Americans abroad analysis

Busio, Scally, and Aaronson top an otherwise subpar weekend for Americans abroad

ASN's Brian Sciaretta looks back on the last round of club games for Americans abroad before the October window. Some Americans performed very well - but mostly it was a subpar weekend. In terms of those who stood out in a good way, Gianluca Busio, Brenden Aaronson, and Joe Scally were at the top of the list. 
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
October 04, 2021
6:05 AM

THE WEEKEND FOR AMERICANS abroad was mixed and mostly negative for the European-based contingent of players – especially for those on the October roster.

With so many players in Europe, there are always good moments and Gianluca Busio, Brenden Aaronson, and Tyler Adams had noteworthy games ahead of their trip to Texas to join the U.S. team. Tim Weah also had a nice assist for Lille but only played limited minutes.

Among those not on the October roster, Joe Scally had a standout performance (again) and Matt Miazga was sharp in a loss. Ian Harkes is playing like one of the best players in Scotland. Alan Sonora continues to impress for Independiente in Argentina.

But there were a lot of setbacks. A bunch of players (both on the U.S. roster and among those left off) had average to below average games

There are also some players who did not play. A few were understandable. Jordan Pefok has been playing well for Young Boys and the fact he went as an unused sub on Sunday is probably due to managing minutes. Nicholas Gioacchini hasn’t had a regular run of extended minutes for Montpellier but he is still new to his club.

Arguably the same could be said for Matthew Hoppe who is still getting adjusted to La Liga with Mallorca and did not play over the weekend. Hoppe, however, is with the national team and it might be tough for him to play a lot of minutes this window when he’s not playing for his club.

Julian Green is a concern and he is a player working hard to get back into the national team. After this past weekend, he’s been an unused sub for two of Greuther Furth’s last three games. That team is struggling to compete in the Bundesliga with just one point thus far. Green is in a tough place right now to make a case for him and unless he moves, it looks like he will be back in the 2.Bundesliga next season.

Shaq Moore was a controversial selection to the upcoming national team roster and it’s easy to see why. There are players such as Joe Scally and even Kyle Duncan playing well but Moore is not getting regular minutes for Tenerife (he did not get off the bench this weekend). He had some positive minutes at the Gold Cup, but he returned to Spain in a worse situation with his club.

Konrad de la Fuente has certainly cooled off in Spain with Marseille. He struggled last weekend and did not get off the bench on Sunday in a 2-0 loss to Lille. It’s easy to forget with his national team involvement and his time at Barcelona that he is still very new to first team soccer (less than 500 minutes). He’s still dealing with the normal setbacks young players go through. He should be fine but the talk over him being a key U.S. national team player is understandably cooling – for now.

The biggest concern, however, is Owen Otasowie. The once highly rated prospect transferred this summer from Wolves to Club Brugge to essentially get regular minutes. Otasowie, 20, has had an enormously difficult time – with murky reports surfacing over his performance in training and in practice games. On Sunday, Otasowie was subbed out of a Brugge reserve team game after just 30 minutes due to a poor level he was showing. The situation is very bleak right now and he needs to turn around quickly.


Busio’s scores dramatic equalizer


On Friday, Gianluca Busio got the start for Venezia on Friday in an away matchup against Cagliari. It didn’t start well for the former Sporting Kansas City midfielder as he was partially at fault for Cagliari’s opening goal. Busio had the ball deep in the attacking half, was dispossessed by turning into a defender. The ensuing counterattack resulted in a goal from Keita Baldé. Busio was far from the only Venezia player at fault as the team had enough defenders back who should have been able to defend the opportunity.

But Busio was one of the team’s best players overall and in stoppage time, he was rewarded with his first Serie A goal. Busio showed some impressive skill on the play with his quick turn and shot. Venezia is still in an uphill climb to survive in Serie A but the team is a much tougher out than it was in the beginning of the season.


Busio has adjusted very quickly into Serie A. The biggest concern many had for him in moving to Italy was his defense and ball winning. Busio has made impressive strides in this area having won over 50% of his duels in 5/6 of his games so far.

His numbers for this game:

  • 90 minutes
  • 73 touches
  • 2 shots
  • 1 goal
  • 1 key pass
  • 56/65 passing
  • 4/6 long balls
  • 7/12 duels won
  • 5/8 aerials won

Busio is in great shape heading into the international window.


Scally scores to seal M’Gladbach win


Borussia Monchengladbach defeated Wolfsburg 3-1 away on Saturday. Joe Scally got the start for M’Gladbach at rightwing back but switched to the left side around the hour mark. John Brooks played the second half for Wolfsburg in the loss.

Scally, 18, had very good defensive numbers. His duel winning and tackling are excellent. His reads the game well on both sides and his defensive positioning is impressive. His game was far from perfect as his passing was shaky at times. He only got off one cross, and his dribbling wasn’t there – except for the fact he drew some fouls.


His goal at the end, however, was a big moment in his career. It was his first professional goal and he did well to play the ball to himself in space, cut into the middle, and beat the goalkeeper.

As for Brooks, it wasn’t a great 45 minutes and he still has work to do in order to reverse the skid he has been on the past 5-6 weeks.


Adams stars in big Leipzig win


On Saturday, Leipzig hosted Bochum and it was a game Jesse Marsch really needed to win after its slow start in the Bundesliga and its two losses to open its Champions League campaign.

Fortunately for Masrch, his team scored three goals between the 69th and 78th minutes to earn a 3-0 win. Tyler Adams started and played a full 90 minutes in what was one of the best performances from the weekend among players on the upcoming October U.S. roster. 

What is important to note is that Adams started on the right side but drifted into the middle around the hour mark ahead of the three-goal outburst. The team played its best soccer when he was moved to the middle.

It was a good win for Marsch against a relegation-battling team. There are still concerns about the club in Germany and that will only be erased once Leipzig starts beating the better teams in the league and climbs inside the top five.


McKennie & Juve win derby


Weston McKennie started for Juventus on Saturday in the Derby Dell Mole against hosting Torino. In the end, Juventus got the result it needed with a 1-0 win. Things are starting to trend upward for Juve with four straight wins (three in Serie A along with a 1-0 win over Chelsea in the Champions League).

The loss of Cristiano Ronaldo was expected to leave a massive void and Max Allegri is putting things back together. It’s not always smooth and the team isn’t always playing well. But part of being a good team is winning when you’re not playing well.

McKennie isn’t playing close to the level he was at the middle of last season when he was surging for Juventus. In the win over Torino, he missed some tough chances and had some bad turnovers. Later in the game he was shifted to a more advanced position in the midfield to reflect Allegri’s statements that he believes Mckennie can score lots of goals.

What’s most important, is that McKennie is continuing to play. It’s a big vote of confidence that the club is allowing him to work through a slump because it shows they believe in the value of an in-form McKennie. The fact that the club is winning will also likely mean that McKennie will continue to get a longer leash.


Musah starts in Valencia draw


Yunus Musah, 18, started for Valencia on Saturday in a 0-0 away draw to Cadiz in La Liga. Musah ended up playing 85 minutes in this game and while he had some nice moments, he was mostly quiet.

Musah was playing on the right side of the midfield and in generally was pretty passive in the attack. He’s good in possession and he’s very strong physically but, perhaps its where he is playing, he is not really having much of an impact offensively. In this game he generated very little.

  • 85 minutes
  • 55 touches
  • 0 shots
  • 1 key pass
  • 26/30 passing
  • 1/1 crossing
  • 1/1 long balls
  • 5/13 duels won
  • 2/6 dribbles
  • 3x dispossessed
  • 1x fouled

Musah will be heading to Texas for perhaps his first non-friendly for the U.S. team. It could be an exciting moment for him on a big stage, but it will be interesting to see how he fits in and if he can help boost the team’s attack.


Dest and Barca lose


It’s not a fun time these days at Barcelona. The club is losing and it seems like only a matter of time before Ronald Koeman is fired. Without Messi, the team is struggling to compete.

Dest had a strong game last weekend against Levante in the Champions League playing on the left side with Jordi Alba out injured. But midweek was a brutal 3-0 loss against Benfica in the Champions League. On Saturday, Barca had to travel to the capital to face Atletico Madrid – one of the best teams in the world. Unsurprisingly, they lost 2-0.

It was a tough game for Dest and he was at the heart of poor defending on Atletico’s goal from Luis Suarez. Dest was chasing Suarez and, for some reason, slowed down on his run and gave Suarez a lot more space to shoot.


Overall, Dest wasn’t poor but it certainly won’t be a game for him to remember as he had little impact – both offensively and defensively.


Miazga strong in Alaves loss


Matt Miazga started on Friday for Deportivo Alaves in a 1-0 loss to Athletic Club in Bilbao. Miazga has been playing very well lately and while Alaves could find itself in a relegation battle, it is a tough out these days. Over its last three games – Espanyol, Atletico Madrid, and Athletic Club – the team has now conceded just two goals.

Miazga is looking very comfortable in La Liga and he’s been the heart of the team’s backline. Against Alaves, he was not at fault for Atheltic’s only goal. He helped keep Atheltic from generating too many chances and he gave his team an opportunity to get a result.

His numbers were excellent:

  • 90 minutes
  • 60 touches
  • 4 shots
  • 2 key passes
  • 32/38 passing
  • 6/9 duels won
  • 7/8 long balls
  • 8 clearances
  • 2 fouls
  • 3 interceptions
  • 6/7 aerials won


These are the performances Miazga needs to turn in on a regular basis to set a new tone for his career. He is only on loan at Alaves and he has stated he wants to sign a permanent deal somewhere. He is also on the outside of the USMNT picture right now. If he can play like this on a regular basis, he will improve his situation for both club and country.


Sonora notches two assists for Independiente


It was a thrilling game on Saturday in Argentina when Velez Sarsfield hosted Independiente in what ended up a 3-3 draw.

American-born midfielder Alan Sonora posted two assists in this one for Independiente and was subbed out in the 75th minute with his team up 3-1. Following his departure, Independiente collapsed and had to settle for a draw. Independiente now sits in fifth place.

Sonora, 23, was played centrally but was often shifted to the right. Both of his assists came from crosses from the right side.





It was a good game all around for Sonora who also completed 32/34 of his passes and had a big impact on the game. Sonora now has nine starts on the season for Independiente and he has three goals and two assists.

It will be interesting to see if Sonora earns a move. If he doesn’t move to Europe in January, he will turn 24 next summer. That is on the older side for a South American-based player to move to Europe. MLS teams have also acquired top players in South America at this age.

Still, even if he stays with Independiente, that’s a good level for one of Argentina’s best teams. Continued solid player there might earn him a call-up to the U.S. team.


Sargent starts in Norwich’s lackluster draw


Josh Sargent started for Norwich on Saturday in an away 0-0 draw with Burnley. It was a game that was brutal to watch as neither team offered anything positive. Sargent had just one shot (which was blocked), had 30 touches, and was 9/16 passing. He was subbed out in stoppage time.

It was Norwich’s first point of the season but the team’s offense is seriously lacking these days. As for Sargent, it’s tough. He is putting in the effort and he works very hard during the games. But the final product just isn’t there right now. He’s not separating from defenders to get good chances and he’s still coming up short when he does.


Aaronson assists in Salzburg win


Brenden Aaronson and Red Bull Salzburg continue to roll through the Austrian Bundesliga season with ease. On Sunday, Salzburg posted a 3-1 win over LASK to remain perfect on the season with 30 points from 10 games.

Aaronson was very good in this game. What was particularly interesting is that the number of touches he is getting in games continues to increase. Today, it was 68 touches. That increased amount is allowing him to have a bigger impact in the game – that is paying off dividends for Salzburg.

One note is that Aaronson was also fouled a whopping seven times in this game. LASK had to resort to fouling Aaronson as part of its defense.

  • 90 minutes
  • 68 touches
  • 3 key passes
  • 1 assist
  • 2 shots
  • 25/35 passing
  • 1 cross
  • 1/3 long balls
  • 11/23 duels won
  • 3/5 dribbles
  • 7x fouled
  • 1/1 tackles
  • 2 interceptions


Aaronson is playing very well ahead of the October camp and with no Reyna or Pulisic, he will be one of the players asked to be a big offensive contributor.


Tough day for Ream & Robinson


Tim Ream and Antonee Robinson both had a tough day at the office on Saturday in a 4-1 away loss to Coventry City. Both U.S. national team defenders got the start and Fulham actually had a 1-0 lead at the half. Everything came undone for Fulham in the second half and neither American played well.

Robinson played his typical left back role and was actually called for a penalty for Coventry’s second goal but upon replay, it was a bad call and Robinson seemed to make no contact on the play.

Tim Ream withdrew from the national team camp for family reasons but Robinson is travelling to Texas for the upcoming camp – unfortunately with a tough result and performance leading into it.


Richards & Hoffenheim fall to Stuttgart


It was a tough game for Hoffenhiem on Saturday in a 3-1 loss to VfB Stuttgart. U.S. national team defender Chris Richards got the start for Hoffenheim and he did fairly well. He wasn’t at fault for any of the goals, won 7/10 of his duels, had four clearances, and was 69/76 in passing. Still, no one on his team will want to remember this game.

On the flip side, this was a nice win for American manager Pellegrino Matarazzo as his Stuttgart needed this win to stay in midtable (currently 12th place).

As for Richards, he should be arriving into camp with a really good chance of playing games.


Weah assists in Lille win


There really was only one thing to write about from an American perspective when Lille hosted Marseille on Sunday. Both Tim Weah and Konrad de la Fuente were on the bench for this one but Weah came into the game in the 72nd minute with Lille up 1-0. Five minute later, Marseille was reduced to 10 players following a red card.

In stoppage time, Weah had a delightful assist when he had a first-rate control of a looping pass followed by a driving pass to cross to Jonthan David for a goal to seal a 2-0 win.


Weah will now be arriving in Texas playing solid soccer – and he will be an important offensive player with many attackers struggling at the moment.

As for de la Fuente, he has cooled off a bit after a hot start. After slowing down a bit, he struggled last game and didn’t get off the bench against Lille. It’s best he wasn’t called up to the U.S. team and could use the time staying with his club during the international break.


De la Torre starts in Heracles win


Luca de la Torre, 23, will arrive in Texas for his first World Cup qualifying camp on a winning note after playing a full 90 for Heracles in a 3-2 over Willem II. It was a big win for de la Torre and Heracles as Willem II has been off to an excellent start in the Eredivisie and even with the loss is in fourth place.

It was a quiet day for de la Torre who completed 39/46 passing but wasn’t part of anything dangerous in the attack. His strength was helping Heracles keep the ball (52% possession) with his 60 touches and making few mistakes to gift Willem II needless chances.


Palmer-Brown's Troyes debut


In France, Erik Palmer-Brown earned the start for Troyes on Sunday in what was his club debut, his league debut, and his debut in one of Europe’s “Big 5” leagues. In that regard, it was an important moment in his career.

Palmer-Brown ended up playing 77 minutes in a 2-0 loss and he was removed as the club shifted to a more attacking formation. He was not at fault for either goal (as a teammate lost his man on a corner kick for the first goal and another teammate gifted a penalty off a handball for the second goal), and generally was competent.

Considering this was his first game since May, the Kansas City native enjoyed a solid outing despite the loss. The team can use better defense as a potential relegation battle looms.


Chandler starts in big upset


Timothy Chandler, 31, rarely starts for Eintracht Frankfurt these days but he was given the nod what looked to be a brutal assignment away against Bayern Munich.

But in one of the biggest upsets of the European season so far, Eintracht Frankfurt posted a 2-1 away win. Chandler played the full 90 at left wing back in the win.

Chandler didn’t really do much and was invisible for long stretches. He had just 24 touches, didn’t have a successful dribble, and was a mere 6/12 in passing. Defensively, he didn’t have a clearance, a tackle, an interception, or a blocked shot. He won just 1/3 duels.

Overall, that was about as little involvement you’d see from a winning team but still, it’s was an accomplishment just being part of such an upset.


Yedlin edges Boyd in Turkey


Two Americans faced off in Turkey when Tyler Boyd and Rizespor hosted DeAndre Yedlin and Galatasaray on Sunday. In an interesting note, both Americans played right back – which marks a positional switch for Boyd.

This game was a wild one with both teams going back an forth with each other throughout. Rizespor was awarded a penalty following a Galatasaray red-card foul in the 88th minute. They missed the chance to pull ahead. Each team had chances to win but in the 11th minute of stoppage time, Galatasaray found a winner.

There was a little of note regarding Boyd. For Yedlin, it was a fairly solid outing as his passing was pretty good. He connected on 27/32 passes including 4/5 of his long balls.

Heading into Texas, Yedlin looks to be in a position where he could be the U.S. team’s starter for at least one game at right back.


Harkes, Ramirez, & CCV in Scotland


Ian Harkes and Dundee United continued to roll in Scotland and Saturday’s 1-0 win over Ross County moved United into fifth in the Scottish Premiership. Prior to this game, Harkes was named the league’s Player of the Month for September. In his first game in October, he picked up right where he left off with an assist to Ilmari Niskanen for the game’s only goal.


On Sunday, Aberdeen hosted Celtic with Christian Ramirez starting for Aberdeen and Cameron Carter-Vickers starting for Celtic.

Celtic was able to contain Ramirez, holding him to just one shot and 23 touches. Carter-Vickers, meanwhile, had a good game and had nine clearances to help neutralize Aberdeen’s attack.



Other news


In Germany’s Bundesliga, Gio Reyna remained out injured for Borussia Dortmund in a 2-1 win over Augsburg on Saturday. Julian Green was an unused substitute for Greuther Furth in a 3-1 loss to FC Koln.

In Ligue 1, Nicholas Gioacchini was an 88th minute substitute for Montpellier in a 1-1 draw with Strasbourg.

In Ligue 2, Amir Richardson started and played well for Le Havre in a 2-0 win over Dijon to move into fourth place in the league. It was Le Havre’s third straight win. Richardson, a defensive midfielder, was born in France to an American father and an French-Moroccan mother. On Monday he was called up to Morocco’s U-23 team for a training camp.

In Portugal's Primeira Liga, Reggie Cannon once again didn't make Boavista's matchday roster in a 2-2 draw with SC Braga. Alex Mendez played the final 15 minutes for Vizela in a 1-1 draw with Santa Clara. He was on the field but did not contribute to his club's late equalizer.

In the second tier of Austria, Uly Llanez played 70 minutes for St. Poelten in a 3-1 away win over a very young FC Juniors OÖ team. In Austria’s Bundesliga, Thomas Roberts was an unused sub for Austria Klagenfurt in a 1-1 draw with SV Ried.


In Denmark’s top tier, Emmanuel Sabbi started for OB Odense in a 6-0 win over last-place Vejle BK. Despite the score, Sabbi struggled in this one going 72 minutes, 11/19 passing, 32 touches, 2/9 duels, 0/2 dribbles, 0 shots, and 1 key pass. Christian Cappis played the final 17 minutes for Brondby in a 1-1 draw with Randers.

In Turkey’s Super Lig, Haji Wright went a full 90 for Antalyaspor in a 2-1 home loss to Adana Demirspor.

In Belgium’s top tier, Chris Durkin played 60 minutes for St. Truiden in a 1-1 draw with Oostende. Meanwhile, U.S. national team central defender Mark McKenzie was an unused sub for Genk in an ugly 3-2 loss to Eupen.

In the Premier League, Zack Steffen remained on the bench for Manchester City's 2-2 draw with Liverpool. Christian Pulisic was still out injured and missed Chelsea's 3-1 draw with Southampton.

In the Championship, Ethan Horvath was on the bench for Nottingham Forest's 3-0 win for Birmingham City. Duane Holmes played the final 17 minutes for Huddersfield Town in a 0-0 away draw vs. Luton Town.

In League One, Charlie Kelman was an unused substitute for Gillingham in a 2-0 home loss to Wigan. Lynden Gooch remained out injured and missed Sunderland's 4-0 loss to Portsmouth.

In Spain’s La Liga, Matthew Hoppe did not get off the bench for Mallorca in a 1-0 win over Levante. In the Segunda, Shaq Moore did not get off the bench either for Tenerife in a 2-1 away win over SD Huesca.

In Hungary’s HB 1, Henry Wingo played the final 23 minutes for Ferencvaros in a 3-1 away win over Paksi SE. That win moved Ferencvaros to the top of the table.

In the Swiss Super League, Jordan Pefok was an unused sub for BSC Young Boys in a 6-0 win over Servette.

In Brazil, Johnny Cardoso did not get off the bench for Internacional in a 1-0 away loss to Altetico MG.

In Israel’s Premier League, Kenny Saief played the first half for Ashdod in a 2-1 home loss to Hapoel Hadera.

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