Americans abroad analysis
Dike, Aaronson, Brooks star in mostly quiet Easter weekend for Americans in Europe
April 05, 2021
EASTER WEEKEND and Easter Monday provided a lot of games and for Americans abroad, as always, there were some very good performances and some performances players would like to forget. This weekend, however, was very inactive for most of the top players who comprise the core of the United States national team.
Emerging core players Brenden Aaronson and Daryl Dike both had huge efforts over the weekend that played a role in important results. But for the existing core, it was a quiet weekend for most.
Obviously, the big news was Christian Pulisic who started for Chelsea against relegation-battling West Bromwich Albion. The Hershey native started and scored off a free kick in the 28th minute to put Chelsea up 1-0.
Pulisic had been trending up but that was the last bit of good news for Chelsea and Pulisic. Chelsea was reduced to 10 players after Thiago Silva picked up his second yellow in the 29th minute. Even worse, Pulisic was taken off at halftime due to a hamstring injury and West Brom stormed to a 5-2 win.
Chelsea remains in fourth place but it remains to be seen how much time Pulisic will miss and he continues to struggle with injuries.
For Weston McKennie, it was an ugly week. Juventus suspended him along with two other players (Arthur and Paulo Dybala being the other) for taking part in a midweek party that broke COVID-19 protocols. McKennie reportedly hosted the party and was not selected for the Derby della Mole against Torino on Saturday and it was a disappointing 2-2 result for Juve.
For Yunus Musah and Gio Reyna, both 18, the duo were resigned to being late substitutes for their respective clubs. Reyna came into Borussia Dortmund’s game against Eintracht Frankfurt with the score 1-1 and was on the field as Eintracht scored an 87th minute. It was result that could be very costly in Dortmund’s effort to earn a spot in Europe next year (Timothy Chandler played the final 16 minutes in the win for Eintracht).
Meanwhile in Spain, Cadiz scored an 88th minute goal to move ahead of Valencia 2-1. One minute later, Musah came into the game for Valencia but the equalizer never came. The game, however, will be remembered for horrible reasons.
There were a bunch of players suspended this past weekend as DeAndre Yedlin missed Galtasaray’s loss, Josh Sargent missed Werder Bremen’s loss, and Nicholas Gioacchini missed SM Caen’s draw.
Bryan Reynolds was an used sub for Roma’s draw with Sassuolo. Neither Antonee Robinson nor Tim Ream got off the bench for Fulham in a devastating 3-1 loss to Aston Villa – which is a severe blow to the Cottager’s hopes of avoiding relegation. Zack Steffen was not even on the bench for Manchester City due to injury and missed out on a 2-0 win over Leicester. USMNT backup keeper Ethan Horvath did not get off the bench for Club Brugge in a 2-1 win over Kortrijk
Sergino Dest, however, started and played 87 minutes for Barcelona in a huge 1-0 win over Real Vallodolid. Barcelona has been gaining ground on Atletico Madrid and after this win now sits just one point out of first. The U.S. national team fullback was not on the field for Ousmane Dembele's 90th minute winner.
In other words, it was a huge chunk of the USMNT core in Europe simply did not do much this weekend.
That being said, it was eventful for plenty of other players.
Dike’s big day
Daryl Dike, 20, continues to fascinate on his loan to Barnsley. On Monday, he scored twice to give Barnsley a 2-1 win over Luton Town.
His first goal came in the 27th minute on a very nice run into the box and an very well-taken shot.
His second was off a rebound where the keeper made a mistake, but Dike was quick to react and beat his man to the ball.
Abraham Zapruder checks in with his video of Daryl Dike's 2nd goal today for Barnsley. The Oklahoma native pounces on the rebound. Keeper mistake but Dike is very quick here to beat his defender to the ball. He moves so well for guy his size. https://t.co/K0F4Uw3297— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) April 5, 2021
Dike went for the hat trick in the 83rd minute but missed a penalty that would have given Barnsley 3-0 lead.
His numbers were very interesting in this but they reflect the job he has done since arriving at Barnsley.
- 90 minutes
- 42 touches
- 4 shots
- 2 goals
- 7/17 passing (41%)
- 1 cross
- 13/25 duels won
- 8/16 aerials won
- 2 clearances
- 1 dribble (3 attempts)
- 3x fouled
- 1 foul
- 2x offside
His numbers in the Championship thus far are remarkably unusual.
- 13 games
- 850 minutes
- 7 goals
- 22 shots
- 199 pass attempts
- 93 completed passes
- 46.73% passing
- 266 duel attempts
- 113 duels won
- 42.48% duel winning
- 83 aerials won
- 190 aerial attempts
- 43.68% aerial winning
Every minute or two he is involved in a duel or an aerial and his poor pass completion percentage is reflective of him receiving the ball most in dangerous areas with defenders close on him. The winning percentage of his duels and aerials is also not reflective of him seeking out a huge number of opportunities – where the likelihood of success is less than 50-50.
At Orlando, he was a more conventional forwards but in Barnsley he has walked into the most physical league in the world and is outbattling his opponents and helping his club rapidly climb the table. It’s very unusual to have the number of aerial and duel attempts Dike puts out in a per 90 minute basis. He also has the ability to move well and score. He’s very unique and it’s easy to see why he would be in great demand.
Aaronson's big assist
Brenden Aaronson earned the start for Red Bull Salzburg against Sturm Graz in the Austrian Bundesliga as the league split between Championship and Relegation halves this past weekend.
This game got off to a blistering start with Patson Daka completing a hat trick for Salzburg in the 11th minute. Three minutes later, Sturm Graz notched a goal to cut it to 3-1. But after the 14th minute there would be no more scoring.
Aaronson, 20, assisted on Daka’s second goal in the 5th minute and it was an incredible assist for the former Philadelphia Union midfielder.
His numbers in this one don’t reflect that he was dangerous throughout and was a big driving force in Salzburg’s chances.
- 77 minutes
- 36 touches
- 1 shot
- 1 assist
- 2 key passes
- 13/22 passing (56%)
- 2 crosses
- 4/5 duels won
- 2/5 successful dribbles
- 1x fouled
- 1 foul
- 0/1 aerials won
- 1/1 tackles
Like Dike, Aaronson has had a great 2020 season in MLS and his now taking it to Europe. While not at the highest levels in Europe, it seems like only a matter of time until they’re both in the Big Five leagues. For Aaronson, however, he is in a great chance to win the Austrian Bundesliga and Austrian Cup to go along with his 2020 Supporters Shield. Playing under Jesse Marsch is truly working out.
Brooks big in Wolfsburg win
John Brooks once again earned the start for Wolfsburg on Saturday as they hosted Koln on Saturday. The game was a nail-biter and Wolfsburg prevailed 1-0. With the win, it stayed in third place, four points clear of fourth place Eintracht Frankfurt, 14 points safe of the Champions League spots, and within three points of second-place Leipzig.
Brooks is a huge part of Wolfsburg’s success and the team has conceded just 22 goals in 27 games this season.
- 90 minutes
- 87 touches
- 0 shots
- 1 key pass
- 56/71 passing (79%)
- 8/13 long balls
- 8/9 duels
- 1/1 aerials
- 1 tackle
- 2 interceptions
- 6 clearances
- 1 foul
- 2x fouled
This was a very good game for Brooks and his passing and duel winning was superb. But even more importantly, Brooks has been so consistent this season and it has been the best season of his career, so far. Next year, of course, will be another step up as he will take part in the Champions League as well.
Huge win for Weah and Lille
It was the biggest game of the Ligue 1 season, so far, on Saturday when Lille visited Paris St. Germain in a matchup between the top two teams in France. PSG entered into this game in first place but was ahead of Lille only on goal differential.
In this game, however, Lille came away with a huge 1-0 win to move back atop the table. Tim Weah was on the bench and not on the field for Jonathan David’s 20th minute goal. The U.S. national team attacker came into the game in the game in the 35th minute to replace David after an injury.
For Weah, it was a tough game to analyze as PSG was stepping it up at home for most of the time he was on the field. Over 55 minutes, he had just 16 touches and was 8/8 passing.
His best moments, however, came later in the second half after a tactical switch moved him to right midfield and he was more involved offensively – nearly coming up with an assist that would have iced the game.
The big questions is how much time, if any, will David miss. Weah has played a lot since December but he might see even a bigger role down the stretch as he attempts to be part of a Ligue 1 championship.
Adams & Leipzig fall to Bayern
The Bundesliga title race is likely over after Leipzig fell to Bayern 1-0 on Saturday. The winning goal came in the 38th minute from Leon Goretzka on an assist by Thomas Muller. A Leipzig win in this one would have reduced its gap behind Bayern to just one point. Now it is seven points.
Unlike recent games where he has been on right side, Tyler Adams started in his preferred central midfield in this one and played 81 minutes. His numbers were decent.
- 81 minutes
- 80 touches
- 0 shots
- 0 key passes
- 61/69 passing
- 1/1 long balls
- 2 crosses
- 4/9 duels won
- 1 foul
- 0 dribbles
- 1x fouled
- 1 clearance
- 0 interceptions
What the numbers don’t reflect, unfortunately, is that he struggled at times with Muller – including on the goal. Muller is a fantastic player, obviously, and most players struggle against him. Still, this game removed any kind of drama from the top half of the Bundesliga. Bayern will win the title and Leipzig, Wolfsburg, and Eintracht Frankfurt will join them in the Champions League. Certainly not a bad place to be for Leipzig and it is probably as best as they could have hoped for in preseason.
Busy times in Austria
While Brenden Aaronson is busy in the Championship half of the Austrian Bundesliga, a large number of Americans were involved in the lower half of the table.
Erik Palmer-Brown started and put forth an impressive performance in a 2-0 win over an SCR Altach team that featured former U.S. youth international-turned Serbian national team defender Neven Subotic. Winning the relegation half would still keep Austria Vienna in the hopes for a Europa League spot next season and it currently leads this half of the table.
Three American players featured when Admira Modling defeated St. Poelten 1-0. Brandon Servania started for St. Poelten and went the distance. Andrew Wooten started and played 89 minutes for Admira. Taylor Booth played the final 25 minutes for St. Poelten.
This game was interesting in that each of the American players played well and it provides questions as to where each player will be next season. Wooten won’t stick around at Admira if they are relegated. The win here helps its case and while it is in last-place, it trails Altach only on goal differential. Servania is at St. Poelten on loan and is doing well – despite the loss, he played well in this game. He is at St. Poelten only on loan and he will likely return to FC Dallas, but perhaps offers will come from other teams to Dallas. Booth has played well but hasn’t been starting. A return to Bayern Munich seems counter productive and another loan seems likely, but where? Maybe back to St. Poelten?
McKenzie solid in Genk win
Mark McKenzie wasn’t on the U.S. national team roster for March but in remaining with Genk, he ensured that he was starting in the club’s first game after the break – against OH Leuven on the road.
Genk won this one 3-2 and
McKenzie goes a full 90 in a 3-2 win and McKenzie was steady in this one. He was not at fault for either of Leuven’s goals (both came from a free kick from the left side of the field).
- 63 touches
- 0 shots
- 1 key pass
- 49/52 passing (94%)
- 5/7 long balls
- 4/6 duels won
- 4 clearances
- 2 tackles
- 0 fouls
This are important games for Genk as the table is tight. They won’t catch Club Brugge but the second place team has the ability to qualify for the Champions League in the playoff. Genk is now just one point behind second place Royal Antwerp.
In starting McKenzie in this game, it is a big sign of faith in the youngster.
Cannon & Boavista post big win
If Boavista is going to avoid relegation out of Portugal’s top flight, Saturday’s 2-0 win over Belenenses on the road is going to be a big reason why. This was a game Boavista had to have, and they got it. With the win, it moved one point clear of the relegation zone and into the first automatically safe spot.
U.S. national team right back Reggie Cannon started this one and had a steady shift. Offensively he didn’t contribute that much but defensively he was solid and locked down his side of the field.
- 89 minutes
- 55 touches
- 0 shots
- 0 key passes
- 30/36 passing
- 0/2 long balls
- 0/2 accurate crosses
- 5/10 duels won
- 2 clearances
- 1 dribble
- 1x fouled
- 1 foul
- 1/2 tackles
- 1/3 dribbles
- 1/2 aerials won
Next up is a big game against Rio Ave that will give Boavista a chance to climb further into safety. For Cannon, relegation would bring up the challenge of finding another club just one year after heading to Europe.
American manager Pellegrino Matarazzo and Stuttgart defeated a Sargent-less Werder Bremen on Sunday 1-0 to move into eighth place in the Bundesliga. Matarazzo has been very successful one season after guiding Stuttgart to promotion and the club is just four points outside of the league’s Europa spot.
In Hungary, Henry Wingo played the final 10 minutes for Ferencvaros in a 4-0 win over Budafok. Ferencvaros is running away with the country’s top division with a 13-point lead and can clinch the title next week against second place Puskas Academy. Wingo left the Seattle Sounders in 2019 and Seattle later won MLS Cup that year. He then joined Molde in Norway which won the Norwegian title. Now in 2021, he is going to add a Hungarian title to his name. Not bad for the American right back from Seattle.
Julian Green and Greuther Furth posted a big 1-0 away win over Heidenheim. Green played well and it was a great result for Furth, not just because of the win but also because all the other results broke their way. Holstein Kiel lost and Hamburg blew a 3-0 lead to settle for a 3-3 draw with Hannover. The result is that Furth is now in third place, four points ahead of Holstein Kiel and trailing second place Hamburg on goal differential.
In Hamburg’s 3-3 draw, soon-to-be Real Salt Lake forward Bobby Wood started and struggled with his finishing. Still the bigger problem was poor defense in the second half.
Also in the 2.Bundesliga, Jan George started and scored a 5th minute goal for Jahn Regensburg in a 1-1 draw with Erzgebirge Aue.
In the Eredivisie, Luca de la Torre and Heracles dropped a 3-0 decision to PSV Eindhoven. De la Torre has had a great month with Heracles and then a strong return to the national team but PSV controlled this game.
In Belgium, Matt Miazga and Andrelecht posted a huge 4-1 win over second place Royal Antwerp. That result moved Anderlecht into fourth and within striking distance of second place. Miazga was conservative in this one but that is what was asked of him to preserve the comfortable win.
Matt Miazga: raw # for 4th place Anderlecht in 4-1 away win vs 2nd place Antwerp— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) April 5, 2021
Only 3 completed passes in opposing half
0 long balls
6/10 duels won
6/7 aerials won
In the Danish Superliga relegation playoff, Emmanuel Sabbi started for OB and played 81 minutes in a 1-1 draw against AC Horsens. It was 1-0 when he left.