Weekend recap

Musah, Reyna, & Gioacchini impress in busy weekend for Americans abroad

The weekend abroad had highs and lows. On one hand, the top players saw only limited minutes but on the other hand, Yunus Musah looks the part, Haji Wright can’t stop scoring, and Nicholas Gioacchini will be fun to watch at the upcoming U.S. camp. ASN’s Brian Sciaretta breaks it all down.

BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
November 08, 2020
8:00 PM

THE WEEKEND FOR Americans abroad was decidedly mixed. Many of the top players saw only limited minutes – although for some there were modest improvements in playing time. But for maybe some of those outside of the core, it was a good weekend.

Players like Nicholas Gioacchini, Haji Wright, and Yunus Musah all had weekend that they will remember.

Here is my notebook from the weekend that was.


Top player inactivity

Among the more known players, many either did not play or only played limited minutes.

Tyler Adams played just the final eight minutes plus stoppage time for RB Leipzig in a 3-0 win over Freiburg. The former New York Red Bull made just five touches and went 2/2 in passing while also making one tackle.

Christian Pulisic missed another game for Chelsea on Saturday when he was out of the matchday roster for its home game against Sheffield United.

Sergino Dest and Konrad de la Fuente both went as unused subs for Barcelona on Saturday in a 5-2 win over Real Betis.

Weston McKennie played the final 15 minutes for Juventus in a 1-1 draw with Lazio. The game was heartbreaking for Juventus as it conceded an equalizer in the dying seconds of stoppage time. McKennie played well in his limited time. With the ball, he only had eight touches and was 4/5 in passing. But defensively, he did his part to help see out a win – unfortunately his teammates didn’t do enough. McKennie won his two duels, and was successful in two tackles. He made a few sharp runs and did well.

Tim Weah entered into Lille’s 3-2 loss to Brest in the 76th minute and all the scoring was complete by the time he came in. The New York native attacker had a great chance to equalize in the 88th minute but his header went just wide of the net. He also hit a cross that could have resulted in a goal except Burak Y?lmaz’s shot hit the post. Lille has a massive concern right now as it is not getting much production out of Jonathan David and Tim Weah – two players it has spent a combined $40 million.

Meanwhile, the lack of playing time among U.S. goalkeepers should be a concern. United States national team number one Zack Steffen was an unused sub for Manchester City in a 1-1 draw vs. Liverpool. Ethan Horvath was also on the bench for Club Brugge in a 3-1 win over Oostende in Belgium.




Gioacchini nets dramatic Caen winner


New United States national team attacker Nicholas Gioacchini was the hero for SM Caen on Saturday. After missing the last two games due to COVID, Gioacchini began Saturday’s Ligue 2 matchup against Nancy on the bench.

With the score 1-1, Gioacchini came on in the 80th minute to provide an offensive spark for Caen – and he proved to be what the doctor ordered.

In the second minute of stoppage time, Gioacchini collected a sloppy Nancy clearance and played the ball out to Hugo Vandermesch on the right wing. He then made a run into the box and collected a return pass from Vandermesch and sent it into the goal with his first touch for a dramatic 2-1 winner.

The goal was Gioacchini’s third of the season and he will arrive in style to Wales for his first international call-up of any age level.

Gioacchini is certainly one to watch at this camp for the United States and he has the opportunity to do better than expected. Of the 24 players in camp, 10 have played fewer than 10 first-team games in either their careers or at least the past 18 months. Gioacchini is a regular for SM Caen and is a player the club is banking to help be a big part of the equation that results in promotion. The Kansas City-born attacker is used to a high level of responsibility and is in a good rhythm of play at the moment.


Musah enjoys Valencia rout


Obviously, a lot of American fans were eager to see how Valencia midfielder Yunis Musah performed this week. At just 17, many were unfamiliar with him prior to this week as his ties to the United States are thin and he had only represented England’s youth national teams up to this point. His surprise call-up to the U.S. team earned headlines and many fans were curious to watch him play for the first time.

Taking on Real Madrid is an incredible platform for any player, let alone one of his age. In the end, Musah showcased himself as a player with huge potential, albeit still a little raw. He had a goal called back due after VAR showed encroachment on a penalty.

He played a total of 87 minutes and had a solid outing. This was a performance and a result that will see him remain in the starting lineup after the international break. Too much success, however, could see England make more of a push to keep him in their program.


Sargent features in Werder draw

The weekend began with Josh Sargent getting the start for Werder Bremen against FC Koln. The game was fairly boring, as most Werder games are, but still effective as Werder continue to rack up points. Last season Werder was in a relegation battle but this season it has only lost once – in the opening weekend. Their schedule hadn’t been hard but it is getting points when it has to and all signs are looking as if a relegation battle won’t be in the cards.

It doesn’t necessarily make things great for Sargent. Against Koln, he saw very little of the ball with just 21 touches over 90 minutes. He did well when he saw the ball and was part of a few dangerous chances. In second half stoppage time, Sargent had a chance to win it but his well-driven header from close range was hit directly at the keeper.

But Sargent’s hold up play and defense are assets with how Werder wants to play. He’s doing what is being asked but his offensive production doesn’t look great.

  • 90 minutes
  • 21 touches
  • 3 shots
  • 2 key passes
  • 91.7% passing (11/12)
  • 1 aerial won
  • 0 dribbles
  • 1x fouled
  • 2 tackles
  • 1 clearance


Sargent won’t be at the upcoming U.S. camp due to local COVID quarantine rules in Bremen. But perhaps this time remaining at his club will allow him to work on different systems where he can be more involved in the attack.


Reyna starts in loss to Bayern


The two best teams in Germany met up and by the end, it was clear that Bayern Munich is still the best team in the Bundesliga – and probably the world. While Borussia Dortmund struck first, all that did was motivate the champions to raise their game, which they did with ease en route to a 3-2 win.

Reyna, 17, earned the start and it was a great opportunity for him in a game of this magnitude. Despite the loss, Reyna played well and clearly belonged. He left in the 69th minute with the score 2-1 for Bayern.

While it was against the run of play, Reyna factored into multiple very good opportunities for Borussia Dortmund. In the first half, he played Erling Haaland into the box with a delightful short through-ball which the Norweigan missed just wide. A few minutes later, Reyna was open making a dangerous run but Haaland overhit his through-ball to the American.

Then in the second half, Bayern right back Bouna Sarr made a terrible mistake that gifted Reyna with an opportunity to move in alone against Manuel Neuer from the left side. Unfortunately for Reyna, Neuer came up with a big save.

His numbers were decent but don’t reflect the big chances he was part of.

  • 68 minutes
  • 32 touches
  • 1 shot
  • 1 key pass
  • 69.6% passing (16/23)
  • 1 dribble
  • 1x fouled
  • 1 tackle
  • 2 clearances
  • 0/1 crosses
  • 0/1 long balls

It wasn’t perfect. Reyna could have focused more on dominating the left side and instead his free-ranging role likely saw him pick-up fewer touches than he could have. But otherwise, for a player of his age to create and be part of so many great scoring chances against the best team in the world once again showcased his massive potential.


Robinson starts in Fulham loss


United States national team left back Antonee Robinson once again earned the start at left back for Fulham on Saturday in a London derby away against West Ham United. Fulham won its first game of the season last weekend against West Bromwich Albion to move out of the bottom of the table. This game against West Ham was important as Fulham are entering into a tough four game stretch following today.

Unfortunately for the Cottagers, they didn’t get it done and fell to West Ham 1-0 in heartbreaking fashion. Tomas Soucek gave West Ham a 1-0 lead in the second minute of second half stoppage time. Fulham, however earned a penalty, in the seventh and final minute of stoppage time only to have Ademola Lookman miss in embarrassing fashion.

With the loss, Fulham has just four points from eight games.

Antonee Robinson went a full 90 in the loss while fellow U.S. international Tim Ream did not get off the bench.

Robinson’s defensive numbers in this one were solid although his passing wasn’t effective – especially in the middle third of the field where he tried to move the ball aggressively up the field.

  • 90 minutes
  • 73 touches
  • 0 shots
  • 0 key passes
  • 69.8% passing (30/43)
  • 11/14 passing in final third
  • 2 aerials won
  • 1 dribble
  • 1x fouled
  • 3 tackles
  • 0 inteceptions
  • 5 clearances
  • 1 foul
  • 1/4 crosses
  • 0/5 accurate long balls

Robinson will certainly get minutes in the upcoming window with the U.S. team. He is the team’s only natural left back – although Sergino Dest might shift and play there with Reggie Cannon on the right. When Robinson returns to Fulham, his defensive abilities will be up to the test with Everton, Leicester City, Manchester City, and Liverpool all up next.


Wright scores AGAIN


Haji Wright cannot stop scoring in the Danish Superliga. After rough seasons in Germany and then in Holland, Wright is in the best stretch of his career with Sonderjyske. Coming into Sunday’s game against AC Horsens, wright had five goals in his first seven Superliga games and was named the league’s player of the month. He became the first Sonderjyske player to win the Superliga player of the month since March 2016.


Then in the 78th minute, Wright scored his sixth of the season on a counter attack when his teammate Alexander Bah did well to beat two defenders and find a wide open Wright. While his first touch wasn’t great, the Californian finished with ease.

Wright is certainly a player who is making a strong case to be part of the U.S. U-23 team although competition at forward is pretty deep along with Jeremy Ebobisse, Ayo Akinola, and Daryl Dike.


Matarazzo and Stuttgart draw again


Managed by New Jersey’s own Pellegrino Matarazzo, VfB Stuttgart played Eintracht Frankfurt to a 2-2 draw (as a side note, former U.S. national team fullback Timothy Chandler did not play for Eintracht). It was surely a disappointing result for Matarazzo and Company as they squandered a 2-0 halftime lead. When you watch Matarazzo’s team play this year, it is a fun team. They play an attractive, effective, and attacking style. For a newly promoted team, that is not easy. The backline, however, is a mess. In this one, there were so many defensive errors that they were lucky to have won a point.

This team is on the right track. Through seven games, it has lost just once – in its opening weekend. Over the last six games, it has two wins and four draws. With a better backline, this team could be a force in the Bundesliga.


Palmer-Brown’s cleansheet


Austria Vienna is obviously not a fun team to watch as the team rarely scores. It sits in midtable of the Austrian Bundesliga by virtue of its defense. On Saturday it played Altach to a 0-0 draw and after seven games it has scored only seven goals – while conceding just eight goals (two of which were against a Salzburg team that is head and shoulders above every team in the league).

Palmer-Brown has had a nice year defensively as Austria Vienna depends on cleansheets to earn points. In this case, it did just that against Altach. Palmer-Brown’s passing out of the back wasn’t great but he had five clearances.

  • 90 minutes
  • 46 touches
  • 23/34 passing (68%)
  • 3/10 long bal1s
  • 5 clearnaces
  • 3 duels won (3 lost)
  • 2 tackles
  • 1 interception
  • 1 aerial won (2 lost)

Palmer-Brown was left off the recent U.S. roster but him, along with Philadelphia’s Mark McKenzie, could make inroads in 2021 with solid performances with the U.S. U-23 team. It will be also interesting to see if Palmer-Brown moves to a different club in January his loan to Austria Vienna from Manchester City contains a recall clause to force a move.


De la Torre improving in Eredivisie


Luca de la Torre, 22, was adamant that once he found a place to be a regular player, he would show case himself well. For years, he was in the Fulham system but minutes never came. Over the summer, he signed for Heracles in the Eredivisie and in recent weeks has been starter.

Last week the San Diego native was effective in 4-1 win over Utrecht and on Saturday he was off to another strong start against VVV-Venlo playing on the left wing.

Unfortunately for de la Torre, this was a tough game as Heracles was reduce to 10 players just before halftime with Heracles up 1-0.

Heracles ended up losing this one 3-2 but de la Torre played well and covered a ton of group to try to make up for his team being down a man. He suffered four fouls, two of which were really hard, but continued to put in a solid shift on both sides of the ball.

  • 90 minutes
  • 57 touches
  • 0 shots
  • 0 key passes
  • 80% passing (/35)
  • 2 aerials won
  • 2 dribbles
  • 4x fouled
  • 2 tackles
  • 2 interceptions
  • 1 clearance
  • 1 foul
  • 0/2 accurate crossing
  • 0/2 accurate long balls

Moving forward, de la Torre will likely be a player Jason Kreis should consider for the U.S. U-23 team. He has the experience of being a starter at both the U-17 and U-20 World Cups and is now a starter in the Eredivisie. That is not an case for automatic inclusion into the team but the U.S. U-23 team is short on wingers and if Heracles is willing to release de la Torre for qualifying, he will likely be in strong consideration.


Miazga starts in Anderlecht draw


Matt Miazga has been off to a fairly strong start since arriving in Belgium last month to join Anderlecht on a season-long loan from Chelsea. On Sunday he earned the start in a matchup against a Gent team that is one of the stronger teams in the country in recent years 

Starting in backline where three of the four defenders were former New York Red Bulls (Miazga, Michael Murillo, and Kemar Lawrence), the Clifton, N.J. was relatively quiet – which isn’t the worst thing for a centerback. He did win a tackle, aerial, or made a clearance over 90 minutes. His long-ball passing was pretty good.

Anderlecht is surely very disappointed by the result as it held a 1-0 lead into the 89th minute due to a Murillo goal. Gent found an equalizer in the 89th when Roman Yaremchuk headed home a cross from the middle of the box. Miazga was not at fault for this goal.


  • 90 minutes
  • 67 touches
  • 53/63 passing (84%)
  • 1 key pass
  • 0 duels won (2 lost)
  • 1 chance created
  • 4 interceptions
  • 0 tackles
  • 0 aerials won
  • 0 clearances
  • 5/9 accurate long balls

Moving forward, Miazga is in a good spot at Anderlecht and he should be part of the equation that helps the team return to being one of the best in Belgium. It wouldn’t be surprising if next year rumors emerge that Anderlecht will seek to sign Miazga to a permanent deal.


Brooks & Wolfsburg win wild game

John Brooks and Wolfsburg are lucky to escape Sunday with a 2-1 home win over Hoffenheim – in the first game the team has scored multiple goals this season.

Wolfsburg had generally been the better team and could have move up 3-0 in the 84th minute but missed a penalty. Three minutes later, Hoffenheim pulled one back in the 87th minute to  make the score 2-1.

Things got really interesting in stoppage time when Hoffenheim goalkeeper Oliver Baumann moved into the attack for a corner kick and drew a penalty. With the chance to equalize from the spot, Munas Dabbur saw his kick from the spot denied by Wolfsburg keeper Koen Casteels.

In this game, Brooks wasn’t as dominant in the back as he typically is but he continues to have a great season and this, while not a gem, is certainly a fine outing on the defensive side of the ball.

  • 90 minutes
  • 46 touches
  • 27/37 passing (72%)
  • 2/7 accurate long balls
  • 2 duels won (7 lost)
  • 5 clearances
  • 0 tackles
  • 2 aerials won (2 lost)
  • 1 interception


Tough loss for Cannon and Boavista

After a tremendous effort on Monday where they defeated Benfica 3-0, Boavista was on the completely opposite side of the spectrum on Sunday when it lost 3-1 to a Farense team that entered into the game winless and in last place.

No one played well on Boavista but the real reason it lost was set piece defending as a pair of second half goals off corner kicks were the difference.

Cannon concentrated mostly on defense and didn’t really stand out offensively. Over 90 minutes, he won 4/6 duals, his passing was solid at 15/17, he was 2/2 in long balls, and managed to hit four crosses. His approach thus far at Boavista has been conservative  - which is fine as he adjusts to a new league and a new team.

The problem at the moment, however, is that Boavista is now near the bottom of the table and needs players to step up. Cannon is not the problem for Boavista but eventually he’ll need to prove that he is part of the soluton.



Elsewhere around the globe


Aron Johnansson turns 30 on Tuesday and played his final game before that milestone. He earned the start and buried his 11th Allsvenskan goal of the season (he has another three in the Swedish Cup) when he buried a penalty that was called for a handball. Unfortunately for Johannsson, His team played with 10 players starting in the 38th minute and were overwhelmed in a 5-2 loss


 In the Scottish Premiership, St. Mirren and Dundee United played to a 0-0 draw. American central midfielder Ian Harkes started and played 59 minutes. He was replaced by fellow American Dillon Powers who played the final 31 minutes plus stoppage time.

In Serie B, Wisconsin native Andrija Novakovich was subbed into Frosinone game vs. Monza in the 57th minute. Frosinone was trailing 1-0 when he entered and it finished a 2-0 loss. Giuseppe Barone went as an unused substitute for US Salernitana in a 2-0 loss to SPAL. Barone, formerly at Long Island University, is still looking to make his professional debut.

In the 2.Bundesliga, Julian Green played 72 minutes for Greuther Furth in a 2-0 win over Bochum. The 2014 World Cup veteran missed a penalty in this one but otherwise played pretty well as Furth move into second place in the second tier.


Also in the 2.Bundesliga, Kevin Lankford played the last 11 minutes for St. Pauli in a 0-3 home loss to Karlsruher. U.S. U-20 midfielder/left back Leon Flach was an unused sub in the loss.

In the FA Cup, Lynden Gooch missed Sunderland’s upset loss to Mansfield Town with a groin injury. Sunderland is now out of the tournament.

Duane Holmes was an unused sub for Derby County which dropped a 2-0 decision at home to Barnsley. With the loss, Derby dropped into last place in the Championship.

In the Championship, Matthew Olosunde made his first start of the season for Rotherham United in a 2-1 win over Preston North End. Playing in the back of a 5-man backline, the Trenton, N.J. native had a nice outing in the win. 

  • 88 mins
  • 52 touches
  • 1 key pass
  • 0 shots
  • 16/21 passing (61.5%)
  • 3 aerials won
  • 2 dribbles
  • 3x fouled
  • 3 tackles
  • 2 interceptions
  • 1 clearance
  • 2/2 long balls
  • 0/2 accurate crosses


 In Brazil’s Serie A, Johnny Cardoso did not appear for Internacional on Sunday against Coritiba as he was given permission to travel early to Wales to be with the U.S national team.

In League 2, U.S. U-20 hopeful Patrick Koffi did not suit of for Paris FC in a win over Dunkerque

In Belgium’s top flight, Joe Efford played a full 90 for Waasland-Beveren in a 1-1 away draw with Eupen on Saturday. Chris Durkin was not in the roster for St. Truiden in a 2-1 loss to Genk.

Uly Llanez did not get off the bench for Heerenveen in a 3-0 loss to AZ Alkmaar. Also in the Eredivisie, Desevio Payne remained on the bench for Emmen in a 3-1 loss to Vitesse.

In Denmark, Emmanuel Sabbi played 71 minutes for OB Odense in a 3-1 loss to Brondby. He had his moments in the attack and created one dangerous chance playing on the right wing, but Brondby was simply better on the day.

In Norway, Henry Wingo played 79 minutes for Molde in a 2-2 draw with Kristiansund.

In Sweden, Romain Gall played the full 90 for Orebro in a 1-0 loss to Kalmar FF. Mix Diskerud also played a full 90 for Helsingborg in a 1-0 loss to IFK Goteborg.

In Spain’s Segunda, Shaq Moore started for Tenerife against Real Zaragoza.

Richard Ledezma did not get off the bench for PSV Eindhoven in a 3-0 win over Willem II in the Eredivisie. Ledezma will now head to Wales to play for the United States for the first time.

Finally, Jesse Marsch and Red Bull Salzburg dropped their first points of the season when they played second place Rapid Vienna to a 1-1 draw in Vienna

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