Hoppe & Gioacchini score, McKennie wins silverware, Morris leaves camp, & more
January 19, 2021
AT THIS POINT, there is no stopping Matthew Hoppe in the Bundesliga and the American teen has taken Germany’s top flight by storm in the first few weeks of 2021 with his fifth goal in his past three games. Hoppe’s run along with Jordan Morris’ departure from the USMNT camp, and McKennie’s silverware, made for a huge Wednesday’s worth of news in American soccer.
There was a lot to break down, so let’s start with the games.
Hoppe scores again!
Matthew Hoppe’s run is remarkable right now and the American teenager is setting himself up for a fascinating 2021 on many different levels.
First there was the hat trick for Schalke in a 4-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt. That performance snapped the club’s 30-game winless streak in the Bundesliga. Then he scored a goal in a 3-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt. And now on Tuesday Hoppe scored again – this time in a 2-1 loss to FC Koln. Iwas his fifth goal in his past three Bundesliga games.
Hoppe! Again! His 5th in the last 3 games pulls Schalke even at 1-1 pic.twitter.com/uzcItGCvUM— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) January 20, 2021
The Orange County native scored in the 57th minute to pull Schalke level at 1-1. Unfortunately for Schalke, it was not enough to prevent a catastrophic loss in the relegation battle. Schalke is now eight points shy of the relegation playoff position and 10 points from automatic safety.
Over 90 minutes, Hoppe was strong and worked hard. His duel-winning percentage struggled a bit but only because he hustled to get into duels where he had a low percentage of winning.
Matthew Hoppe: raw # for Schalke in a 2-1 loss to Koln— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) January 20, 2021
15/20 passing (75%)
1 chance created
1 key pass
1 dribble (1 attempt)
3 duels won (6 lost)
2 aerials won (5 lost)
- what a scoring run! #USMNT
The situation is grim for Schalke, but it is bright for Hoppe who is now on the radar of countless clubs in Germany and throughout Europe. With each passing game, the odds that he remains with the club after this season is slim, regardless of his contract status after this year - with various reports saying he is a free agent in June.
It also means that he is climbing up the forward ranks very quickly on the national team ranks at a time when Jozy Altidore is coming off another injury riddled season and Josh Sargent is struggling to score. Among the younger emerging core – such as Niko Gioacchini, Daryl Dike, Jeremy Ebobisse, Sebastian Soto, and Ayo Akinola, Hoppe is probably at the top of the list at the moment.
As big as the past few weeks have been for Hoppe, the upcoming weeks and months could be even bigger. Next up? Bayern Munich this weekend.
Gioacchini scores in cup win
It has been a rough stretch the past few weeks for SM Caen as its tough run in Ligue 2 has essentially ended its hopes of promotion. But on Wednesday, it got back on track in the French Cup with a 3-1 win over fellow Ligue 2 side Guingamp. With the win, it advanced to the ninth round of the domestic cup.
Gioacchini, 20, scored in the 47th minute to put Caen up 2-0. It was a fantastic effort from the Kansas City-born forward who has four goals in league play and two penalties drawn. This is his first tally of the current French Cup campaign.
On the goal, Gioacchini showed off his speed, technicality, and his scoring ability. In this game he played mostly on the right wing as he oscillates between forward and wing.
McKennie & Juve win SuperCup
Weston McKennie hasn’t even been in Italy for six months and already he is a regular starter with Juventus with silverware in hand. That title came on Wednesday when the Texan started and went the distance in a 2-0 win over Napoli in the Super Cup.
McKennie, 22, didn’t have his best game but he was still solid. It is pretty clear to see that Juventus is so much better with him on the field and he is important to the way the team plays. In both helping to disrupt Napoli’s attack as well as lead quick transitions for Juventus into the attack, McKennie covered a ton of ground in this one and his engine is extremely impressive. It is easy to see why Juventus wanted him and he will be a big part of the team for years to come.
With the Super Cup win, McKennie became the first U.S. international to win silverware in Italy.
Johnny & Inter sit atop Brazil
There are a bunch of Americans aiming to win Silverware across the globe this year – not just in Europe, or back on the domestic front, but in South America as well.
On Wednesday night, Internacional visited Sao Paulo in a matchup of the top two teams in Brazil. In the end, it was no contest as Internacional waked away with a 5-1 win. The three points moved it two points clear atop Brazil’s Serie A. Johnny Cardoso, 19, missed most of December with an injury but played his second straight game when he came on in the 72nd minute against Sao Paulo.
The new United States national team defensive midfielder has the chance to be part of league title in Brazil. That would indeed be a major statement early in his career.
Durkin & St. Truiden win again
The first half of the season wasn’t great for Chris Durkin or anyone on St. Truiden. The last few games, however, have been solid as the club has moved not just out of last place or the relegation zone in Belgium – but now pushing towards midtable.
On Wednesday, St. Truiden downed Kortrijk 2-0 away for its fifth win in its last six games. Chris Durkin has been shifting between right midfield and right back recently and against Kortrijk he started at right back. In this game, he got the better of fellow American Brenden Hines-Ike who started for Kortrijk in central defense.
Defensively, he put up some good numbers as you can see below. His passing wasn’t great but he was everywhere on the defensive side – where he even drifted centrally on several occasions to help for defensive cover.
Chris Durkin, playing right back, goes 90 mins in a 2-0 win for St. Truiden. Solid defensive numbers for the Richmond, VA native including 6 clearances, 5 interceptions, 2 tackles (2 attempts), 5 duels won (5 lost) https://t.co/BL1B5jmDyT— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) January 20, 2021
It might be an uphill climb, but Durkin could emerge as a late push to be part of the U.S. U-23 team. If not for qualifying, then maybe this summer.
De la Torre assists in Dutch Cup
Luca de la Torre, 22, is sometimes flying under the radar due to not playing much at Fulham. On Tuesday, the U.S. U-23 eligible attacking mid/winger hit a very nice assist for Heracles in a 3-2 loss to Feyenoord in the Dutch Cup.
Despite the loss, it was a solid pass from de la Torre who has played well in his first season with regular first-team minutes.
Elsewhere in Europe
In the Bundesliga, Tyler Adams played just the final 13 minutes for RB Leipzig in a 1-0 win over Union Berlin. The win was enough to cement itself into second place in Germany.
It was a day to forget for American manager Pellegrino Matarazzo whose VfB Stuttgart team dropped a 3-0 decision to Arminia Bielefeld.
Finally in the Bundesliga, American right back Timmy Chandler played the final 10 minutes for Eintracht Frankfurt in a 2-2 draw with Freiburg on Wednesday.
In the Championship, team captain Geoff Cameron and Queens Park Rangers posted a 1-0 win over Cardiff City on Wednesday night. Cameron went the distance and picked up a yellow card.
Morris departs camp
Jordan Morris, 25, is all but set to move to Swansea City. The news has been reported in many outlets in England and Wales. While nothing has been formally announced, a big part of the news dropped on Wednesday when it was revealed that the Seattle Sounder winger had departed the current U.S. national team camp in Florida.
This will certainly be an exciting development as Swansea is a club that looks eager welcome the U.S. winger to its first team as it looks to be a favorite to earn promotion into the Premier League. Should that happen, expect that he will remain with the club next season in the Premier League.
Morris has been an outstanding ambassador for both the Seattle Sounders and Major League Soccer. He has continued to raise his game during his career here where he has delivered titles to his hometown club and played like a high-level expensive designated player that is typically reserved for European and South American imports.
He deserves a chance for a new challenge and his success will reflect positively on domestic side of the American game.
Arriola to Swansea City?
Will Paul Arriola join Morris in Swansea. Yahoo news was the first to report on it but ASN can confirm there is some interest there. The deal, however, is not nearly as far along as it is with Morris but things can change very quickly.
Wooten to FC Admira
FC Admira is currently last in the Austrian Bundesliga and has scored just 12 goals in 12 games. It is looking to boost that offensive production with the addition of American forward Andrew Wooten, 31, who joined the club on Wednesday ahead of the season restarting this weekend. Wooten was most recently with the Philadelphia Union in 2020 where he was released following the season.
Prior to his arrival in Philadelphia, Wooten enjoyed success in the 2.Bundesliga where he was a strong player for Sandhausen, FSV Fankfurt, and Kaiserslautern. Wooten has one U.S. national team cap in his career.