Americans abroad analysis

Sargent, Cappis, and Ramirez enjoy strong week among Americans abroad

The Gold Cup is over, the Nations League is over, and the focus in American soccer can shift back to the club level, domestically in MLS, and abroad across the globe. ASN's Brian Sciaretta is here with his weekly update. 
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
August 03, 2021
9:00 AM

AS WE HIT AUGUST, the games in Europe become a little more important. Some leagues have already started while the preseason games for other teams have taken on new meaning. While the Gold Cup drew most of the attention for American fans and MLS games have been in full swing, here is a look at things in Europe at this stage.

And what better way to start than with some big performances from national team players.


Sargent’s big outing


The future of Josh Sargent is a hot topic right now. Will he get sold or will Werder Bremen keep him in their effort to get promoted back to the Bundesliga. On Saturday, Sargent was ridiculously good – playing mostly as a winger – in 3-2 win over Fortuna Dusseldorf. It was an outing that was so good that it raised more questions than answers.

In one regard, teams needing a last-minute addition at forward are going to take notice and inquire about Sargent. In another regard, returning to the Bundesliga is a massive priority for Sargent and if he leaves, Werder Bremen’s chances are severely diminished.

In this game, Sargent scored two goals but also did so much more. He won seven of nine duels, blocked three shots, drew two fouls, and won all five of his aerial attempts.




So, what is in the best interest of Sargent, right now? There is the lure of remaining in the Bundesliga but carrying a team to promotion is impressive and it would also give Sargent confidence and important minutes in this World Cup qualifying year.


Belgium update


It’s been a tough start for Mark McKenzie and KRC Genk in Belgium. While McKenzie hasn’t really been a part of the team’s struggles, frustration might be settling in at the club.

On Friday, Genk dropped a 4-3 decision at home to KV Oostende with three of Oostende’s goals coming off set pieces – none were scored by players McKenzie was marking. On the heels of a season opening draw, it has been a rough start to the season for Genk.

McKenzie is playing a lot right now and that is good. He is clearly a player that Genk are counting on to help them win and eventually get sold for a profit. But Genk cannot fall into an early season hole if they want to remain in the mix as one of the top teams in the league.

On another note, Chris Durkin and St. Truiden played to a solid 0-0 road draw with Sporting Charleroi on Saturday and the club now has four points from its first two games.  Durkin has fallen under the radar a bit given that (unlike other MLS exports) he was not a star at DC United before getting sold. He’s also spent in his time in Belgium fighting in a relegation battles.

But the Richmond native was very good against Sporting as he completed 4/5 of long balls, won 5/10 duels, and was a perfect 4/4 in tackling. He certainly remains as an player to watch moving forward, especially if St. Truiden keep up their strong start.

On another note, U.S. national team left back Sam Vines was part of the Gold Cup championship and should be announced by Royal Antwerp this week. That should be a boost for the club as Royal Antwerp (which finished third last season) has lost its first two games of the season and is the only team in Belgium without a point.


Cappis scores Brondby equalizer


Christian Cappis has played well in his three appearances off the bench for Danish Champions Brondby. On Sunday, Cappis had a milestone moment when he came into the game for Brondby in the 61st minute against Vejle with his club trailing 2-1. In the 81st minute, he hit an equalizer for a 2-2 draw.


Cappis is understandably flying under the radar. He had previously played for Hobro and spend last season in the second tier. Still, it was obvious that he was well ahead of that level – which was indicated by Brondby’s willingness to sign him in January.

Brondby has stumbled out of the gate to start the 2021/22 season with draws in each of its three games. With Cappis playing well, he could benefit from a shakeup.

This would be huge ahead of the Champions League playoff against Salzburg with the first leg starting in two weeks.

On another note in Denmark, Emmanuel Sabbi has started all three of OB Odense’s games to start this season including Sunday’s 2-0 loss to Copenhagen. Odense has four points to start this season.



Aaronson & Salzburg rolling


As we’ve mentioned, there isn’t nearly as much of an American footprint in the Austrian Bundesliga this season with Brenden Aaronson at Salzburg and Thomas Roberts at Austria Klagenfurt being the only two (and Roberts has yet to suit up for Klagenfurt since joining on loan from FC Dallas).

For Brenden Aaronson, he has started in Salzburg’s first two games – including Saturday’s 7-1 win over Ried. The New Jersey native assisted on the team’s second goal – a 41st minute goal by Rasmus Kristensen.


Aaronson was decent in his 64 minutes on the field, on top of the assist. He was subbed out with Salzburg up 4-0. When looking at his raw numbers, his only weakness was his 0/8 in duel winning.


Ramirez scores for Aberdeen


After scoring in a Europa Conference League qualifier, American forward Christian Ramirez got the start for Aberdeen in the Scottish Premiership opener against fellow American Ian Harkes and Dundee United.

The game was all Aberdeen which won 2-0. Ramirez played well and scored the team’s second goal in the 51st minute. Since leaving the Houston Dynamo last month, Ramirez has hit the ground running in Scotland.

On Thursday, Ramirez and company head to Iceland to face Breidablik in a Conference League qualifier.

This was an interesting move for an American player. Even if it is an older player or a player who is not part of the national team pool or in a league lower than MLS, the more Americans playing well across the globe, the more value there is for American players.  


Soto scores for Porto B


Sebastian Soto, 21, scored for Porto B on Friday in a 4-1 win over Canelas 2010 (of the 3.Liga). The Californian got the start and opened his Porto B account – albeit in a friendly against a lower level team.


Soto has an uphill climb to make it at Porto and he’ll need to be a regular on the team’s scoresheet. But this clearly helps.


Other News and Notes


Lennard Maloney, a German-American who had two U.S. U-20 callups in 2018, will remain with Borrusia Dortmund’s first team, for now. Maloney is signed to the second team but has been filling in at the first team level in preseason while the top first team defenders have been away. Maloney recently scored in a first-team friendly against Bologna.

In Argentina on Sunday, 2015 U.S. U-20 World Cup midfielder Joel Sonora assisted on a 53rd minute equalizing goal form Ramiro Enrique for Banfield in a 1-1 away draw against San Lorenzo. Banfield has six points from its first four games of the season.


Sporting Kansas City has loaned young American forward Tyler Freeman, 18, to Karlsruher SC for the upcoming 2.Bundesliga season.  Sporting Kansas City has retained an option to recall Freeman for the loan. Freeman has yet to make his SKC debut but has three goals in 498 minutes this season in the USL for Sporting Kansas City II.

In England, Owen Otasowie has reportedly turned down a new contract offer for Wolverhampton. According to various reports, there is interest in the U.S. national team defender/midfielder from Wolfsburg and Anderlecht and the price tag is in the vicinity of £6 million

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