.


Cannon and Boavista fall


In Portugal’s top flight on Tuesday, last-place Boavista hosted league leaders Sporting CP and, as expected, Sporting coasted to an uneventful 2-0 win. Sporting remains undefeated on the season  while Boavista has still won just once in 15 games.

Cannon, 23, played 74 minutes in the loss and was pinned back defensively most of the time. He only had 26 touches and was 9/16 in passing.

It is going to take a big reversal of fortunes for Boavista to climb out of its current hole. Cannon has had interest from other teams outside of Boavista but if Boavista goes down, the club will surely have to sell him.


In the news


Apparent interest in Paul Arriola and Swansea continues to surface. While Arriola told the media this week he things the deal could happen for a loan to Swansea, nothing is final yet and many other hurdles remain.

The New York Red Bulls have acquired right back Tom Edwards on loan from Stoke City. That is particularly interesting because Kyle Duncan is a very good right back for the Red Bulls and is currently with the U.S. national team (previously with the U-23 team as well) in Florida. It would not be surprising to see transfer interest in Duncan heat up in the days ahead, or maybe in the summer.

Congratulations to Henry Wingo who made his club debut for Hungarian leaders Ferencvaros in a 3-0 away win over Budafok.

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