Americans abroad analysis
Hoppe's run, Morris transfer rumors highlight lackluster weekend abroad for Yanks
January 18, 2021
WITH A FEW OBVIOUS EXCEPTIONS, it wasn’t a very good weekend for Americans abroad among the national team regulars or key U.S. players in Europe. Obviously, the exciting developments with Matthew Hoppe are the top billing and he’s likely going to earn a call-up in 2021. The rest of positive news from the weekend requires deeper digging
There is a bunch of news that is simple to explain. Gio Reyna was out of action for Borussia Dortmund in its disappointing 1-1 draw with Mainz due to a throat infection. Tyler Adams did not get off the bench for RB Leipzig in its 2-2 draw with Wolfsburg. Zack Steffen was an unused sub for Manchester City in 4-0 win over Crystal Palace. Tim Weah only played seven minutes for Lille in a 2-1 win over Reims. He was on the field for the late winner but only had two touches. Owen Otasowie did not suit-up for Wolverhampton in a 3-2 loss to West Brom on Saturday. Johnny Cardoso was an 87th minute sub for Internacional in a 4-2 win over Fortaleza – his first outing since November 28. Sebastian Soto did not play for Telstar in a 4-1 win over Top OSS. Tim Ream did not get off the bench for Fulham in a 1-0 loss to Chelsea. Uly Llanez didn’t play for Heerenveen and Konrad de la Fuente did not dress for Barcelona. Ethan Horvath continues to be an unused backup at Club Brugge and Chituru Odunze toils away at the youth levels at Leicester City. Chris Richards, meanwhile, went the distance for Bayern Munich’s reserve team in a win over Terrence Boyd’s Hallescher on Saturday. Of course, Richard Ledezma is out injured with PSV.
All of these players listed above were part of the national team’s camp in November which was the last gathering on a FIFA international date. These 14 players featured in those games and each of them either failed to see the field this weekend, were injured or sick, played only a handful of minutes, or played with the reserves.
The news, unfortunately gets worse. Antonee Robinson was sent off for Fulham in a 1-0 loss to Chelsea. While Robinson had been playing well leading up to that, his direct red card will merit a three-game suspension. John Brooks, meanwhile, wasn’t particularly sharp in a 2-2 draw with Leipzig. Nicholas Gioacchini came off the bench for SM Caen in a 1-0 loss to AC Ajaccio. Caen’s promotional hopes have vanished. Matt Miazga and Anderlecht are both disappointed from Friday after a 2-0 loss to lowly Eupen which set back their European ambitions.
In other words, that is a total of 18 players from the past roster that had noting positive report from the past weekend. It should be 19 to include Sebastian Lletget who is in the offseason.
To get to good news, you have to dig a bit deeper on the field or go to the growing transfer reports – which ASN will do for you.
Wingo, Morris, & Holmes on the market
Seattle native Henry Wingo is on his way to Hungarian champions Ferencvaros after reaching a deal with Molde over the weekend. The reported transfer fee is roughly $920,000. Wingo, 24, struggled for playing time with the Seattle Sounders and was transferred to Molde in 2019. This is a nice step for Wingo who will join a team cruising to yet another Hungarian title in 2020/21 and will give Wingo another chance at the Champions League qualifiers. While with Molde, Wingo nearly qualified for the group stages but was eliminated on away goals against Ferencvaros.
In England, growing rumors suggest that Duane Holmes could be on verge of a transfer from Derby County to Huddersfield Town, which was the club Holmes grew up playing from the U-9 levels all the way to the first team for his professional debut. Holmes has struggled for minutes at Derby County since Frank Lampard left to manage Chelsea. But Derby County has been a mess and is in the relegation zone.
For Holmes, this would be a great opportunity for him to get back into a comfortable environment where he could play regularly and succeed at a level where he has shown himself to be a very solid player.
Finally, Jordan Morris would be the blockbuster if it happens. He told the media last week from U.S. national team camp that he is open to making a move abroad if the team is right. A report from Wales Online then said a loan or a move to Swansea is was in the cards.
This would be a big deal. Morris has done everything he can for the Seattle – winning multiple titles and other silverware. He will now have the opportunity to showcase himself at a Swansea team that is in second place and in great position to get promoted. This will be well worth following in the coming days.
Hoppe continues dream run
Matthew Hoppe, 19, followed up his remarkable hat trick last weekend by scoring another goal for Schalke. That gives the California teen 4 goals from his last two games and he has been a bright spot for an absolutely terrible team. The unfortunate news is that Schalke lost again – this time a 3-1 decision to Eintracht Frankfurt – to sink back to the bottom of the Bundesliga.
Here is Hoppe’s goal in the first half vs Eintracht. His 4th of the past 2 games pic.twitter.com/bb5IXlgaJK— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) January 17, 2021
For Hoppe, he remains fascinating on an individual basis. His contract is over after the season and he will have plenty of options as big clubs will start to circle. Also, if he continues at this level, his first U.S. national team will likely happen in March.
In this game, Hoppe put forth a maximum effort that aren’t reflected well in the numbers. While his statistics might show a lot of uneven play, the truth is that he forced himself into many duels where he had a low probability of winning - but did well just to get himself involved.
Matthew Hoppe: raw # for Schalke in 3-1 loss to Eintracht— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) January 17, 2021
1 key pass
3 duels won (13 lost)
2 aerials won (10 lost)
- 4 goals in 2 games for the American teen#USMNT
Hoppe’s arrival has been one of the brightest stories of he winter for American soccer and the U.S. national team forward depth chart continues to build up depth.
McKennie sharp in Juve loss
After suffering a muscular injury which forced him out of last week’s game against Sassuolo in the first half, Weston McKennie was on the bench for Juventus on Sunday in a big game against Inter Milan. Inter Milan ended up winning the game 2-0 but McKennie was really solid after coming on the 58th minute.
He was a breath of fresh air for Juventus and immediately helped his team generate offense with some solid passing and a good shot that forced a save.
- 32 minutes
- 1 shot
- 23 touches
- 17/19 passing
- 2 duels won (2 lost)
- 2 key passes
After this outing, it should be expected that McKennie will return to the starting lineup soon.
Aaronson scores in Salzburg friendly
Brenden Aaronson, 20, scored a goal an nearly assisted on another for Red Bull Salzburg on Saturday in a 6-0 win over Vorwärts Steyr of the Austrian second tier.
Aaronson’s 52nd minute strike gave Red Bull Salzburg a 2-0 lead.
Goal! #USMNT midfielder Brenden Aaronson scores in his first friendly for Red Bull Salzburg. His 52nd minute strike gives Salzburg a 2-0 lead on SK Vorwärts Steyr of the Austrian 2nd tier pic.twitter.com/LA4naDsGAp— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) January 16, 2021
League leaders Red Bull Salzburg will return to action in the Austrian Bundesliga next weekend looking for another title.
George MOTM for Jahn Regensburg
Jahn Regensburg defeated Sandhausen 3-1 on Sunday and German-American attacking midfielder Jann George, 28, was the MOTM with two goals and an assist in the win.
Jann George: raw # for Jahn Regensburg in 3-1 win vs. Sandhausen— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) January 17, 2021
3 duels won
- Attacking mid was easily the MOTM
Seldom talked about in American soccer circles, George had one call-up to the U.S. U-23 team in 2011. While he is highly unlikely to be involved anymore in the U.S. set-up, this was a big game for him.
Musah solid in win
Yunus Musah, 18, earned the start for Valencia on Saturday in a 2-0 win over Alcorcon of the second-tier Segunda in the Copa del Rey.
It hasn’t been a particularly good season for Valencia and the club could find itself in a relegation battle in the months ahead if it isn’t careful
Musah hasn’t been sharp since in the international window in November but this was his best outing since then. While it was against a lower-tier opponent, this could be a big boost in momentum for the teenager who has a big international decision ahead of himself.
- 77 minutes
- 34 touches
- 14/18 passing
- 1 shot
- 1 cross
- 7 duels won (5 lost)
- 1 clearances
- 3 dribbles
- 2 tackles (2 attempts
- 1 foul
- 1 interception
Olosunde lifting Rotherham
If Rotherham United avoids relegation this season, Matthew Olosunde will have played a big part in that push. After not being in the team’s plans earlier this season, the New Jersey-native has been important at right back since emerging in November. On Saturday, Olosunde was massive defensively in a 1-0 win over Derby County.
As a result, it is still in the relegation zone by the slimmest of margins - a single goal in the goal differential tiebreaker. But after going toe-toe with Everton in the FA Cup last weekend, Rotherham United is trending in the right direction.
Olosunde is a name to follow because rumors of moves to clubs further up in the Championship pecking order seem legitimate right now. Athletically, he can handles the rigors of the English Championship for a team with hopes of being promoted.
Notes from around Europe
A lot of Americans were in action over the weekend, and while there weren’t many noteworthy performances, here is what I took away from many of the other games.
It is a familiar story nearly every week. Josh Sargent started, played relatively well, but didn’t score for Werder Bremen. In this case, it was a little bit better as Werder Bremen managed to defeat Augsburg 2-0 in a win that will be very important in avoiding a relegation battle.
Sargent worked hard, forced himself into duels, was very effective in hold-up play in winning a number of higher-difficulty battles. The numbers don’t reflect that. He also forced a big save with a nice move in the second half. Still, at some point, the goals will need to come.
Josh Sargent: raw # for Werder Bremen in 2-0 win vs. Augsburg— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) January 16, 2021
2 shots (1 on target)
1 key pass
6 duels won (12 lost)
2 dribbles (2 attemps)
1 aerial won (7 lost)
In the Premier League, Christian Pulisic started and played 90 in a 1-0 win over a 10-man Fulham after U.S. national team left back Antonee Robinson was sent off just before halftime. Pulisic was pretty quiet for the first 80 minutes but came to life in the final 10 minutes for his best soccer of the day. It wasn’t a great outing for Chelsea and questions remain, but three points is helpful in giving a pause for the criticism.
Sergino Dest is struggling at Barcelona these days to get involved in the attack – which should be the strongest part of his game. He played just the first half of a 3-2 loss to Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Super Cup on Sunday. In recent weeks, he has been very quiet offensively. While that can serve its purpose, if his defense is not strong, he’ll get subbed out early.
Reggie Cannon was subbed out of Boavista’s game around the hour mark in a 3-1 loss to Tondela. There really wasn’t much Cannon could do in this one as Boavista had both of its central defenders sent off inside of 30 minutes. Unfortunately with the loss, Boavista is into last place of Portugal’s top flight.
In France’s Ligue 2, Nicholas Gioacchini played the final 30 minutes of a 1-0 loss to AC Ajaccio. It was another bad loss and SM Caen’s promotional hopes have gone down in flames. But Gioacchini should sneak back into the starting lineup. In this one, he improved Caen’s physicality in the attacking half and helped maintain possession.
- 30 minutes
- 15 touches
- 1 shot
- 8/8 passing
- 5 duels won/2 lost
- 1x fouled
- 1 foul
- 2 tackles
- 1 aerial won/1 lost
Julian Green has had one of the better “under the radar” seasons among Americans in Europe and he has been a huge help as Greuther Furth looks to join a promotional race this season. Green, however, was not as his best on Friday in a disappointing 1-1 home draw against Paderborn.
In the Scottish Premiership, Dillon Powers and Ian Harkes both earned the start on Saturday for Dundee United in a 0-0 draw against Hamilton Academical. Powers is having himself his best run since joining Dundee United over the past few weeks as he is helping to control the midfield. For Dundee United, the club is doing well since earning promotion last season and is likely to finish safely in midtable.
Dillon Powers: raw # for Dundee United in 0-0 draw vs. Hamilton Academical— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) January 16, 2021
1 chance created
2 key passes
5/9 long balls
4 duels won (3 lost)
2 dribbles (2 attempts)
3 aerials won (3 lost)
- Solid game
In the Copa del Ray, Shaq Moore played well for Tenerife at fullback but it wasn’t enough as Villarreal scored a late winner for a 1-0 victory.
In the Eredivisie, Luca de la Torre played the final 28 minutes for Heracles in a 2-0 loss to FC Utrecht.
In the Championship, Cameron Carter-Vickers started and went the distance for AFC Bournemouth in a 1-0 loss to Luton Town. It was a tough loss for Carter-Vickers who, last season, helped keep Luton Town out away from relegation during his half-season on loan at the club. In this game, AFC Bournemouth had to play with 10-men the final 64 minutes. Carter-Vickers did well, but it was not enough,
Cameron Carter-Vickers: raw # for Bournemouth in 1-0 loss to Luton Town— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) January 16, 2021
2/6 long balls
1 key pass
7 duels won (2 lost)
4 aerials won (2 lost)
- 26th min red card for Bournemouth
- CCV solid
In the Belgian Pro League, Marc McKenzie made the bench for Genk just days after arriving. He did not play as Genk suffered an upset loss to Royal Excel Mouscron. Staying in Belgium, Chris Durkin played the full 90 minutes for St. Truiden in a 3-1 win over Oud Heverlee. St. Truiden has climbed out of last place and safely out of the relegation zone in recent weekends.
Finally in Belgium, in a game played in a massive snowstorm, American defender Brenden Hines-Ike had an amazing 17 clearances for Kortrijk on Saturday. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as Kortrijk fell to Oostende 2-1.