Americans abroad analysis
Red Bull and Scottish-based Yanks do well, but big misses, injuries, & struggles mar weekend for Yanks
October 25, 2021
THE WEEKEND FOR AMERICANS abroad was indeed a rocky ride. While there were some good things, there are certainly some players who had games that were below their capability. Of course, there are injuries that are also continuing to mount.
The players who had the best weekend were either in Scotland (Harkes, Carter-Vickers, Ramirez, Pittman) or are current our future members of the Red Bull empire (Miazga, Aaronson, Ream, and Adams). After that, you’re left with Antonee Robinson who also had a nice game on Sunday for Fulham.
Besides that, the rest of the weekend was kind of bleak.
The two most defining moments were misses two players had in matchups against the elite teams of the world. Sergino Dest missed a sitter in El Classico against Real Madrid. Konrad de la Fuente also missed a golden chance against Paris St. Germain.
Several high-profile central defenders had a very rough period of days. John Brooks, and Chris Richards struggled in the Bundesliga. Mark McKenzie and Erik Palmer-Brown couldn’t get off the bench in their games. Matt Miazga, Tim Ream, and Cameron Carter-Vickers, meanwhile, were all key players in nice wins.
The big story, however, is injuries. Borussia Dortmund’s Gio Reyna and Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic remain out and neither are back in full-team training. This only raises doubts about their availability for the U.S. team in November. Over the weekend, there was an injury scare to Gianluca Busio who was forced out of Venezia’s game at halftime. Matthew Hoppe reportedly suffered a knock and did not play for Mallorca.
The issue of American players who are out of favor with their coaching staff is also a looming problem. Yunus Musah did not get off the bench for Valencia and while this was just one game, it is a potential concern. Julian Green is simply out of favor at Greuther Furth and is regularly not playing for the Bundesliga’s cellar-dwellers. Mark Mckenzie is in and out of the lineup for Genk and he missed Genk’s 3-0 loss to Gent.
Anyway, here is a detailed look at the Americans who played.
Dest assists/misses sitter in El Classico
The El Classico is one of the biggest rivalries in the world and another story to the chapter was told on Sunday when Barcelona hosted Real Madrid. Barcelona is having a down year and is not among the best in La Liga at the moment.
Sergino Dest got the start again on the right wing for Barcelona but shifted to right back towards the end of the game. Real Madrid ended up winning 2-1 to move atop of La Liga. It was a frustrating defeat for Barcelona and part of that is on Dest.
The game was decidedly mixed for young American fullback. He had a big miss for Barcelona just before half and if he had scored, it would have changed the narrative of the game. He also was not regularly involved offensively as he had been in the past.
Dest misses a sitter! pic.twitter.com/M2LBXQ2UIP— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) October 24, 2021
On the flip side, he was not defensively responsible for either of Madrid’s goals. He also notched an assist deep into stoppage time to cut Madrid’s lead to 2-1 second before the final whistle.
Aguero's first Barcelona goal comes in El Clasico ???? pic.twitter.com/ukIl22s434— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) October 24, 2021
It was a great stage for Dest to be involved with, despite the loss. The blame can largely be placed upon other players, but it is not as if Dest is faultless either. He had the opportunity to make a big play when it mattered and came up short. Regardless of the outcome, that is an awesome stage.
Adams subs into Leipzig win
While the Champions League campaign has been brutal for Jesse Marsch and RB Leipzig, things are getting a little more upbeat in the Austrian Bundesliga. On Saturday, the club hosted last-place Greuther Furth and while Furth scored the first goal, Leipzig scored the final four for a 4-1 win.
Tyler Adams was on the bench but came into the game in the 63rd minute once Leipzig had a 2-1 win. Adams was not part of any significant moment for Leipzig but he was on the field as Leipzig raised its game to ensure the victory was easy. He played central midfield and had 26 touches in 26 minutes and completed 18/22 passing as Leipzig enjoyed 57% of the possession and over 60% in the second half.
Also of note is that Julian Green went as an unused sub again for Greuther Furth and he has certainly fallen out of favor this season at Furth after playing a big role last season in earning promotion. He rarely starts and over the last six weeks typically only sees limited minutes. Further is still winless on the season, will Green return to being a 2.Bundesliga player next year if the club is relegated or will he seek an exit in January if his minutes do not increase?
Scally sharp despite M’Gladbach loss
Joe Scally started for Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday in an away visit to Hertha BSC. After playing like a relegation-fodder team earlier in the season, Hertha is improving and came away with a 1-0 win over Scally & Co.
Scally, 18, was certainly among M’Gladbach’s better players and he continues to impress in his first season as a first team player. Despite his young age, he is showing an impressive ability to be able to handle the responsibilities at both right and left back – although he as admitted that left back is still very new to him as he is naturally right-footed.
In this game, he started at right wing-back in a 3-4-3 formation and is numbers were pretty good.
- 90 minutes
- 84 touches
- 0 shots
- 34/48 passing
- 2 key passes
- 3/6 long balls
- 2 crosses
- 7/14 duels wo
- 3 fouls
- 2x fouled
- 2/2 tackles
Scally might not be a very fast fullback in the mold of Antonee Robinson or Sergino Dest, but his strength is just a high level of competency in understanding the game. He makes very few mistakes and is methodical in his tackling and defensive positioning. In this game, he created two of M’Gladbach’s biggest chances to score.
He seems to have very strong likelihood of being called to the national team for the first time in November.
Four Americans star in Scotland
Four Americans stared this weekend in the Scottish Premiership and all four have done very well.
Ian Harkes was the league’s player of the month in September, and he’s been a huge role in Dundee United’s surprising success this year. On Sunday, the club notched a 2-1 win over Motherwell for 20 points over 10 games. That has put Dundee United even on points for second place. Harkes went a full 90 in central midfield for the big win.
Cameron Carter-Vickers went a full 90 in central defense for Celtic on Saturday in a 2-0 win over St. Johnstone and put up impressive defensive numbers. Sits in fourth place but is putting a poor start behind it and should eventually make it a two-horse race with Rangers. The win on Saturday was one-way traffic but Carter-Vickers did well and had seven clearances.
Cameron Carter-Vickers: raw # for Celtic in 2-0 win over St. Johnstone— Brian "????Pumpkinhead????" Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) October 23, 2021
0 key passes
1/4 long balls
5/5 duels won
Christian Ramirez scored the winning goal for Aberdeen in a 1-0 win over Hibs – the future club of Orlando City’s American winger Chris Mueller. Ramirez, 30, has been a huge hit since arriving from Houston in June. This was his fifth goal the Premiership and eighth in all competitions and he is the club’s leading scorer.
Scott Pittman, 29, is the son former U.S. national team defender Steve Pittman and has been a mainstay for Livingston for most of the past decade. On Saturday, the midfielder picked up an assist for Livingston’s second goal in a 3-2 win over last-place Ross County.
Maloney debuts in BVB win
Lennard Maloney, who had two U.S. U-20 call-ups in 2018, made his debut for Borussia Dortmund on Saturday in a 3-1 away win over Arminia Bielefeld as an 88th minute sub. Gio Reyna remained out for BvB with his hamstring injury.
It was a rewarding moment for the 22 year old German-American central defender who has struggled to find a home after leaving Union Berlin in 2019 after he made one appearance for the club when it was in the 2.Bundeslga. After a series of trials did not work out, he signed for Borussia Dortmund’s second team but has quietly done well at that level.
Maloney was named to the bench in this game was given a brief outing at the end of the game. While having a future at BVB seems unlikely, this was a big moment that could open doors for him at other clubs.
He had a busy weekend overall. On Sunday, he played 57 minutes for Borussia Dortmund’s U-23 team in a 1-0 loss to Viktoria Koln.
Rough day for Brooks & Richards
In terms of American central defenders in the Bundesliga, it was a day to forget.
Chris Richards started for Hoffenheim against Bayern Munich – the parent club that owns his contract and is loaning him to Hoffenheim. Bayern ended up winning this one easily, 4-0. Richards, 21, is probably the top young American defender in the game right now but this was his toughest outing thus far in his young career. Bayern is one of the best teams in the world but Richards was exposed on two of the goals.
John Brooks is becoming a concern from a U.S. national team perspective and a Wolfsburg perspective. Wolfsburg is in an absolute tailspin with four straight Bundesliga losses and sitting last in its Champions League group. On Saturday, Brooks started for Wolfsburg and played 88 minutes in a 2-0 home loss to Freiburg. Wolfsburg are still in the top 10 of the Bundesliga but are fading quickly and it’s been a tough ride for Brooks as well.
Following the game, Wolfsburg sacked head coach Mark Van Bommel – which should help everyone on the team.
Weah struggles in Lille draw
Tim Weah got the start and played 90 minutes for Lille on Saturday in a 1-1 draw at Brest. After playing well in recent weeks for both club and country, this was a bit of a step back as Weah wasn’t able to generate much offense. He was fouled 3 times in a very scrappy game that lacked any kind of flow.
Weah started on the right side of the midfield in a 4-4-2 and wasn’t part of any meaningful offensive chances. With the point, Lille remained in 10th place in Ligue 1.
Aaronson & Salzburg extend lead
In a matchup between the top two teams of the Austrian Bundesliga, leaders Red Bull Salzburg came away with a convincing 4-1 win on Strum Graz to move 11 points clear atop the table. Salzburg now has 34 points from 12 games (11 wins, 0 losses, 1 draw).
United States national team attacker Brenden Aaronson went the distance for Salzburg in the win.
What is a positive trend for Aaronson is that his touches are increasing in recent weeks for Salzburg and, as a result, he is having a bigger footprint in games. In this game, Aaronson had 62 touches and that increase from where he used to be at (30’s through 50’s) allows him to do more. In this game he was 4/4 in dribbling and also drew three fouls.
Aaronson wasn’t involved in any of the goals, but he still drives the attack more consistently being on the ball more.
Sargent & Norwich ripped apart
It was a brutal Saturday for Norwich which travelled to London to visit Chelsea in the day’s first game. In the end, Chelsea did everything it wanted to do and rolled to a 7-0 landslide. Sargent left in the 69th minute with his team down 5-0.
There isn’t anything to make of this performance for Sargent or anyone else on the Norwich team. It was just a brutal outing for all those involved as the team was noncompetitive.
The only you can say from this game is that the learning lessons will be known soon. If Norwich can forget this game even happened and play with a purpose in the coming games, it will be huge. The next 10 games for Norwich are against bottom-half teams and accumulating decent points in this run is the team’s only chance of staying up.
If the team is demoralized heading into this stretch and doesn’t compete well against the league’s lower teams, then it is done. This loss, on its own, doesn’t mean much. A point against Chelsea on the road was almost never going to happen. It’s all about the mentality moving forward and not letting this loss hamper its most important stretch.
Sealy’s Jong PSV hat trick
The weekend started off in nice fashion as Dante Sealy notched a hat trick for Jong PSV to give him five goals on the season. In Friday’s 5-3 away win over Almere City FC, Sealy scored three second half goals in his best outing since joining Jong PSV on loan from FC Dallas.
Dante Sealy's hat trick for Jong PSV yesterday. pic.twitter.com/HBBoUZcw0S— Travis Clark (@travismclark) October 23, 2021
While making the PSV first team is still a ways off, Sealy should be a big part of the upcoming U.S. team where he will boost an impressive attack that includes Kevin Paredes, Cade Cowell, and perhaps Ricardo Pepi.
Yanks feature in big Fulham win
On Sunday, Fulham travelled north visit Nottingham Forest and left with a 4-0 win and three valuable points. The result lifted Fulham into second place in the Championship as the club looks for a quick promotion back to the Premiership.
U.S. internationals Antonee Robinson and Tim Ream both featured in the win, and both played well with their passing out of the back which kept Fulham on the front foot throughout. Both Americans, however, picked up yellow cards in the win. It was a comfortable game for Fulham.
Ethan Horvath was the backup keeper for Nottingham Forest but it remains to be seen if this outing will lead to another chance.
Vines starts in big Belgian battle
In a matchup between two of the best teams in Belgium, Royal Antwerp played reigning champs Club Brugge to a 1-1 draw at home. U.S. national team left back Sam Vines started for Royal Antwerp in his second outing since making his comeback from a broken collarbone.
In this game, Vines wasn’t bad, but he appeared tentative with the ball and perhaps this was due to two starts in quick succession after a long injury layoff. He was clearly better on Thursday against Fenerbahce in Turkey. He didn’t make any big mistakes but had little influence on the game in the attack – which is his strength as an attacking left back. This was probably expected from Antwerp, to some extent, given his seven-week absence. The upcoming games will be telling for Vines about his current level.
Antwerp remained in third place with the win with 21 points from 12 games. They are four points behind Union St. Gilloise and two points behind Brugge.
Mckennie starts in Juve – Inter draw
It was a big game for Weston McKennie and Juventus which traveled to Milan to face Inter on Sunday. The U.S. national team midfielder got the start and while he didn’t have a tremendous impact on the game, he still played well over the course of his 83 minutes. He left with Juventus down 1-0 and was not on the field for Paulo Dybala’s late equalizer from the penalty spot.
Defensively, McKennie was very strong in terms of ball-winning, breaking up plays, and being a physical presence in the midfield. In the second half, Juventus picked it up with the ball and McKennie did well to be part of it. His passing and dribbling were more effective as the second half progressed. Still, neither he nor anyone on Juventus was successful trying to break down Inter’s defense until the end.
When playing against the best Serie A has to offer, McKennie is a very useful player, and he brings and important defensive edge. It
Busio & Tessmann feature in Venezia loss
Venezia traveled to face Sassuolo on Saturday and Gianluca Busio got the start for Venezia with Tanner Tessmann on the bench.
Busio, 19, was pretty sharp in the first half and played his typical sharp-passing, scrappy type of game. He took a knock shortly before the half, tried to continue, but was subbed out to start the second half with the score even a 1-1.
Tessmann, 20, came into the game in the 68th minute – one minute after Sassuolo took a 3-1 lead. That would turn out to be the final score but Tessmann played well over the final 22 minutes. His was smooth on the ball and his range of passing helped Venezia, despite the intensity of the game being toned down with Sassuolo holding a two-goal advantage.
After the game, Busio was walking around on the field with his teammates which indicated that his injury might not be that severe, although an official update should be provided by Venezia on Monday or Tuesday.
As for Tessmann, he helped his case for more minutes and at least be a regular sub for 20-30 minutes with possible starts midseason. Despite this loss, Venezia has improved and is a tough out for opponents. Avoiding relegation will be a close call but they’re a better team now than at the start of the season.
De la Torre & Heracles suffer bad loss
On Saturday in the Eredivisie, Luca de la Torre got the start for Heracles away at PEC Zwolle. The San Diego native played well in this one despite his team suffering a very disappointing loss to the league’s last-place team.
- 90 minutes
- 77 touches
- 1 shot
- 2 key passes
- 54/60 passing
- 6/11 duels won
- 2/3 dribbles
- 2x fouled
- 1 foul
- 1 interception
- 1 clearance
Mendez starts vs. Benfica
It was a big chance for Alex Mendez who earned the start for Vizela on Sunday when it hosted one of Portugal’s most historically powerful clubs in Benfica.
Mendez, 21, played well and it was easily the best first team performance of his career. He played 89 minutes and was subbed out with the score 0-0. He was not on the field when Benfica found a winning goal deep into stoppage time for a 1-0 victory.
What was strong about Mendez’s game is not what he did with the ball (which was good) but what he did without it. He put in a solid shift defensively with his tackles, duels, and covering ground to break up plays. He was a big reason why Benfica was scoreless over 89 minutes. Defense has always been one of the concerns for Mendez but he did well today.
This should be enough to keep Mendez in the starting XI. Vizela sit in 12th place but are just two points above the relegation line. They visit Famalicao next Sunday.
Miazga & Alaves win again
Deportivo Alaves will be in a tough race this season to avoid relegation but there are some impressive signs that they’re up for the challenge. Just before the October international window, Alaves defeated Atletico Madrid. Then on Saturday, Alaves traveled to Cadiz and walked away with a 2-0 win. As a result, the club is trending in the right direction and has climbed out of the La Liga basement and is only one point from survival.
Matt Miazga has grown into becoming a huge part of the team’s central defense. In this game he had six clearances and was 2/2 in tackling. Cadiz had 61% possession and out-shot Deportivo Alaves 23-8 and had a 14-3 edge in corners. But the score went in favor of Alaves due to it blocking six shots. Cadiz also was off-target with 13 of its shots. Cadiz also had 50 crosses in this game compared with just 10 for Alaves.
Alaves won't win too many of these types of games but its central defense and goalkeeping were strong. Miazga deserves credit for helping get a result in a tough assignment. Survival will be close for Alaves but Miazga will have to have a good year for it to happen.
As for the national team, Miazga might be making a way to a return to the team. Mark McKenzie's inconsistent starts might be his opening along with questions over John Brooks' form.
It was a big opportunity for Konrad de la Fuente and Marseille against expected runaway leaders Paris St. Germain. De la Fuente played the final 19 minutes against a 10-man Paris St. Germain team and while he did well in some areas, he missed the best chance either team had from the run of play.
Staying in Ligue 1, Nicholas Gioacchini entered Montpellier’s away matchup vs. Monaco on Sunday in the 65th minute with Montpellier trailing 3-0. While he only had seven touches in his 25 minutes along with 1/4 passing, he drew a penalty which was converted by a teammate for Montpellier’s only goal in a 3-1 loss.
Finally in Ligue 1, Erik Palmer-Brown did not get off the bench for Troyes in a 2-1 away win over Reims on Sunday. In Ligue 2, Amir Richardson started and played 90 minutes for Le Havre in a 1-0 win over Pau.
In England, Christian Pulisic is still not training with the team and missed Chelsea’s 7-0 win over Norwich. Zack Steffen was the backup goalkeeper for Manchester City in a 4-1 win over Brighton & Hove Albion. In the Championship, Duane Holmes played the final 27 minutes for Huddersfield in a 3-0 loss to leaders AFC Bournemouth. In League One, Charlie Kelman was an unused sub for Gillingham in a 2-2 draw with Bolton Wanderers. Lynden Gooch played the final 20 minutes for Sunderland in a 1-0 loss to Charlton Athletic.
In Spain’s La Liga, Yunus Musah did not get off the bench for Valencia on Saturday in a 2-2 draw with Mallorca. Matthew Hoppe was reportedly out with a knock and missed the game for Mallorca. A red card to Kang-In Lee, however, could open the door for minutes.
In Spain’s Segunda, Shaq Moore started for Tenerife and played 76 minutes in a 2-1 away win over Leganes. He left with the score 1-1 and the win moved Tenerife into fifth.
In Germany's Bundesliga, American manager Pellegrino Matarazzo and his VfB Stuttgart team needed a late equalizer to earn a 1-1 draw with Union Berlin.
In Turkey’s top flight, Tyler Boyd was suspended for last-place Rizespor in a 2-1 win over Kayserispor. Haji Wright came off the bench and played the entire 2nd half for Antalyaspor in a 2-1 home loss to Istanbul Basaksehir.Antalyaspor have tumbled into the relegation zone in Turkey.
In Belgium, Mark McKenzie did not get off the bench for KRC Genk in a 3-0 home loss to Gent. Chris Durkin went the distance for St. Truiden in a 4-1 away loss to Oud-Heverlee Leuven.
In Italy, Bryan Reynold’s rough week continued for AS Roma as he did not make the bench in Sunday’s 0-0 draw with Napoli. Jose Mourinho opted to go with a youth team on the bench as opposed to the normal backups, many of whom played in the 6-1 midweek loss to Bodo/Glimt in the Conference League. Mourinho was red carded in this one. In Serie B, Andrija Novakovich came off the bench for Frosinone in the 61st minute in a 2-1 win over Ascoli.
In the Danish Superliga, Christian Cappis did not get off the bench for Brondby IF in a 2-1 win over FC Copenhagen. Emmanuel Sabbi played the entire game for OB in a 1-1 draw with Silkeborg and notched a stoppage-time assist to help seventh-place OB earn a point.
In Switzerland, Jordan Pefok started but played just the first half for BSC Young Boys in a 3-2 win over last-place Lausanne.
In Austria’s Bundesliga, Thomas Roberts made his club and league debut when he came on in the 86th minute for Austria Klagenfurt in a 2-1 away loss to Wolfsberger. In the second tier, Uly Llanez started for St. Polten and played 74 minutes in a 2-0 loss to Kapfenberger SV.
In Hungary’s NB I, Henry Wingo started for Ferencvaros in a Budapest derby against MTK Budapest. The Seattle native went the distance at right back in a 0-0 draw.
In Brazil, Johnny Cardoso played the second half for sixth-place Internacional in a 2-2 draw with Corinthians.
In Argentina, Joel Sonora played the final eight minutes for Banfield in a 2-1 loss to Godoy Cruz. His younger brother, Alan Sonora, and Independiente host Union on Monday night.
In Peru’s top tier, Ernest Nungary played 89 minutes for Sport Boys in a 3-3 draw with Carlos Mannucci.
In Chile’s Primera, Mattias Fracchia and O'Higgins visit Cobresal on Tuesday.
In Ecuador’s Primera, Michael Hoyos remains out injured for Barcelona SC in Sunday's 2-1 loss to Emelec.
In Mexico, Sebastian Saucedo started and played 57 minutes for Pumas UNAM in a 3-1 win over Club Tijuana.