Arriola debuts while Aaronson, Wooten, Siebatcheu shine in Wild Wednesday
February 10, 2021
IT TURNED OUT to be a big Wednesday for Americans abroad as a bunch of players, mostly MLS exports, had big outings in Europe. Most exciting was important steps from Brenden Aaronson, Mark McKenzie and Paul Arriola who were all sharp early into the tenures of the European legs of their careers.
With Aaronson, McKenzie joining a big outing from Andrew Wooten, it was a noteworthy day from players who were on Philadelphia Union’s Supporters Shield-winning team last season.
Here is a look at the games:
Aaronson vs. Palmer-Brown
Two potential U.S. U-23 teammates faced each other in the Austrian Bundesliga as Brenden Aaronson made his second start for reigning champions Red Bull Salzburg while Erik Palmer-Brown got the start for Austria Vienna. These two teams met over the weekend in the Austrian Cup with Salzburg getting a 2-0 win. In the Bundesliga, Salzburg needed to win this game to reclaim the lead in the league.
Both Americans played well in this game and in the first half, the game was close with the score 0-0 at halftime. Palmer-Brown had the edge on Aaronson in this fine defensive play.
In the second half, the game came to life offensively. And with the score 1-1 in the 73rd minute, Aaronson pulled out some magic in scoring his first goal for Salzburg. He took a pass from the left wing and controlled it with a solid first-touch. He then maintained possession in the box, found a shooting lane, and hit an accurate bending shot to the far post.
Salzburg’s American manager Jesse Marsch was excited and proud of what his countryman did on the field in delivering the winning goal.
"It's always important for a new player to adapt," Marsch said of Aaronson. "I just told him to keep going. He played well every day and tried more and more."
Salzburg ended up posting a 3-1 win over Austria Vienna and Aaronson’s numbers reflect a solid and complete outing beyond the goal.
- 84 minutes
- 2 shots
- 1 goal
- 3 key passes
- 30/39 passing (79%)
- 5 crosses
- 1/2 long balls
- 4 dribbles (6 attempts)
- 6 duels won (4 lost)
- 0x fouled
- 1 foul
- 0 aerials won
- 1 interception
This game was huge for Aaronson as it truly reflected his ability to be a key contributor to Salzburg as it chases another Austrian Bundesliga title. This was the type of performance that should give him confidence and earn the trust of both Marsch and his teammates.
"It was great to be there for the team," said Aaronson. "Austria played a good game, both in the first and second half. It was a tough game and a very hard-won victory. The mentality we showed was very important."
For Palmer-Brown, he should be a key target for U.S. U-23 head coach Jason Kreis to have released for next month’s Olympic qualifying tournament.
Wooten’s Brace lifts FC Admira
Staying in the Austrian Bundesliga but on the other end of the table, last-place FC Admira has an uphill climb if it is going to avoid relegation this year. Newly acquired American forward Andrew Wooten, who left the Philadelphia Union at the end of last season, is someone they hope will be part of the solution.
In a big relegation match against Altach (which entered the game second to last), Wooten delivered with a level of confidence he was unable to display with the Union. The German-born American forward scored twice for Admira in a big 3-1 win that lifted it out of last place. Wooten’s first opened the scoring in the 22nd minute and his last completed the scoring in the first minute of stoppage time.
Wooten, who was a prolific goal scorer in the 2.Bundesliga prior to moving to Philadelphia, has started off his Austrian Bundesliga career in fine form with two goals in his third game. The win lifted FC Admira Moedling out of last place, one point past Altach.
This is a huge opportunity for Wooten, 31, to return to scoring form.
Arriola & Morris vs. Steffen
A trio of Americans were involved in Wednesday’s FA Cup 5th round matchup between Swansea City of the Championship and Manchester City. Jordan Morris made his first start for Swansea City, on loan from the Seattle Sounders, while Zack Steffen started in goal for Manchester City. Paul Arriola was on the bench for Swansea City looking to make his first appearance for the club on loan from DC United.
Jordan Morris covered a lot of ground and played decently in his 65 minutes of action but the game was generally a mismatch as Manchester City has been playing like its perhaps the best team in the world in recent months. In the end, Morris wasn’t great but helped his case to start for the team in the important Championship promotional race.
Paul Arriola came into the game in the 65th minute with Manchester City winning 3-0 during a wave of substitutions which also saw Morris depart. In his club debut, Arriola played well and feisty. It was a typical Arriola-like performance where he played with grit that was a net positive for his team.
In the 77th minute, Arriola was part of Swansea City’s only goal of the game when he collected a pass centrally. Lost the ball, won it back, swung it out wide where it was later set in for an assist. Arriola did well also in his run after his pass to keep the play open. Unfortunately, Steffen should have done better with shot as it was saveable.
A little “hockey assist” for Paul Arriola (#19) in his Swansea debut against Manchester City pic.twitter.com/glYFJbMNpj— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) February 10, 2021
It was a tough loss for Swansea City but the priority for the club right now is the promotion race and returning to the Premier League next season. We might soon have both Morris and Arriola start for the club.
Siebatcheu’s winner for Young Boys
In the Swiss Super League, American-born forward Jordan Siebatcheu, 24, started and scored his eighth of the season for league leaders BSC Young Boys in a 1-0 win over Lausanne. The Washington, DC native took advantage of poor defending in the box to hammer home a pass from close range in the 16th minute.
Siebatcheu taking advantage of some optional defending from Lausanne for his 8th of the Swiss Super League season pic.twitter.com/bnGZbnUqGU— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) February 10, 2021
In the end, that was all the scoring BSC Young Boys would get or need. Siebatcheu does not start every game, but seems to be making big impacts whenever he does. He has been a net positive for the club in his loan from Rennes in France.
In this game, he managed five shots despite only having 26 touches.
- 80 minutes
- 26 touches
- 5 shots
- 1 goal
- 1 key pass
- 10/13 passing (77%)
- 3 duels (2 lost)
- 0 dribbles
- 0x fouls
- 2 tackles (2 attempts)
- 1 aerial won (1 lost)
With the win, BSC Young Boys has blown open the Super League table as it sits 13 points clear of second place Basel. If Siebatcheu continues to start for Young Boys, it bodes well that the club hopes to keep him beyond this year. With a league title safe, why would it waste minutes on a player who won’t be back?
As for the U.S. national team, Siebatcheu is obviously helping his case with better performances but is it enough? Josh Sargent, Jozy Altidore, Gyasi Zardes, Matthew Hoppe, Nicholas Gioacchini, Sebastian Soto, Daryl Dike, Jesus Ferreira, Jeremy Ebobisse, Aron Johannsson, Ayo Akinola, Haji Wright and others have all played well.
Siebtacheu is a very fast, strong, and physical forward. He rarely beats defenders on the dribble, but he can be effective in an open game and in the air. If Berhalter sees value in a striker of those strengths and those limitations, Siebatcheu might be brought in for a look.
McKenzie vs. Durkin in Belgian Cup
Two teammates on the 2019 U.S. U-20 World Cup team faced off against each other in the Round of 16 in the Belgian Cup as Mark McKenzie and Genk faced Chris Durkin and St. Truiden. Both Americans got the start for their respective teams.
Genk ended up posting a 1-0 clean sheet win to advance to the quarterfinals and McKenzie went the distance as Genk found a late winning in the 87th minute. For McKenzie, he is attempting to build his case to be a regular starter and this win should only help his case. Durkin ended up playing right back in this one and also went 90 minutes in the loss.
Both teams will now refocus for the weekend when the Belgian Pro League resumes with third-place Genk visiting fifth-place KV Oostende. St. Truiden meanwhile hosts 11th place Zlute Waregem. Both matches on Sunday.
Weah and Gioacchini in French Cup
Two American forwards got the start for their respective clubs in the Round of 32 of the Coupe de France when Tim Weah featured for Lille in a 1-0 win over Dijon while Nicholas Gioacchini returned from his suspension to start for SM Caen in a 1-0 home loss to Paris St. Germain.
Tim Weah played 83 minutes in the win for Lille. While the New Yorker did well to get into dangerous positions throughout the game, his finishing was off and he was unable to convert any of his chances. His outing was a big of a mixed bag.
Nicholas Gioacchini played 61 minutes in the loss. It was tough for Caen to get involved in this game as PSG had the ball most of the time. Gioacchini only saw limited touches and limited opportunities throughout this game and will now refocus for play in Ligue 2.