Americans Abroad

Sargent, Downs, Wright, Pulisic, and McKennie top another big weekend for Yanks abroad

For the second time in three weeks, Yanks abroad had another banner weekend with familiar names like Weston McKennie and Christian Pulisic along with youngesters like Paxten Aaronson and Gaga Slonina all having big moments. Even a newcomer like Damion Downs got in on the action. ASN's Brian Sciaretta writes the book on the weekend that was for Yanks abroad. 
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
March 11, 2024
5:55 AM

IT WAS ANOTHER very eventful weekend for Americans abroad with some of the country’s top players turning in big performances. On top of that, we also saw important outings from young players who are trying to make their way in the game.

For a Cliffs Notes version, the highlights are great.

  • Christian Pulisic: goal, MOTM
  • Weston McKennie: two assists, MOTM
  • Gaga Slonina: 5-save, cleansheet win
  • Paxten Aaronson: goal
  • Josh Sargent: goal
  • Haji Wright: two goals
  • Alejandro Zendejas: goal and assist
  • Sergino Dest: goal
  • Damion Downs: goal (his first career first-team goal)
  • Joe Scally: assist
  • Rokas Pukstas: goal
  • John Brooks: goal (and a red card)

That’s another good list. In particular because some are key national team players while others like Downs, Aaronson, Pukstas, and Slonina are age-eligible for the U.S. U-23 team.


Pulisic MOTM, Musah useful in Milan win

Even though he won the Champions League with Chelsea, there is a very strong arguement that this has been the best season of Christian Pulisic's club career  (at least in terms of league play). He had some huge performances for Chelsea and Dortmund, but he has never been this consistently good like he has been this first season for AC Milan.

But it's in all areas of the game - offense, defense, set pieces, or in transition.

On Sunday, Pulisic was the MOTM for Milan in a 1-0 win over Empoli. In the 40th minute, he scored the game's only goal after a long VAR check.

There are so many good things about Pulisic. He's healthy and obviously fit. His runs are the best they 've ever been and he is in a rhythm where he is reading the game so well. Across all competitions, he has now made 33 starts - and we are still in mid/early March. If he continues this through the end of the season, he could be one of the top players to watch at the Copa America.

Also encouraging was Yunus Musah playing the final 27 minutes for AC Milan. His minutes have been on the decline, and he was an unused substitute last week.

Musah had one poor backpass that could have been a disaster but wasn't. Aside from that, he was excellent in possession as Empoli wanted to win the ball back but couldn't. Musah was useful dribbling and keeping the ball.

Musah still needs to work on becoming a more dangerous player with his final ball. Those are the demands at top clubs. But in this situation, it wasn't needed. Instead, Musah gave them possession and that helped see out the win.


Mckennie picks up 2 assists in return


After missing last weekend with a shoulder injury, Weston McKennie played such a strong game on Sunday that nobody would have guessed anything was ever wrong with him. The USMNT midfielder started against Atalanta but came to life in the second half with two assists in quick succession that turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead.

His first to Andrea Cambiaso was just a classy play on many different levels. It showcased his ability to win balls, make smart movements, and pickout a deadly pass to set up a chance which was converted.

His second assist was just a heads up play where he could have attempted a header on goal but instead set up Arkadiusz Milik for a better chance.

Unfortunately for Juventus, the lead did not last long as Atalanta equalized in the 75th minute and Juve had to settle for a 2-2 draw.

But Juve are in good shape with McKennie back as he continues to have an incredible season. In this game, he was winning balls all over the place and created five chances. He completed 34/39 passes and was 2/2 in his long balls.

On a more concerning note, Tim Weah's minutes are on the decline as he only played the final seven minutes in this game. It's been an up and down season for him but the test will be what he learns heading into next season.

With the result, Juve fell to third as AC Milan overtook them for second place.

Either way, McKennie is in a great spot heading into this summer with the USMNT as he will have the momentum of taking his game to another level in Serie A.


Downs scores in Bundesliga thriller


Borussia Monchengladbach and FC Koln played to a thrilling 3-3 draw on Saturday afternoon and the game featured three Americans, with two of the players notching goal contributions.

Joe Scally returned to the starting XI for Borussia Monchengladbach in place of Stefan Lainer. Jordan Pefok also earned the start for Gladbach. Meanwhile, Damion Downs was on the bench for Koln. The German-American forward is only 19 and is one of Koln’s better prospects at the moment. He made his Bundesliga debut earlier in the season but has been struggling with injuries (including a recent concussion) the past few months.

Koln actually held a 2-1 lead into the 70th minute but Robin Hack entered the game and changed everything. First he equalized in the 71st minute. Then he put M’Gladbach ahead in the 73rd minute after he fired home a shot following a corner. Joe Scally didn’t have a particularly great game but he was credited with the assist on the winning goal and had a “hockey-assist” for a simple pass on the equalizer minutes before.

The big story from an American perspective was Downs who came into the game in the 75th minute and equalized in the 79th minute to make it 3-3.

It was a huge moment for Downs who has dealt with injuries which has prevented him from having a breakout season. Next season will be interesting. If Koln are relegated, Downs could have minutes in the 2.Bundesliga. If Koln stay up, will he go on loan?

There is also an interesting question if Downs could get a look with the U.S. U-23 team in March or June. That team is likely to use an overage forward to supplement Duncan McGuire. But maybe Downs can put himself into the mix.

As for Pefok, he had one shot from close range in the 30th minute that he missed wide with his right foot.


Sargent hits 11th in rout


Josh Sargent and everyone on Norwich had a big day on Saturday in a resounding 5-0 win that moved Norwich into the final playoff position (6th) and gives them momentum needed down the stretch. With the score 3-0 just before halftime, Sargent scored to give Norwich a 4-0 lead at the break when he again showed nice movement on a counterattack to finish off a pass delivered by Jack Stacey.

After Norwich took a 5-0 lead in the 47th, Sargent was removed in the 52nd minute as part of a double substitution.

Sargent now has 12 goals on the season in just under 1200 Championship minutes. The injury that forced him out for nearly four months has not slowed his output, although he is still not at 100%. But Norwich now has a chance at promotion with Sargent back since he’s been their best player for three months. His scoring rate has been terrific.

We will see of Sargent is on the USMNT roster in March but Norwich is probably hoping that he remains in England as the team prepares for a critical promotional fight. Two weeks ago, David Wagner said Sargent is playing through discomfort and they were hoping he would rest in the international break. Gregg Berhalter can still call Sargent if he is healthy to play for Norwich, but  maybe the long-term approach to Sargent is to let him rest and give him a better shot at the Premier League.

On another note in this game is that Ken Aboh made his Norwich debut in this win when he came on in the 81st minute of a 5-0 rout. Aboah had been putting up phenomenal numbers for Norwich’s U-21 team this season. He has been with Norwich’s academy since 2016 and has an American father.

Unfortunately for Aboh, he was born in November 2004 and misses the cutoff for the current sU.S. U-20 team by less than two months.


Dest scores PSV winner


Sergino Dest got the start at left back on Friday for PSV and scored the winning goal in a 1-0 away victory over Go Ahead Eagles. The result continues PSV’s dream season where they are undefeated and remain alive in the Champions League. Dest and Malik Tillman have been a huge part of the team’s success, and both started in this win. Dest went the full 90 and Tillman was subbed out in the 66th. Ricardo Pepi came into the game in the 84th minute to replace Luuk de Jong.

Dest’s goal came in the 10th minute, and it made use of his right foot on the left side when he cut centrally and fired an unstoppable shot into the top corner. While he is good with his left foot, the quickness he was able to get the shot off combined with the power was special.

For the national team, Dest is locked in at right back, not left. Despite this goal, he is still much more dangerous on the right side against top competition and at the international level.

In this game, Tillman had three very good shots centrally in the box (in the 3rd minute, 15th minute, and 24th minute) but was denied by Go Ahead Eagles keeper Jeffrey de Lange each time. Tillman should have scored, but caught the keeper on a good day.

Pepi, meanwhile, missed a golden chance in the 87th minute when he sent a close shot over the bar with his right foot. Pepi has had a good season with his numbers, but his spot on the national team is being pushed by Josh Sargent and Brandon Vazquez who are scoring and are playing more important minutes with their respective clubs.


Adams makes Bournemouth bench


It was a small step forward for Tyler Adams who made the bench for Bournemouth on Saturday in an otherwise disappointing 2-2 draw at home with last-place Sheffield United. Adams played 30 minutes earlier in the week in a closed-door reserve team match for Bournemouth.

In this game, Bournemouth were chasing a result after falling behind 2-0 in the 64th minute and this left no time for an Adams cameo. The Bournemouth equalizer came at 90+1 and the point kept them in 13th place, safely in midtable.


Making the bench gives Berhalter grounds to call-up Adams for March as Bournemouth cannot claim injury. But the best interest for Adams might be to let him continue to get back closer to playing regularly for Bournemouth. That is where his form as a player will be dictated.

In this game, Auston Trusty went 90 minutes for last-place Sheffield United. He battled hard to defend but still completed just 3/8 passes in playing the whole game.


Wright has big day for Coventry


Haji Wright scored his 12th and 13th goals of the season on Saturday and this propelled Coventry to a 2-1 away win over Watford.

His first goal came in the 40th minute when Wright converted a penalty which was drawn by his teammate Josh Eccles. This equalized the game at 1-1. Then in the 72nd minute, Wright took a pass from Eccles and beat the keeper with a shot outside the box.

Wright is simply a handful in the Championship. In this game he had four shots, three on goal, and had seven touches in the Watford box. His dribbling and passing might hurt his chances at a higher level in the Premier League but his athleticism and his direct way of playing is great in the Championship.

Wright wasn’t playing on the wing in this game and was more centrally based but he did have a lot of touches in transition in the middle of the field and in his own half.

With the win, Coventry moved into eighth place and is just a point out of the playoffs. They are clearly in the mix of things and Wright is a big part of that.

The national team is a bit tricky for Wright. It’s doubtful Berhalter sees Wright as a winger because even when Wright plays as a winger, he is always looking to get into the middle.  But at striker (like he played in this game), he’s probably behind Flo Balogun, Ricardo Pepi, Josh Sargent, and maybe even Brandon Vazquez. The door is still open, however, because Balogun isn’t having a great season, Pepi doesn’t start a lot, and Sargent is playing through an injury. The solution for Wright is just to keep it up.

On another note, after the game on Saturday, Watford fired head coach Valérien Ismaël.


Pukstas scores in Hajduk Split win


Rokas Pukstas, 19, got back on the scoresheet on Saturday as Hajduk rolled to a comfortable 3-0 away win over sixth-place HNK Gorcia. Pukstas scored the team’s third goal just before halftime when a shot took a deflection and went straight up in the air. Pukstas managed to outjump the keeper for the ball in what was ultimately an error for the keeper.

Pukstas continues to be an effective player for Hajduk but he has room to develop more in the frequency he gets on the ball. He rarely seems to have a lot of touches. In this game he had 37 over 90 minutes playing as a midfielder. Once he gets on the ball more, he could be very good. He has a high ceiling but has room to grow.

Internationally, he seems like a likely candidate to be on the upcoming U.S. U-23 roster for March as the team prepares for the 2024 Olympics. It’s a tight race in the midfield to make the final roster and Pukstas will need to play well. If he makes it, he will become the second generation of his family to participate in the Olympics as his father ran the marathon for Lithuania at the 2004 Olympics in Greece.


Aaronson strong in bad Vitesse loss


The good news is that Paxten Aaronson, 20, might have been the best player on the field on Saturday when Vitesse travelled to face RKC Waalwijk in an matchup of two teams in a fierce relegation battle in the Eredivisie. It was a classic relegation “six-pointer.” Entering into the day, Vitesse was in the automatic relegation zone (second from the bottom) trailing Waalwijk by two points for the relegation playoff position. A win would have pulled Vitesse into the playoff for survival, a draw would have kept things the status quo. A loss would be disastrous.

The bad news is that this game was a disaster for Vitesse which dropped a 3-1 decision and is now five points deep in automatic relegation. Aaronson did his part, his teammates didn’t do theirs.

In the 56th minute, Aaronson scored to pull Vitesse even 1-1 and all of a sudden his team had the momentum.

But it didn’t last and Waalwijk scored in the 71st minute and then in stoppage time for the victory.

Aaronson’s numbers were great. He created five chances. He was 31/33 in passing (including 5/5 in long balls and 3/3 in accurate crossing) and had eight touches in the Waalwijk box.  The bottom line is that he gave Vitesse a great chance to compete and win this game.

Vitesse will probably get relegated, but Aaronson is showing himself well for next season. If Eintracht Frankfurt feels the need to send him on another loan, performances like this will give him better suitors.

Internationally, U.S. fans should hope that wherever Aaronson lands, he will be released for the Olympic team. After being denied a chance to play at the U-20 World Cup last year, the Olympics would be a great platform for him before he aims for a spot on the USMNT.


Zendejas remains hot for Club America


In Liga MX, Alejandro Zendejas continues to play very well for Club America and this will only help his case for a March USMNT call-up. The former FC Dallas product has been producing at an impressive rate.

Last week, Zendejas came off the bench against Atlas in the 71st minute with Club America up 2-1. He then added two goals and an assist in a 5-1 away win. Then midweek, he started and added an assist in a 3-0 win over Chivas in the CONCACAF Champions Cup.

On Saturday night, he started and had an assist (a generous assist, but still an assist) and another goal in a 2-0 win over Chivas at Azteca.

Club America and Monterrey right now are in a close race in Liga MX as two of Mexico’s biggest clubs are vying for the title.

Zendejas is in a good position for club and country. The U.S. team needs backup wingers and is form should put him in a good position for that role. Not many are in as good of form as he is.


A John Brooks rollercoaster


It was a wild outing for John Brooks on Sunday. The occassional USMNT central defender was in the starting lineup as Hoffenheim visited Eintracht Frankfurt (who had Timothy Chandler on the bench).

In the 6th minute, Brooks put Hoffenheim up 1-0 with a header off a corner delivered by Anton Stach.

But then in the 22nd minute, Brooks was sent off with a straight red for a DOGSO after a through-ball created a 1v1 with the keeper.

Following the red card to Brooks, Hoffenheim would unravel with Eintracht scoring in the 32nd, 50th, and 64th minutes. Hoffenheim was then reduced to nine players when Ozan Kabak was sent off in the 78th.

Chandler would then make a rare appearance when he was subbed on for Eintracht with a two goal cushion while up two men. Chandler will turn 34 this month and his career seems to be winding down. He forced a save in the 87th with a long shot.

With the win, Chandler and Eintracht strengthened their grip on sixth place with a seven point cushion on seventh place Hoffenheim. Pellegrino Matarazzo has to have his team play on another level to get into Europe next season.

As for Brooks, it was a maddeningly frustrating performance that showed both his talent, and his decision-making which can often let him down. Perhaps the injuries and poor form of the USMNT central defense pool will open the door for Brooks, but it still seems unlikely.


Germany: Tough weekend for most Yanks


It was not a good weekend for a number of Yanks in Germany as most were on the wrong end of results. 

It was a tough assignment for Brenden Aaronson, who came off the bench for Union Berlin on Friday in a 2-0 away loss to Stuttgart. Union was trailing 2-0 at the time the former Philadelphia Union homegrown entered the game in the 73rd minute and Union was also down to 10 men after Andras Schafer was sent off in the 69th. Aaronson was busy and had 25 touches in his 17 minutes. He was 2/3 in dribbles and was dispossessed three times. His best moment came on a long run with the ball where he beat defenders with a dribble and drew a foul for a dangerous free kick. Other than that, he tried, but there was little he could do as Union fell to 14th place with the 2-0 loss.

Lennard Maloney is out week to week with a knee ligament injury and he missed Heidenheim’s 1-0 loss to Augsburg on Saturday. This injury jeopardizes his chances of a March call-up for the Nations League. With the loss, Heidenheim dropped to 11th place but is still having a great season.

It was a really hard assignment for Kevin Paredes on Sunday who got the start at left wing for Wolfsburg in a 2-0 loss away at leaders Bayer Leverkusen. This was made even harder when Wolfsburg was reduced to 10 men in just the 28th minute after a second yellow to Moritz Jenz. Paredes and his teammates had to defend for long stretches and Paredes only finished with 46 touches and 14 completed passes. Wolfsburg fell to 13th place and is winless in 10 Bundesliga games.

On Friday in the 2.Bundesliga, Eintracht Braunschweig suffered an extremely costly 1-0 defeat at home to Hansa Rostock in what was a relegation “six pointer.” The loss sent Eintracht into the automatic relegation positions while Hansa Rostock moved ahead into the relegation playoff. U.S. U-23 forward Johan Gomez played the final 15 minutes for Eintracht and had one shot in stoppage time from the top of the box that was blocked.

Greuther Furth lost for the fifth time in six games on Sunday following a 4-1 loss at home to Elversberg. This tough skid has seen Furth move from the promotional playoffs down to seventh. Julian Green went the distance for Furth in his return from an injury. U.S. U-23 central defender Maximillian Dietz played 73 and left after Elversberg took a 2-1 lead. Furth was reduced to 10 players after Robert Wagner was sent off in the 49th minute.

2.Bundesliga leaders St. Pauli returned to winning ways on Sunday with a 2-0 win at home over Hertha BSC. Managed by American-born Fabian Hurzeler, St. Pauli have a five point lead on second place Holstien Kiel and a 10 point lead on automatic promotion overall.


England: Horvath earns big win

In the Premier League on Saturday, Fulham dropped a 2-1 away decision to Wolves as Fulham fell to 12th and Wolves moved to eighth. Tim Ream continued to sit on the bench as the team has succeeded in recent weeks without their longtime American stalwart in central defense. Antonee Robinson, however, played all 90 minutes for Fulham and had a “hockey assist” in stoppage time as Fulham cut the deficit in half. It was a good but not great performance from Robinson who moved up and down the sideline effectively, but his final ball wasn’t quite there. He still had 74 touches and five ball into the final third.

It was a disappointing day for Crystal Palace which conceded a late equalizer to relegation favorites Luton Town and had to settle for just one point in a 1-1 draw. Chris Richards played on the left side of a three-man backline and had seven clearances, 42/48 in passing, but overall was steady and unspectacular. He wasn’t seriously at fault for the late Luton Town equalizer as Palace remained in 14th place with the draw but safely eight points above the relegation zone. Richards is just in a much better place these days by playing regularly. It’s been a season of ups and downs (more ups than downs) which is what he has been needing just to learn.  

On Sunday, Brighton & Hove Albion defeated Nottingham Forest 1-0 with the only goal coming via an Andrew Omobamidele own goal in the 29th minute. It was a dreadfully boring game and there was very little to report from an American perspective. Gio Reyna missed the game for Forest due to a knock and Matt Turner watched his team lose from the bench. There isn’t much to say about this that hasn’t been said. This loan has been a mess for Reyna and it’s unclear how hurt he is with his “knock.” Will it keep him off the USMNT roster? Should Reyna even be on the USMNT roster? What is the state of his career as he heads to his third straight sub-1000-minute season? What can we expect of him as player this month, the rest of this season, or this summer at the Copa America?

The same thing with Turner. What is the long term plan to have him play again? Is he the USMNT No. 1 and/or how much longer will he hold that position? With both of these players there are many questions, few answers.

In the Championship on Saturday, Reggie Cannon was an unused substitute for Queens Park Rangers and he missed a terrible 2-0 loss at home to Middlesbrough. QPR is just a point clear of the relegation zone. Meanwhile, Matthew Hoppe continues to not make the matchday squad for 11th place Middlesbrough as he looks at another lost season.

Cardiff City won a thrilling 2-1 victory over Ipswich as they trailed 1-0 heading into stoppage time but scored at 90+5 and 90+10 to earn all three points. Ethan Horvath made three saves as the team continued to play well with him in net. He made a nice save on a curling shot early in the second half. He could have done better on the Ipswich Town goal in the 79th minute but has cut out the mistakes that he suffered in January. Cardiff moved into 10th place with the win and are five points out of the playoffs.

Stoke City picked up an important 2-1 away win over Preston North End on Saturday to move three points clear of the relegation zone in the Championship. Lynden Gooch went the distance for Stoke at left back and forced a save in the 56th minute while also winning 10/16 of his ground duels. It was an effective performance for the Santa Cruz native. Duane Holmes was an unused substitute for ninth-place Preston North End.

In third tier League One, Donovan Pines picked up a knock and missed Barnsley’s horrific performance in a 5-1 loss at home to Lincoln City. Barnsley still sit firth and are in the promotion mix, but this performance was not reflective of a side with higher ambitions. Alex Mighten played the final 33 minutes for Port Vale in a 2-1 loss to Shrewsbury Town. Port Vale is seven points deep in the League One relegation zone. It’s been a tough year for Mighten after his loan to Kortrijk did not work out in Belgium as that club still sits last.

In fourth tier League Two, Bradford City defeated Accrington Stanley 3-0 on the road. U.S. U-23 central defender Jonathan Tomkinson went the distance in the win that moved Bradford City into 12th place.


Italy: Venezia get big wing


In Serie B, Nicholas Gioacchini got his first extended run out with Como when he came on in the second half of a 2-1 loss to Cremonese, in a huge game in the promotional race. Como trailed 1-0 when Gioacchini, 23, came into the game. It was a tough assignment for the former St. Louis forward as Como was reduced to 10 players in the 10th minute. Gioacchini had only 12 touches in the game and was 5/8 in passing. Cremonese now sits second place and has a four point gap on Como for automatic promotion (first two places). Como sits very safe for a playoff position (spots 3-8).

On Sunday, Palermo kept up its push for promotion with a 1-0 away win over last-place Lecco on the banks of Lake Como. The win saw Palermo move into fifth place of Serie B but still seven points back of second for automatic promotion. As of now, it looks like the promotional playoffs are their best bet for promotion.

USMNT left back Kristoffer Lund went the distance for Palermo and was very good defensively as he won 2/3 of his tackles, had three interceptions, was 5/6 in ground duels, and 2/3 in aerials. He wasn't involved offensively, but he kept the cleansheet win on the road - which was most important.

Meanwhile, Lecco have just one point from their last 10 Serie B games and relegation to Serie C seems unavoidable now. Andrija Novakovich started and played 79 minutes in the loss. He is looking at likely making a move next year as he is too good for Serie C.

Venezia rebounded from a tough loss last weekend to defeat Bari 3-1 at home to keep up is promotional quest to return to Serie A. Gianluca Busio started and played 88 minutes while Tanner Tessmann went the distance. Tessmann played the No. 6 effectively and was on the ball a lot, connecting with 51/60 passes (including 7/9 long balls where the regularly switched the point of attack). He also took the team's corner kicks in this game and this resulted in two chances.

Busio was also good in this game, he wasn't on the ball as much as Tessmann given that he was playing an attacking role but he created two chances and won his share of turnovers to start counterattacks. Both Tessmann and Busio are expected to be with the U.S. Olympic team this March international window as they prepare for the Paris Games this summer.

With the win, Venezia moved up to third place (the top playoff position) and is only two points behind second-place Cremonese for the last automatic promotional position. Next up is a massive away game against fifth place Palermo who have Kristoffer Lund.


Belgium: Slonina's cleansheet boosts Eupen


In Belgium’s First Division on Friday, KV Mechelen defeated Westerlo 3-1 with Griffin Yow and Bryan Reynolds both starting in the loss. Yow had a total of seven shots over his 78 minutes although all of them were either blocked or missed the target. His best chances came early in the second half in the 55th (a header) and 57th minutes (a miss with his right foot) but he was unable to connect. He continues to be a very aggressive player who is always looking for the goal, although his combination with teammates isn’t quite there.

Bryan Reynolds had 84 touches over 90 minutes but wasn’t able to get forward much in what was a performance none on Westerlo will want to remember. Westerlo continue to hover in midtable in 11th place.

On Sunday, Genk defeated Standard Liege 1-0 to move into fifth in the First Division. Mark McKenzie went 90 minutes and helped preserve cleansheet in an otherwise quiet and easy performance. Marlon Fossey was still out injured for 11th place Standard.

For McKenzie, he is on the bubble of the USMNT but his recent form might have him in a good position with Carter-Vickers injured and Trusty in a tough spot with Sheffield United.

Of all the Americans in Belgium, the one who had the best day was Gaga Slonina who had five saves in a 1-0 win over St. Truiden. That cleansheet win moved Eupen into 12th place in the 14-team league and gave it a better standing in its relegation battle. Slonina should be on the U.S. Olympic team where he is a competition with Patrick Schulte for the starting job.

Meanwhile Kahveh Zahiroleslam went 76 minutes for St. Truiden in the loss. He still created a few chances in this game and could be a contender to be part of the U.S. U-23 camp this month in France. Zahiroleslam has never been with a U.S. youth national team but has had a strong first professional season. Still, making the U.S. Olympic team will be hard as he’d be behind Duncan McGuire and possibly an overage option at forward.


Netherlands: Several Yanks eye promotion


In the Eredivisie, Taylor Booth remained injured and missed Utrecht’s game on Saturday with Almere City. This likely rules him out of the U.S. U-23 March camp.

On Sunday, PEC Zwolle hosted last-place Volendam and the two sides played to a 1-1 draw. Zach Booth went 90 minutes for Volendam but didn’t offer much. Anthony Fontana returned to being an unused substitute for PEC Zwolle one week after a rare appearance off the bench.

In the Dutch second tier Eerste Divisie, U.S. U-23 winger Agustin Anello started and played 81 minutes for 11th place Cambuur in a 2-1 loss to De Graafschap. FC Dordrecht defeated Telstar 2-1 to move into fourth place. John Hilton went 90 minutes at left back in the win while former Orange County forward Korede Osundina (on loan from Feyenoord) played 63 minutes.


Spain: LDLT & Celta back into relegation fight


In LaLiga, Celta Vigo have tumbled right back into a relegation battle after a 4-0 loss away to leaders Real Madrid. Combined with the Cadiz win, Celta Vigo now sit in the last safe place of Spain’s top-flight but now have just a two point lead on Cadiz.

In this game, Luca de la Torre played all 90 minutes and was decent. Celta Vigo were in the game until the 79th minute when Real Madrid took a 2-0 lead to put it out or reach. It was a tough assignment for de la Torre and his best moments came just before halftime when he forced a save with a header off a corner and then second later, had a close shot blocked. But the gap between the teams was wide and de la Torre wasn’t on the ball much. He still completed 24/28 of his passes.

But a once five-point cushion that separated Celta from relegation is gone and now the games ahead will be critical, especially if Cadiz gains momentum form its impressive win over Atletico Madrid on Saturday.

On Sunday in LaLiga, Real Betis dropped a 3-2 decision at home to Villarreal. In a somewhat surprising move, Johnny Cardoso was on the bench for Betis despite having had an exceptional run over the past month. He came into the game in the 78th minute with the score 3-2 and both teams having been reduced to 10-men starting in the 70th. He was very busy in his 12 minute shift with 26 touches and a good chance created. But he could not help his team get a result. But he should still be expected to start most of Betis’s games with the way he has been playing.

In Spain’s Segunda, Jonathan Gomez went 90 minutes for Mirandes as the defeated Club Deportivo Eldense 3-1. It was a good rebound performance for Gomez who had a tough outing last week where he gave up a penalty. Mirandes moved into 16th with the win over the league’s 11th-place team. The win snapped a four-game losing streak.

Eibar fell out of the automatic promotional places in the Segunda after dropping a 1-0 decision at home to Burgos CF. Konrad de la Fuente made an increasingly rare appearance off the bench when he was subbed into the game in the 83rd minute immediately after Burgos scored via an own goal. Eibar now sits third and is in the top promotional playoff position, one point out of automatic promotion.


France: Sabbi & Balogun held scoreless in wins

On Sunday, Le Havre picked up a crucial win to end a skid of five straight losses which put it on the cusp of falling into the relegation zone. But the big 1-0 win over Toulouse but it two points clear of the relegation playoff. Emmanuel Sabbi had been starting most of the Le Havre games since December but was on the bench for this one.

In this game, Sabbi came off the bench in the 65th minute shortly after Le Havre took a 1-0 lead. Sabbi did nothing on the offensive end (he was 0/2 in passing with 6 touches) but played a defensive role to see out the win. He has frequently been praised for his defensive abilities this season and it was important for him and the team to see out the win.

In a similar note, Folarin Balogun was also part of a 1-0 win as his Monaco team posted a narrow away victory over Strasbourg. Musah was not on the scoresheet but he was dangerous at times. He only completed five passes (5/11 total), but one of them created a dangerous chance in the first half. He also had five shots. He drew three fouls and had 12 touches inside the Strasbourg box that was reflective of his danger. He only had 27 touches but many of them were active in the attack.

He needs to be more clinical and that is a concern. But his very direct style and his aggressiveness combined with his speed and athleticism will always help him create a number of chances.


Yanks Elsewhere


In Liga MX, Cade Cowell couldn’t get much going for Chivas in a 2-1 loss at home to Leon. Cowell played 74 minutes in the loss and left with his team down 1-0. In a huge reversal of fortunes, he was booed after coming off the field one week after he was cheered upon his arrival at the stadium. Chivas has now lost three straight in all competitions.

In Liga MX on Sunday, it was a wild game as Pumas and Club Tijuana played to a 3-3 draw. Joe Corona started for Tijuana and drew a penalty and a red card in the 23rd minute. But he also picked up an injury and played through the rest of the half before being replaced at halftime. All three of Tijuana’s goals were scored by penalties. Tijuana sits 16th in the 18-team league with just seven points from 11 games.  

On Sunday night in Mexico, Monterrey defeated Mazatlan 2-1 with Brandon Vazquez just playing the first half as they prepare for the CONCACAF Champions Cup midweek. Ventura Alvarado played the whole game in central defense for Mazatlan in what was a performance to forget.

In the Scottish Cup, Aberdeen defeated Kilmarnock 3-1 to move to the semifinal. Despite the win, American midfielder and former Georgetown Hoya Dante Polvara was an unused substitute for Aberdeen.

In another quarterfinal, Celtic got past Livingston 4-2 but both teams had an injured American. Cameron Carter-Vickers missed out for Celtic and Scott Pittman didn’t play for Livingston. Carter-Vickers will not be a close call if he is named to the Nations League roster.

Celtic boss Brendan Rogers said that the decision to leave CCV off the squad was mostly precautionary.

In Hungary’s NB I, Ferencvaros remained in the hunt for the title with a 2-0 away win over Fehervar. That win put Ferencvaros one point into first place with second-place Paksi still yet to play. Henry Wingo continued to play central defense for Ferencvaros and he played all 90 minutes in Sunday’s win.

In Austria, George Bello was subbed into the game in the 30th minute for LASK but the former Atlanta United homegrown couldn’t stop a 1-0 loss at home to leaders Red Bull Salzburg. LASK remained in third place in the Austrian Bundesliga despite the loss. Sebastian Soto missed Austria Klagenfurt’s matchup with Rapid Wien on Sunday.

In the Danish Superliga, Jonathan Amon played the last 31 minutes for Lyngby in a 4-0 away loss to leaders Copenhagen. The South Carolina native came into the game with his team down 3-0. Lyngby now sit 10th in the 12-team league.

In Poland’s top tier, recent Phoenix rising midfielder Danny Trejo was forced out of last week’s game for Korona Kielce with an injury. As a result, he missed Saturday’s 1-1 draw Cracovia that pulled Korona Kielce out of the relegation zone by a point.

In Portugal, Alex Mendez did not feature for Vizela which picked up a rare win over Farense. Vizela moved out of last-place but is still in the relegation zone. Benji Michel was not in the squad for Arouca as they hosted Sporting CP on Sunday.  

In the Greek Super League championship playoff, Caleb Stanko started and played 73 minutes for Lamia who were pounded at home 4-0 by first place AEK Athens. Stanko played the No. 6 defensive midfield position and left with his team down 2-0.

In the Swiss Super League, FC Stade Lausanne-Ouchy picked up a very rare win on Sunday with a 2-1 victory over Luzern. American left back Lucas Pos started for Stade Lausanne-Ouchy but was replaced at halftime with the score 0-0. Despite the win over 7th place Luzern, Stade Lausanne-Ouchy remains 10 points deep in last place.

In Uruguay’s Primera, Matias Fracchia went 90 minutes in central defense for Danubio in a 2-1 away win over River Plate. Danubio have seven points from four games.

In Argentina, Alan Sonora was an unused substitute for CA Huracan in a 1-1 draw with Argentinos Juniors. Matko Miljevic was also unused for Newell’s Old Boys in a 1-1 away draw with Godoy Cruz.

Post a comment