Notes on Americans abroad in preseason and a look at potential transfers
It's a busy time for Americans abroad as the preseason is now in full swing and players are trying to make cases for playing time or perhaps impress for potential transfers. ASN's Brian Sciaretta with a rundown.
BY Brian Sciaretta PostedTHE INTERNATIONAL tournaments are over for the summer and now in Europe, the focus shifts to the preseason where many players are in an important period to build a case for meaningful minutes at the start of the season.
July 12, 2019
July 12, 2019
There are a lot of Americans in transition at the moment. Many players are at new club, some have returned to their parent club from a loan, others are out on loan again, many are still looking for a new club or a new loan, and some are trying to build a case for their first run of first-team minute.
It's tough to read too much into performances during the early stages of preseason but sometimes they offer clues, sometimes they are completely meaningless (like when a top-tier team plays against a local village in a lopsided score).
Here are a few of the preseason notes that caught our eye
U.S U-20 forward Sebastian Soto scored two goals coming off the bench for Hannover midweek in a 3-1 win over Austrian second-tier side Grazer AK. It was especially welcome news for Soto as he missed the previous preseason game due to an injured tibia. Both goals were rather fortunate with a lack of defensive marking but he is making a case for playing time.
Sebastian Soto’s midweek brace for Hannover in a 3-1 preseason win over Grazer AK pic.twitter.com/wvf4q6IGYR— American Soccer Now (@ClassicASN) July 13, 2019
Similarly, fellow U.S. U-20 World Cup vet Chris Gloster got the start at left back for Hannover in that game and played 45 minutes.
While both Gloster and Soto have been the subject of transfer rumors, playing in the 2.Bundesliga would not be a bad place to get settled into regular first-team minutes for the first time in their careers.
Former Sporting Kansas City and New York City FC forward Khiry Shelton has been playing newly promoted Bundesliga club Paderborn quite a bit this preseason. He started midweek in a preseason friendly vs. SC Veri of the Regionalliga.
On Friday, Shelton scored a brace in a 6-0 win over sixth tier Delbruck. Will this translate to Bundesliga minutes for the Colorado-born striker? It is impossible to say at this point but it would be surprising for those who followed him during the start of his career in MLS.
Staying in Germany, Bobby Wood missed a penalty for Hamburg in a 1-1 draw with Olympiacos FC.
Earlier in the week, his coach told the media he spoke with Wood about expectations and also said that Wood would get a chance this season. Right now, it’s about confidence for the Hawaiian.
Reading FC will be hoping to avoid another relegation fight in the Championship this upcoming season. Last year, American defender Matt Maizga was critical to the team’s survival after joining midseason on loan. Miazga has left the club but this season Reading might have American forward Andrija Novakovich who returned after a loan from Fortuna Sittard.
On Wednesday, Reading FC downed Gibraltar United with Novakovich scoring off a defensive error. On July 6, Novakovich had a very good game in a 2-0 win over Southend United where he picked up an assist and came close to scoring multiple times.
34’ GOAL READING | An awful back-pass from Gibraltar United gifted Novakovich with the goal- slipped past the goalkeeper #ReadingFC 2-0— Reading FC (@ReadingFC) July 10, 2019
In South America, American-born Matko Miljevic, 18, was the first sub off the bench in the 68th minute for Argentinos Juniors in a 1 - 0 win over Colón in the Copa Sudamericana. The Miami-born teenager will be hoping to earn regular Superliga minutes this season – which will kickoff on July 26 for Argentinos Juniors when it hosts River Plate.
Miljevic has played for the youth national teams of both the United States and Argentina but has been public about his hope to play for the United States in the near future. He is eligible for the upcoming 2021 U.S. U-20 team as well as the 2020 U.S. U-23 team.
Americans on the move
It’s been a busy season so far with Americans finding new clubs with the most prominent moves being Tim Weah joined Lille and Zack Steffen was loaned to Fortuna Dusseldorf. Christian Pulisic signed for Chelsea in January but will only now be making the move.
There are a few more we can add to the list.
Aaron Johannsson has signed with Hammarby in Sweden’s top flight. The talented forward has struggled with injuries for most of the past four years but he will be looking for a fresh start in the Allsvenskan.
Similarly, Haji Wright has joined VVV Venlo from Schalke on a free transfer. The forward struggled to fit in with Schalke and will now get a chance to break through in the Eredivisie.
So which Americans could be next to move? Tyler Boyd is closing in on a deal to Besiktas but one report suggest that it might have hit snag due to finances.
Cameron Carter-Vickers, 21, reportedly has also been made for sale from Tottenham. The U.S. U-23 defender has plenty of Championship minutes in recent seasons and should have little trouble attracting interest there.
Erik Palmer-Brown might also find his next destination sooner than later with clubs in Holland, Germany, and Beligum all in the mix.
Also on the U-23 front, Emmanuel Sabbi reportedly turned down interest from Maccabi Haifa with Brondby now in hot pursuit.