Americans abroad analysis
Adams continues to shine, Sonora and Weah score big goals, & much more
February 04, 2019
GROUNDHOG’s DAY took place over the weekend and for many American fans, it reminded them of the classic movie because a lot of the same familiar faces in Europe turned in normally strong performances, once again – and this was led by Tyler Adams who is off to a strong start in his Bundesliga career.
Here are the top stories from the weekend
Adams succeeds again
Tyler Adams earned his second straight start and helped RB Leipzig cruise to a comfortable 3-0 win over a hapless Hannover 96 side which featured Bobby Wood in the second half, and appears doomed for relegation.
Adams turned in stellar numbers again – completing 85% of his passes, winning five aerial duals, accumulating 91 touches, picking up four interceptions and four tackles. He was a disruptive force defensively and an asset in possession.
In the two games Adams has started for Leipzig, both have been on the road and Leipzig has outscored its opponents 7-0. It has been one of the strongest starts an American player has ever made coming from an MLS team and moving to an elite league.
Weah makes big impact off the bench
Tim Weah, 18, is embracing his loan to Celtic in Scotland in a major way. On Saturday he had his best performance to date – and he played just 15 minutes. With the score tied 0-0 and Celtic bogged down against a lesser St. Johnstone side, Weah broke the game open. A minute after coming on, Weah hit an assist when he controlled a beautiful long ball.
Then minutes later, he scored when he got on the end of a first-rate counter attack.
What a counter attack goal from Tim Weah to cap a remarkable effort off the bench. The Brooklyn native assists on the opener and scores the second in a 2-0 win for Celtic over St Johnstone #USMNT pic.twitter.com/T6cltBitD3— American Soccer Now (@ClassicASN) February 3, 2019
The lower end of the Scottish league is weak and St. Johnstone is not a good team. But Weah is a young player and it is not so much about the level of competition but more about taking on significant responsibility at a huge club like Celtic and making a difference.
Sonora scores first goal in Argentina
Since returning to the country where he was raised after a shaky loan to Stuttgart, Sonora as found a way to earn minutes with the first team at Talleres – normally a midtable team in Argentina’s Superliga.
On Friday night, Sonora, 22, was subbed into a game with Talleres up 2-0 on Banfield. In the 81st minute, the score was now 2-1 and Sorona restored a two goal cushion with a blistering shot from outside the box. On the play he was very open and he made Banfield pay for its defensive mistake.
Congratulations go 2015 US U-20 World Cup midfielder Joel Sonora for his first goal in Argentina’s Superliga when he came on in the 65th minute for Talleres and scored the final goal in a 3-1 win over Banfield pic.twitter.com/SVZcLmcqBZ— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) February 2, 2019
Sonora has played just 256 minutes this season but with the goal, he might open his way for more playing time.
Gutman loan nixed
On Friday it was announced that Andrew Gutman had signed with Celtic but would be loaned to Nashville SC of the USL. On Saturday, that loan was nixed – presumably because the Chicago Fire objected to it and MLS has power over the Nashville USL team since the city will be an expansion team next year.
Gutman was a product of the Chicago Fire’s academy but elected to sign abroad after a stellar collegiate career at Indiana where he won the Hermann Trophy as the NCAA’s top player. Chicago was able to keep his MLS rights, however.
Club statement pic.twitter.com/3UPkkq4J9t— Nashville SC (@NashvilleSC) February 2, 2019
ASN has further heard that Gutman will likely land at the Charlotte Independence of the USL.
Chicago indeed looks horrible for this. The organization clearly could have signed Gutman before his senior year in college and prevented competition from Celtic. But with the Fire having had a terrible offseason in losing players, this somehow makes them look worse. This is also an issue for MLS to take up how player rights can be used to block such a loan that does not presently affect the league (as Gutman is playing for a USL team which is not part of the league yet) and is clearly being used in spite.
Big win for Brooks
John Brooks has always been a hard player to figure out. At times he looks world class and other times he really struggles. Too often he fluctuates between the two extremes without finding a normal run of form.
The last few months have been the best Brooks has played in his career in the Bundesliga. After the club narrowly avoided relegation last year, Saturday’s 2-0 away win over Hertha saw the club move into the Europa League positions. It was certainly a statement win as Hertha and Wolfsburg were neck and neck in the hunt for a Europa spot and Wolfsburg clearly was a step ahead winning in Berlin.
Brooks was an important part of the win against his former and hometown club - both with his defensive efforts and his ability to play the ball out of the back effectively to help the midfield.
It is still too soon to say that Brooks is the consistently solid player he can be. There was a woeful stretch from August through October where it looked as if Wolfsburg could fall into another relegation fight. But the club has clearly turned it around since then winning six out of its last nine Bundesliga games.
This is welcome news for new U.S. national team manager Gregg Berhalter who faces an important task of trying to get Brooks to play up to his capabilities every international window. If he is able to get the most out of Brooks, the U.S. team will have improved its chances for success significantly.
Letdowns for McKennie, Sargent, and Pulisic
Weston McKennie, Josh Sargent and Christian Pulisic played over the weekend in the Bundlesiga but al had missed opportunities.
For Christian Pulisic, he played the final 25 minutes of Borussia Dortmund’s 1-1 draw away at Eintracht Frankfurt and no goals were scored while he was on the field. With Bayern Munich having lost to Bayer Leverkusen, Dortmund missed a chance to extend its lead at the top of the able to nine points.
Weston McKennie and the offensively challenged Schalke squad fell 2-0 at home to third place Borussia Monchengladbach. Haji Wright did not get off the bench for Schake – which is not a good sign. McKennie was asked to provide a lot of offense but the team looks very disjointed with him in that role. Right now, Schalke is simply an incomplete team and McKennie is being asked to fill a lot of voids.
Josh Sargent played the second half of Werder Bremen’s 1-1 draw against Nurnberg but both he and his teammates will be disappointed with the result. Nurnberg seem headed for relegation and has conceded the most goals in the Bundesliga so far this year. Despite that, Werder could only muster one goal in a lackluster draw.
Miazga continues to start
It is welcome news that Matt Miazga has walked into Reading’s starting lineup. The club has found itself in a massive relegation battle and desperately needs points. The New Jersey native is understandably been brought into the team to keep opponents off the board.
With that being said, Miazga has done his part. He has gone a full 90 in his first two games and opponents have scored just one goal over 180 minutes. But Reading FC can’t score right now and were held to a 0-0 draw against Aston Villa on Saturday (following a heartbreaking 1-1 draw against Bristol City last week). The club still sits in the relegation zone and trails Rotherham by just one point for safety.