Pulassist, Wigan’s rout, Philadelphia's win, Wingo's goal, & Mueller.. Mueller?
July 15, 2020
THE MIDWEEK SLATE of games gave us a lot ot digest as the best American ever at the club level continued to shine for Chelsea and the MLS tournament in Orlando is gradually improving in quality with a bunch of American players also turning in some of the best performances. The best story, however, is Antonee Robinson and Wigan who have been through so much off the field and are using that as motivation on the field.
Here is a walk through of the games and the key storylines.
Pulassist in Chelsea win
After one subpar game (where everyone on Chelsea was subpar), Christian Pulisic is back to performing at the world-class level he has shown since the Premier League restart.
The obvious takeaway is that Pulisic had the assist in a 1-0 win over already relegated Norwich.
Pulassisit pic.twitter.com/7T7hFLjE0N— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) July 14, 2020
But that only tells part of the story. Pulisic completed 12/14 passing in the attacking third. That was a significant percentage of his overall passing (28/32). He had two successful dribbles and drew a key foul. He also had three shots with two on target (one forced a dramatic save). Norwich is a poor team in this league but when bunkering, it still requires an effort to score.
Chelsea has two games remaining and a four-point lead on Leicester City for third place. It has two tough games remaining against Liverpool and Wolves but one win will secure third place and a Champions League berth.
Robinson & Wigan humiliate Hull
Like most of Wigan Athletic’s players on Tuesday, U.S. U-23 left back Antonee Robinson was terrific in an 8-0 rout over a Hull City team that has enormous problems. After leading 7-0 at halftime, Robinson was taken out in the 55th minute.
In 55 minutes, he had 75 touches and four successful dribbles. He was good on both sides of the ball and nearly had a goal and two assists of his own. He was 12/14 in passing in the attacking third.
Antonee Robinson: raw # in 8-0 rout over Hull City— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) July 14, 2020
1 shot (off the frame)
1 key pass
77.8% passing 35/45
1 aerial won
0 blocked shots
3/5 accurate long balls
1/1 through balls#USMNT
Wigan and Robinson remain a great story. This is a team that was in the relegation zone, climbed out of it, and is now trying to climb out after a financial scandal is likely to result in a 12-point penalty. For Robinson, you have to add in the fact that he also had a transfer to AC Milan fall apart because the medical exam detected an irregular heartbeat which required a procedure.
Luton Town eyes great escape
There was a brief moment on Tuesday when Luton Town had a 1-0 lead on Queens Park Rangers where if the results held, Luton Town would be out of the relegation zone. That is remarkable given that the club has occupied the basement of the Championship for a large portion of the season.
But QPR rallied for a 1-1 draw to send Luton Town back into the relegation zone. The club has done very well since the arrival of American defender Cameron Carter-Vickers. The club has lost just three times in his 13 starts. And Carter-Vickers was solid once again in the draw with two tackles, four clearances, and three interceptions. His passing at 64% isn’t great for his position but he is being asked to be a defensive rock for a team that is outmatched in talent nearly every game.
On Saturday, Luton will take on a dispirited Hull City team which just lost 8-0 to Wigan Athletic. The two teams are even on points. A winner in this game would be in a good position to possibly overtake Charleton Athletic for the last safe position. Charleton sits just two points ahead of both Luton and Hull.
Ream & Fulham heading into playoffs
Tim Ream and Fulham have secured a spot in the Championship’s promotional playoffs and could make a return to the top flight. On Tuesday, Fulham played second place West Brom to a 0-0 away draw and while Ream played well, the whole team will feel disappointed. A win would have opened the door for automatic promotion (Fulhan would have been two points out).
The resulting draw now has Fulham five points out of automatic promotion with just two games remaining (while also trailing in the goal differential tiebreaker).
But after a sluggish first few games following the restart, Fulham is back to playing well again heading into the playoffs and that is not a bad position to be in.
Ream played well against West Brom Albion
- 89 minutes
- 73 touches
- 88.2% passing (60/68)
- 3 interceptions
- 2 clearances
- 5/11 accurate long balls
The question now becomes peaking at the right time
Mueller shines in Orlando
On Tuesday night, Orlando City moved to six points in two games at the MLS is Back tournament in Florida following a 3-1 win over a New York City team that has now lost all four of its games in the 2020 season.
The big story is that two of the three Orlando goals were scored by winger Chris Mueller. Including this stellar finish off a free kick.
After his MOTM performance in the tournament opener last week (with a goal & 30/31 passing), Orlando City winger Chris Mueller has 2 goals already tonight. He’s been terrific pic.twitter.com/I0tVds3Smc— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) July 15, 2020
Combined with his MOTM performance in the 2-1 win over Miami in the tournament opener, Mueller has been the best player in Orlando over the first week.
His defense could be better and needs to improve, but his numbers over the first two games are rather impressive. It’s probably even more significant that he did it with Gregg Berhalter watching.
Orlando City winger Chris Mueller in Orlando so far— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) July 15, 2020
2 games, 2 starts
8 shots (5 on target)
12/12 passing in final third
- He's been the best player at the tournament so far, but he needs more defensive bite to continue to improve for next level https://t.co/MZpmfSG8uo
Philadelphia coasts into knockouts
The Philadelphia Union knocked off Miami 2-1 on Thursday to book a place in the knockout stages. The team now has six points from its first two games.
The team’s second goal was a counter-attack of beauty which featured Jamiro Monteiro making two dummies on the play, a great run and assist from Brenden Aaronson, and a perfect finish from Kacper Przybylko.
Thankfully, we were given this wonderful camera angle for the goal.
First, love this camera angle. What a counter by Philadelphia. 2 dummies on one play from Monteiro. The movement & assist from Brenden Aaronson. The finish by Przbylko. This was pretty. pic.twitter.com/ybs8fB3asr— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) July 15, 2020
And Brenden Aaronson is seeing his stock increase in Orlando with a pair of outings where he has been extremely active on both sides of the ball.
Brendan Aaronson: raw numbers for Philadelphia in 2-1 win vs Miami— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) July 15, 2020
1 key pass
82.4% passing 14/17
5/7 passing in attacking third
Aaronson, 19, has improved substantially since last season as he has become physically much stronger while also improving his vision and execution. Against Miami, Aaronson showed that he needs to see the ball more often and 34 touches is not a lot. But so far this season, he is regularly making impacts in games.
On Monday, Aaronson and Philadelphia and Mueller and Orlando will face off against each other.
Wingo scores first Molde
Last year, Henry Wingo transferred from the Seattle Sounders to Molde FK. First team minutes with Seattle had been rare and the Seattle native wanted to move on.
Last year, he played only sparingly for Molde as it went on to win the Norwegian title. To start 2020, Wingo has been playing regularly and has been converted from a winger to a right back. Meanwhile, Molde is tied for the lead of Norway’s top flight.
Wingo, 24, got the start on Wednesday and scored the fourth goal of a 5-0 rout over Viking.
Seattle native Henry Wingo’s first career goal in Molde’s 5-0 win over Viking. pic.twitter.com/gllPqguEZk— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) July 15, 2020
It was his first career goal at the first team level.