Americans abroad analysis

Marsch wins coaching duel, Robinson & Fulham roll, Tessmann's debut & more

It was a mixed weekend for Americans abroad. There were few standout perforamcnes but some transfers, league debuts, and things to keep an eye on. 
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
August 22, 2021
7:25 PM
THE WEEKEND for Americans abroad was decidedly mixed. On one hand, young payers continued to get a lot of minutes. On the other hand, injury concerns continued to mount with Tim Ream, possibly Gio Reyna were subbed out for injury concerns. As with every weekend, however, there is a lot to unpack. 

Here are my thoughts from the weekend for Americans abroad. 


Marsch wins Coaching Derby

It got a lot attention this week as Jesse Marsch’s RB Leipzig were set to host Pellegrino Matarazzo’s VfB Stuttgart in the first ever matchup in a top European League between two American born/raised managers.

Both managers were full of praise for each other, and both called this game a historical matchup in American soccer. Marsch went even so far as to call Matarazzo one of his coaching idols.


Coming into this game, momentum was in favor of Stuttgart which won its cup opener against BFC Dynamo 6-0 followed by its Bundesliga opener over Guerther Furth 5-1. On the flip side, Leipzig dropped its Bundesliga opener with a disappointing 1-0 loss to Mainz.

This game, however, changed the narrative and Leipzig walked away with a convincing 4-0 win. Marsch’s crew was simply better at seemingly every position. Leipzig outshot Stuttgart 28-11, and 20-6 in chances created.

Dominik Szoboszlai was masterful in his first start for Leipzig and in his reunion with Marsch, who was his coach at Salzburg. The Hungarian had two goals and was part of seemingly every dangerous opportunity.

Meanwhile, Tyler Adams rebounded from a poor outing against Mainz with a solid outing against Stuttgart.

  • 90 minutes
  • 74 touches
  • 1 shot
  • 1 key pass
  • 48/60 passing (80%)
  • 2/4 long balls
  • 3/7 duels won
  • 2 clearances
  • 1/2 dribble
  • 0x fouled
  • 1 fouls
  • 0 tackles
  • 1 interception

For Adams, it was a solid bounce-back game and he is building personal momentum heading into World Cup qualifying. It was a typical strong outing from in the No. 6 position, which Marsch has said he will primarily play.

As for the managers, Marsch was pleased.

“It was a great reaction after last weekend. We said we needed to show our passion today, and we were sharp from the very beginning,” said Marsch. “It was a great performance from us, but we have to keep playing bravely."

Meanwhile, Matarazzo admitted his team was outclassed. Stuttgart is not expected to compete for a Champions League spot while Leipzig want to be the first to dethrone Bayern in a decade.

“The penalty decision did not change the game. Leipzig were just a class above today,” said Matarazzo. “We didn’t really play a team of this quality in pre-season, and talking about something is different to actually experiencing it.”


Miazga joins Deportivo Alaves


Matt Miazga, 26, has joined Deportivo Alaves in La Liga on a season long loan from Chelsea. Once he plays for Alaves, it will be the seventh professional club he has played for at the first team level – all in different leagues (MLS, Premier League, Eredivisie, Ligue 1, Championship, Belgian Pro League, La Liga).

Miazga is well experienced and now has another crack at a Big 5 league – his first since his brief stint at Nantes in Ligue 1.


Earning playing time will be tough for Miazga who will likely have to beat out either Florian Lejeune, 30, or Victor Laguardia, 31, for a starting spot. Laguardia is the vice-captain and is highly regarded at the club. Lejeune was with the club last season on loan from Newcastle United but Alaves exercised its option to buy on the French-born central defender.

Miazga has his work cut out for him but he showed a lot of promise last season at Anderlecht. It’s a long season, however, and Miazga is still younger than his competitors. He will almost surely get a chance and from that point it will be up to him to make the most of it.

Alaves lost its opening game of the season at home 4-1 to Real Madrid. Last season it finished in 15th place in the 20-team league. Miazga was not in action this weekend for a 1-0 loss to Mallorca.


Tyler Boyd joins Rizespor


Tyler Boyd, 26, has been out of the plans at Besiktas for a year now. Last fall he wasn’t even registered with Besiktas then in January he went on loan to Sivasspor – where he played well in stretches. While Sivasspor wanted him back for another loan, Boyd instead will be heading to Rizespor, which finished in 13th place last season and lost to Besiktas 3-0 in the opening round.

This move should get Boyd on the field and it is his fourth Super Lig team he has played for. The key for the New Zealand-born winger is to be consistent. He has this periods where he plays well and then long periods where he is invisible. He needs to be more reliable and disappear less.

He has clearly lost a lot of ground on the depth chart with the U.S. national team and the depth on the wings is now impressive. To get back, he need to hit the ground running and make an immediate impact with Rizespor.

Boyd was not in action on Saturday in a 0-0 draw with Fatih Karagumruk.


Reyna injured in BVB loss


After a stellar opening day win last weekend against Freibug, Borussia Dortmund disappointed in its first away game, dropping a 2-1 loss to SC Freiburg on Saturday. Gio Reyna started in this game and lasted 70 minutes. For his time on the field, he was probably the best Dortmund player – which isn’t saying much. He had “hockey” assist on the team’s lone goal when he played Jude Bellingham out wide – and the English midfielder’s cross was sent in via an own goal.

Reyna had five key passes, two shots, won 6/8 duels, and was 2/2 in dribbles. Those are good numbers despite the poor overall outing from BVB.


About a minute before he came off, Reyna moved into the attacking third and sent in a cross, but immediately afterward he seemed to grab his hamstring. Afterward, he was subbed out. Early in the week we will likely get an update whether or not this was serious, precautionary, or a non-issue but it could have big implications on the U.S. national team.


Brooks & Wolfsburg rally past Hertha


John Brooks started for Wolfsburg on Saturday away against his former hometown club Hertha BSC. It was a mixed outing for Brooks who committed a penalty in the 60th minute that put Hertha ahead 1-0. Wolfsburg, however, scored got an equalizer in the 74th and a winner in the 88th to prevail 2-1.

Despite the poor moment in conceding and obvious penalty, Brooks was solid.

  • 90 minutes
  • 83 touches
  • 65/68 passing
  • 3/3 long balls
  • 1 key pass
  • 7/14 duels won
  • 2/2 dribbles
  • 1x fouled
  • 2 fouls
  • 5 clearances
  • 1 interception
  • 4/8 aerials won

It’s been a strong start to the season for Brooks and Wolfsburg who have six points from two games. Brooks is playing very well heading into World Cup qualifying and his first Champions League appearance. Despite the mistake today, they are now a rarity in his game.


Green hacked in Furth draw


Last season, Julian Green was allowed to do what he wanted to do for Greuther Furth in the 2.Bundesliga. Now on a team most expect to be relegated, Green is finding things harder. Furth made only very minimal upgrades after getting promoted and opponents focus in on stopping Green – and it’s working. When they can’t stop him, they simply foul him.

On Saturday, Fruth played to a disappointing 1-1 draw at home against Arminia Bielefeld – another team expected to be in a relegation a battle. Arminia Bielefeld was even reduced to 10 players in the 68th minute and Furth could not find a winner.

The big takeaway is that Green was fouled a game-high four times. He generally played well as he had four shots, was 5/7 in his long balls, had three crosses, and two key passes. But the fouling took him out of a rhythm.

It’s early, of course, but not winning this game is potentially a moment Furth could look back on and regret.


Scally & Gladbach manhandled


After an eye-opening performance last weekend in a 1-1 draw with Bayern Munich, Joe Scally remained in the starting lineup for Borussia Monchengladbach against Bayer Leverkusen.

This game was simply no contest as Bayern Leverkusen outplayed Borussia Monchengladbach at nearly every position en route to a 4-0 win. Scally started at left back but shifted to right back in the second half after a serious injury to Stefan Lainer.

That injury could keep Scally in the starting lineup. Scally, 18, earned the start because starting left back Ramy Bensebaini is still working his way back from an injury. Now both of the club’s starting fullbacks are injured.

Scally has emerged as a top prospect with a potentially a big upside. His versatility to play either fullback position makes him very valuable – and he is probably better on the right side. In this game, however, Scally struggled along with everyone else on his team. He will continue to play. The injury to Lainer will keep him out for servaral months and Scally's situation has changed. He's not simply a young player that can fill in from time to time. He is going to have to be a player Gladbach can rely on.

De la Torre starts in Heracles Draw


In the Eredivisie, Luca de la Torre got the start in central midfielder for Heracles away at Sparta Rotterdam. The game finished 1-1 and it was the first point for each team this season which is now only two games old.

De la Torre was solid in this game. While he wasn’t part of many scoring chances, he still managed to complete a very high percentage of his passes and his duel winning at 11/14 was outstanding.  

  • 90 minutes
  • 81 touches
  • 0 shots
  • 0 key passes
  • 53/61 passing
  • 2 crosses
  • 3/4 long balls
  • 11/14 duels won
  • 4/4 dribble attempts
  • 0 clearances
  • 2x fouled
  • 0 fouls
  • 2/3 aerials won

De la Torre had a very solid season last year in what was the first as a regular starter. This year he will have to show growth. Because he was on the older side when he broke through, he will have to show quicker progress. He cannot afford a sophomore slump. After this season, he will turn 24 and at that stage he will be looking at his first “prime age” contract. This season will be big for setting the projection of his career.

As for the national team, de la Torre is behind because he wasn’t part of either summer roster and he reportedly declined an invitation to be part of the Gold Cup team. The success of both teams increases the competition for de la Torre. He can certainly get back into the mix, but it might take a few months into this season.


Weah starts again for Lille


The good news for Tim Weah is that he is getting more minutes now at OSC Lille and has a chance this season to play more minutes than he has in all the previous years of his career combined. Unfortunately for Weah, however, is that Lille do not appear to have much of a chance to contend and defend their Ligue 1 title. If they’re not careful, they might make a quick exit from the Champions League this year and not qualify for Europe next year.

On Saturday, Lille visited Saint-Etienne and surrendered an 85th minute equalizer to settle for a point. It now has two points from its first three games.

Weah, 21, started on the right side of the midfield and had a solid outing. He was subbed out with Lille up 1-0. He showed a lot of commitment to defense in this game, which was important.

  • 81 minutes
  • 46 touches
  • 0 shots
  • 1 key pass
  • 23/32 passing
  • 6/9 duels won
  • 2/3 dribbles
  • 2/2 tackling


Weah will likely soon be with the U.S. team and with the growing number of injuries, he could be in a good position to play meaningful minutes.


Ream injured, Robinson assists


Fulham have begun this season with a real purpose and look like the team poised to be in promotion contention.

Team captain and central defender Tim Ream and left back Antonee Robinson got the start against Hull City at Craven Cottage. In the end, Fulham came away with a 2-0 win and the London-based club have 10 points from four games and the best goal differential in the league.

Ream was forced out of the game in the 23rd minute due to an awkward landing. A proper diagnosis is still yet to be made but the St. Louis native was at least joking about the incident after the game.


As for Robinson, he assisted on Fabio Carvalho’s 34th minute goal for a 2-0 lead and overall had a very strong outing.

  • 90 minutes
  • 81 touches
  • 0 shots
  • 3 key passes
  • 1 assist
  • 51/58 passing
  • 7/10 duels won
  • 2 clearances
  • 2/2 dribbles
  • 3/5 aerilas won
  • 1/2 tackles

While Robinson is in the Championship this year as opposed to the Premier League, this season will tell us more about him as a player. Up to this point, every season in his career has been in a relegation battle – Bolton, Wigan, and Fulham. Now we are getting to see his skills thrive on a team that is more evenly matched with the competition. He now gets to play more on his front foot, than his backfoot.

It’s a different approach and one that could fit into his strengths nicely. We know about his athleticism, and that’s important on teams that need to run to play on both sides of the ball. Now it will be about his skills shining through. 


Aaronson & Salzburg remain perfect


Red Bull Salzburg defeated Austria Klagenfurt 3-1 on Saturday and Brenden Aaronson went the distance in the win. Salzburg is completely dominant in the Austria Bundesliga and the win today gave it 15 points from five games to start the season. On top of that, Salzburg also won the first leg of it Champions League playoff against Brondby – with Aaronson scoring the winner.

Salzburg is a goldmine for talent and some great players have come from the team. For Aaronson to join the ranks of the impressive sales from the team, he can’t just help the team win – he also has to be head and shoulders above the competition.

In this game, there was a lot to like about Aaronson and it helped to build off his excellent effort off the bench against Brondby. He had three shots and two key passes. On the other hand, he still only had 32 touches and 21 passing attempts. He’s good when he’s on the ball but he need to find a way to get more involved to make a bigger impact – this was similar to his time in Philadelphia. 

The return leg to Brondby is critical for Aaronson to get into the Champions League and showcase himself beyond the Austrian Bundesliga.



Sonora brothers solid in Argentina


It was a good weekend for the Sonora brothers in Argentina, both of whom have been starting regularly in the Primera.

2015 U.S. U-20 World Cup midfielder Joel Sonora earned yet another start for Banfield and played 63 minutes in a 1-1 draw against a good Estudiantes team. Sonora had 69 minutes, which put him over the 1 touch per minute ratio. He completed 39/45 passes (24 completed passes in the attacking half), had four crosses, was 4/4 in long balls, had three dribbles (four attempts), drew three fouls, had one shot, and one key passes.

The elder Sonora is quietly putting it all together. While he will be turning 25 soon, he is a bit of a late bloomer. Earning consistent starts has been tough for him and that is why he has been a bit of a journeyman. He’s showing more to his game besides a player who could shoot from distance and hit nice long balls and crosses. He’s playing solid defense, showing more off the dribble. Banfield is a smaller club in the Primera but Sonora is finally at a place that is bringing out the best in him.

The younger brother, Alan Sonora, 23, has had a very good month at Independiente after consistent minutes have been tough to come by in recent years. On Friday, he made his second straight start in a 0-0 draw with Defensa y Justicia

  • 90 minutes
  • 1 shot
  • 3 key passes
  • 45/49 passing
  • 4/5 long balls
  • 4/5 duels won
  • 1/1 dribbles
  • 2 interceptions

Born in New Jersey when his father played for the Metrostars, the younger Alan Sonora has never played for the United States at any level. It’s going to be hard for him to break into the team anytime soon as World Cup qualifying is going to start. Independiente is atop the table in Argentina, and that is a great place to be starting.

Both Sonora brothers have shown quality at times but rarely consistency. Still their recent form makes them worth keeping a close eye on as options down the road. It’s up to them to show well over a an extended period.


Dest strong in Barcelona draw


It’s a new era for Barcelona with Messi gone and it is going to take time for Barcelona to get back to the level as one of the best clubs in the world. Last weekend the club performed well in a 4-2 win over Real Sociedad. On Saturday, however, it was a different story in a 1-1 draw away at Athletic Bilbao.

Dest, 20, and the entire Barcelona team struggled in the first half. In the second half, Dest and Barcelona picked it up. Memphis Depay eventually found the equalizer in the 75th minute.

Dest ended up playing 82 minutes this one and was very dangerous in the second half. He did his part helping Barcelona keep the pressure high on the hosts and earn a result. If Barcelona played the first half with that quality, it would have easily won.

Dest’s numbers were positive, overall, mostly because of the second half.

  • 82 minutes
  • 68 touches
  • 1 shot
  • 0 key passes
  • 35/39 passing
  • 3/4 long balls
  • 3 crosses
  • 7/12 duels won
  • 3/5 dribbles
  • 2 fouls drawn

It is hard to see Barcelona contending in La Liga right now, but Dest is part of the team’s future (unless the club is forced to sell him due to financial issues). Heading into qualifying, Dest is showing the consistency that is crucial for the important months ahead for the national team.


Tessmann’s Serie A debut


The list of U.S.-eligible players who have played in Serie A in the modern era is short. On Sunday, that list grew by one as former FC Dallas midfielder Tanner Tessman made his debut in Italy’s highest league for newly promoted Venezia in a 2-0 loss on the road to a strong Napoli team.

While Napoli was heavily favored in this one, Venezia had a man advantage after Napoli's Victor Osimhhen was sent off with a straight red card. Despite being a man down, Napoli still controlled the game and had 56% possession and a 13-8 shot advantage.

Tanner Tessmann, 19, came into the game in the 63rd minute and wasn’t able to make much of a difference. He picked up a yellow card in the 75th minute. What is positive is that he appears to be firmly in the mix to play in these important league games as Venezia is likely solely focused on survival.


De la Fuente in Marseille riot


Sunday’s Ligue 1 matchup between Nice and Marseille made global headlines for a second half riot that broke out between players and fans after bottles pelted Marseille players in the second half. It was an embarrassing display that will likely cost Nice the game, despite that Mice was up 1-0 at the time of the incident.


There isn’t much to add about Konrad de la Funte from a performance perspective. He began the game on the bench and was subbed into the game in the 56th minute and the game was abandoned in the 72nd minute. The good news is that de la Fuente calmly stayed out of the mess, which speaks to his maturity.

But the game was an absolute nightmare for Ligue 1 – which wants to be in the mix as the Bundesliga, Serie A, and La Liga but has been falling behind. This only hurts achieving that objective.



Other Notes


Josh Sargent played the final 15 minutes of Norwich’s 5-0 loss to Manchester City on Saturday. The game was out of hand when he entered (City had a 4-0 lead) and Sargent had only about five touches. Norwich was expected to struggle to start the season given a hard schedule, but the team looks like a minnow – only now with shattered confidence. Zack Steffen remained on the bench for Manchester City.

In the Championship, Duane Holmes was an unused substitute for Huddersfield Town in a 2-1 away win over Sheffield United. Ethan Horvath did not play for Nottingham Forest in a 1-0 away loss to Stoke City. Forest is without a point from four games.

In third-tier League One, Lynden Gooch played the full 90 for Sunderland and picked up a yellow card in a 1-0 win over AFC Wimbledon.

In the Bundesliga, Chris Richards came into Bayern Munich’s 3-2 win over Koln in the 88th minute when he replaced Alphonso Davies.

In the 2.Bundesliga, Matthew Hoppe was an unused substitute for a very poor Schalke that dropped a 4-1 decision to Jahn Regensburg. 2011 U.S. U-23 midfielder Jan George came into the game in the 88th minute for Jahn Regensburg.

In Germany's 3.Liga, Terrence Boyd scored the winner for Hallescher FC in a 1-0 away win over Viktoria Berlin. In that game, fellow American Bryang Kayo played the final 34 minutes.

In Belgium, Chris Durkin started and played the full 90 for St. Truiden in a 2-0 home loss to Kortrijk. It’s been a very disappointing start to the season for St. Truiden which won its opening game, but has just one point from its following four games. Sam Vines and Mark McKenzie were not in action as the game between Royal Antwerp and Genk was postponed.

In Serie A, Weston McKennie was suspended for Juventus in its Serie A opening 2-2 draw away to Udinese. Bryan Reynolds was an unused substitute for AS Roma in a 3-1 win over Fiorentina.

In La Liga, Yunus Musah was still out injured for Valencia in a 1-1 draw with Granada on Saturday.

In Spain’s second tier, Shaq Moore played the final 13 minutes for Tenerife in a 0-0 draw with Sporting Gijon on Saturday.

Uly Llanez continues to have a tough year. The Californian winger had little impact for St. Poelten in his 58 minutes of a 2-0 loss to Floridsdorfer AC. St. Poelten has just one point from its first five games in the Austrian second tier.

In the Scottish Premiership, Christian Ramirez started and played a full 90 for Aberdeen in a 1-1 away draw against Hearts. Scott Pittman played a full 90 for Livingston in a 2-1 home loss to Motherwell. Ian Harkes was missing from Dundee United's 1-0 over St. Johnstone.

In Turkey, Haji Wright struggled to get anything going offensively for Antalyaspor in a 2-0 road loss to Fenerbahce.

In France’s Ligue 2, Nicholas Gioacchini played the final 19 minutes for SM Caen in a 1-0 win over Nancy. It was his first outing of the season and first game since the Gold Cup victory over Mexico on August 1.

In Portugal top flight, Alex Mendez struggled off the bench for Vizela in a 4-0 loss to Vitoria de Guimaraes. When Mendez entered the game in the 73rd minute, the score was 1-0. When he was on the field, he had just six touches, was 2/4 in passing, and was 0/1 in duels.

In Portugal’s second tier, Sebastian Soto scored Porto B’s goal in a 1-0 win over Nacional.


In the Danish Superliga, 2017 U.S. U-20 World Cup veteran attacker Emmanuel Sabbi scored in a 2-2 draw against a Brondby team missing multiple starters due to positive Covid tests. One player is American midfielder Christian Cappis.


In Slovakia’s top flight Super Liga, Chris Goslin started in defensive midfield and played 78 minutes for FK Senica in a 3-0 loss to early season leaders, Zilina.

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