Americans Abroad

Tessmann & Yow continues rise, questions for PSV Yanks, tough in Germany, & More

ASN's Brian Sciaretta takes you through the weekend for Americans abroad, including detailed thoughts on Tessmann, Pukstas, McKenzie, the PSV trio, Paxten Aaronson, and more. 
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
April 16, 2024
10:00 AM

THE WEEKEND FOR AMERICANS abroad was again another quiet one. As always, there were some exceptions, such as Tanner Tessmann, who was the best American player of the weekend in Europe or Gio Reyna, who made his first start for Nottingham Forest. Aside from that, there weren’t too many significant positive stories to break down.

Unfortunately, there were many cases of high profile American players missing games either due to injury, squad rotation, or flat out not being selected.

For example, the latest injury to Chris Richards saw him miss Crystal Palace’s stunning win over Liverpool at Anfield. Tyler Adams was still out with back spasms. Luca de la Torre couldn’t suit up for Celta Vigo. The same for Ricardo Pepi at PSV or Taylor Booth at Utrecht. Joe Scally was unused for M’Gladbach. Jordan Pefok was injured after a 10-minute shift for M’Gladbach. Kevin Paredes didn’t get off the bench for Wolfsburg. Tim Weah was unused for Juventus. Christian Pulisic was given a bit of a rest and only came off the bench for AC Milan. Tim Ream didn’t suit up for Fulham. John Brooks only saw minutes off the bench for Hoffenheim.

All of this doesn’t lay the foundations for a good weekend.

But there was good, there was bad, and there was plenty to cover.

So, let’s get into it.


Tessman’s big time brace for Venezia


In the middle of a promotion hunt, teams need big performances from top players. On Saturday, Tanner Tessmann delivered for Venezia in a 2-0 win over Brescia. The U.S. U-23 center mid scored two goals in a 2-0 win over Brescia.

But it wasn’t just the goals, Tessmann was good in every aspect of the game including passing from distance, defense, and ball-winning.

Meanwhile, Gianluca Busio was also strong for 86 minutes before leaving with Venezia up 1-0.

This win kept Venezia in third place in Serie B. To climb into the top two, they’re going to need Como to lose and that’s a tough ask given that Como has won four games in a row. Both teams have five games left. Como has a three point edge but Venezia has a big edge in goal differential.

As for Busio and Tessmann, it’s been a great season. Especially for Tessmann who very much looks like a player who will be in a top league next year. He’s physical, technical, and smart. Tessmann looks like a guy who will move on from Venezia, even if they’re promoted. Busio is also probably on his way up.

Both players will be on the Olympic team, but Tessmann looks like a candidate to be the captain.


Reyna makes first Forest start


Gio Reyna made his first start for Nottingham Forest on Saturday in a 2-2 draw with Wolves. The USMNT midfielder played 71 minutes and his best moment came in first half stoppage time when his corner kick turned out to be an assist for an equalizer.

It was a big stage for Reyna to get a start – a tough but winnable game in the middle of a relegation battle where Forest is only safe on goal differential over Luton Town. This result moves them a point ahead.

But Reyna had some nice moments in this game. He helped advance the attack and looked for the dangerous pass. He was clearly a good player to turn possession into chances. Was it enough to give him more starts? Who knows at this point? But this season is about him playing and getting back into a rhythm. It’s highly unlikely he will return to Forest after this.

Meanwhile, Matt Turner has a different set of problems that might not be fixable this offseason. The USMNT goalkeeper watched from the bench, again.


Tillman leads PSV past Vitesse


It was always likely for this to be an ugly game. A PSV team coasting to the Eredivisie title with Vitesse set it last place. With that said, it was not unexpected to see PSV demolish Vitesse 6-0.

Malik Tillman started and played 62 minutes. He scored PSV’s second goal and now has seven goals and nine assists for the season. It’s been a very productive year for Tillman and it will end in the title.

As for next year, PSV has tough decisions to make. Bayern Munich remains his parent club and PSV’s buyout will likely be expensive.

That then applies to Sergino Dest, who is also having a great season for PSV on loan from Barcelona. He was strong again in the win over Vitesse. But can PSV buy Tillman? Can they buy Dest? Can they buy both? That becomes a huge purchase for PSV.

As for Ricardo Pepi, he continues to be out with a knock. He is another player who is trying to prove he is ready to shoulder more responsibility next season. He’s done well with his limited minutes.

Finally, Paxten Aaronson went 90 minutes for Vitesse. He has actually played as well as possible for such a bad team. Vitesse is in horrible shape, but Aaronson continues to create opportunities for them. He will be in good shape next year, whether back at Eintracht or on another loan.


McKenzie & Genk draw Cercle


Mark McKenzie and Genk played Cercle Brugge to a 1-1 draw to cap a nice start to the Championship round of the Belgian first division. With the top six teams in the playoffs, Genk has earned a total of seven points from nine games.

McKenzie has been a part of that, and he had yet another good game in the draw with Cercle Brugge. He was passing well, he was defending well, and he is on the upswing as the USMNT heads toward the Copa (he also could be on the list for the Olympics as an overage player). He is also about ready to enter into a transfer window where he is likely on the move.

The only thing that didn’t go right on this day was in stoppage time when he had a header off a set piece that could have won it, but instead McKenzie’s effort was saved.


Bello assists in LASK upset win


In one of the more unexpected upsets, LASK completely outplayed Salzburg in a 3-1 upset win. After the game, Gerhard Struber was sacked as Salzburg’s manager – less than a year after he was sacked by the New York Red Bulls.

What was noteworthy about this game was that George Bello went the distance and assisted on the third LASK goal. The U.S. U-23 eligible and former Atlanta United left back also started the play when he forced a turnover.

Bello fell off the radar for many American fans after a tough stint at Arminia Bielefeld where the club was relegated back-to-back seasons. But Bello is still working hard in the Austrian Bundesliga and is quietly doing well. He may not make the Olympic team or return to the USMNT, but he might have a chance eventually. For now, he’s on a more blue-collar route with his career and it is serving him well.


Yanks in England


In a London Derby, Fulham pulled off a big 2-0 away win over West Ham to end a three-game rough patch. Antonee Robinson was once again on his game and the USMNT left back put in a strong shift on both sides of the ball. With five games remaining, Fulham is in the safe zone where they are not in contention for promotion or are not threatened with relegation. On another note, Tim Ream was not in the matchday squad and his role at Fulham has been decreasing sharply in 2024.

Auston Trusty went the full 90 for Sheffield United in a 2-0 loss to Brentford. The loss puts the club one more step closer towards sealing relegation. The club is 11 points deep with six games remaining. Despite its -54 goal differential on the season, Sheffield United have been playing better and are preparing for life in the Championship. It wasn’t a good game for Trusty who struggled in his duels, passing from distance, and in his ball-winning.

Elsewhere in the Championship, Tyler Adams hit a bump in the road in his comeback and has now missed two weeks due to back spasms. He will hope to build momentum for this summer’s Copa America in the final five games but he needs to get on the field and show durability.

It remains to be seen if Chris Richards will hold his starting job after Crystal Palace’s stunning 1-0 win at Anfield. It’s been a good season for him to get on the field, but this was not a good game to miss. The USMNT central defender is working his way back from an injury that was expected to keep him out 2-3 weeks.

In the Championship, the big winner among the Americans in the league was Josh Sargent who didn’t score for Norwich, but was still effective in helping his team come up with a big 1-0 away win over Preston North End. PNE was one of four teams chasing Norwich and this result strengthened Norwich’s hold on sixth place – the final playoff position. Duane Holmes started for Preston North End but couldn’t create or do much in his 81 minutes.

A very good season for Haji Wright will likely not result in a playoff berth for Coventry after an ugly 3-0 loss away to a desperate Birmingham City team that climbed out of the relegation zone with the win. Wright has 15 Championship goals for Coventry and has been an important player, but unless he is sold this summer, he will remain in the Championship as the club has lost three of its last four to end any realistic hope of promotion. Against Birmingham City, Wright was held in check.

Reggie Cannon hasn’t played much in recent months, but he played the second half of QPR’s 3-0 loss to a Hull City team that is trying to make a late push to make the playoffs. They sit seventh, six points behind Norwich (Hull has four games remaining while Norwich has three). QPR is three points clear of relegation with three to play. Cannon is on a new deal and is being paid well, so moving out of QPR will be tough. He just needs to put his head down and find a way to play.

Cardiff City are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs and they’re safe from relegation. It is just about preparing for next season. Saturday’s 3-1 loss away to Millwall was just a step in that preparation. Ethan Horvath struggled on the first Millwall goal where he was beaten on the near post. If Cardiff wants to contend for the playoffs next season, Horvath will need to play well. The good news is that he is in the team’s plans.

Meanwhile, Lynden Gooch remained out with a knock and did not play in Stoke City’s 1-1 away draw with Sheffield Wednesday. Stoke is only three points clear of the relegation zone with three games to play.


Yanks in Italy


In the Derby della Mole, Juventus visited Torino and played to a boring 0-0 draw. Weston McKennie didn’t do much in his 90 minutes of action. That was better than Tim Weah, who did not get off the bench. While Weah had a nice run in the middle of the season, he has fallen outside Max Allegri’s plans at the moment. Weah is still in search of his first 2000-minute season.

Milan travelled to face Sassuolo, who are in the relegation zone, and played to a disappointing 3-3 draw. There was some squad rotation after the club’s midweek loss to Roma in the Europa League. Christian Pulisic came off the bench in the 65th minute while Yunus Musah started and lasted only 55 minutes.


The good news is that Pulisic was dangerous and active off the bench. He helped Milan in its comeback to earn a point. Musah, on the other hand, had a tough game is ending his season with more concerns. The year started off well after he adjusted to life in Serie A, but his minutes have declined and the same concerns from his Valencia days linger. Where is the final ball? He’s good on the ball, but can be sloppy and give the ball away too much.

I get the feeling that if Musah doesn’t turn things around next season, it could be a bad situation. There will be questions whether he is improving from the days when he was 18 in La Liga.

In Serie B, Como defeated Bari 2-1 maintained its three-point lead on second place, the last spot for automatic promotion. Nicholas Gioacchini played the last 13 minutes for Como and came on with the score 2-0. It remains to be seen what his role with the club will be if they’re promoted. Has he done enough to keep a spot off the bench or will Como look for another forward. If he can get a goal or an assist down the stretch, it will help.

Palermo will be in the promotional playoffs for Serie B, but the team has a horrible habit of blowing leads and squandering points. This was the case again on Saturday in a 1-1 away draw at Cosenza. The good news is that USMNT left back Kristoffer Lund assisted Palermo’s goal just before halftime.

On the play, Lund showed off his deceptive speed to move past his defenders and send in a perfect cross that was converted by Alessio Butttaro.

Unfortunately for Palermo, they squandered a lead and played to a 1-1 draw. They’re 13 points off automatic promotion and eight points safe of the playoff line. Now it’s just preparing for the playoffs. Lund has been playing well as of late. He surpassed the 2000 minute threshold this season in this game and he has two goals and three assists.

Finally in Serie B, Lecco posted a rare win when they defeated Reggiana 1-0 on Saturday. Andrija Novakovich played 82 minutes in the win. Despite the win, Lecco sit last and are nine points away from the relegation playoff.


Yanks in Germany


It was generally a terrible weekend for Americans in the Bundesliga as many of the familiar names didn’t play, were injured, or only saw limited minutes.

In the Bundesliga, we have a new champion after Bayern Munich was dethroned after a decade. Bayer Leverkusen sealed the title with a 5-0 win over Werder Bremen. American teenage forward Joel Imasuen was an unused sub for Werder Bremen, and he is looking for his second appearance after making his Bundesliga debut two weeks ago in a cameo.

Timothy Chandler was an unused sub for Eintracht Frankfurt in a 3-0 loss away to Stuttgart. Kevin Paredes hasn’t been particularly sharp since his return from the international window in March and he did not get off the bench for Wolfsburg in a 3-0 loss to Leipzig.

Paredes faces an interesting summer. It wouldn’t be surprising if the possibility of a loan is explored unless he gets hot down the stretch this season. Wolfsburg is only two points clear of the relegation zone. It’s going to be very interesting as their five remaining games include three games against teams in the relegation battle: Bochum, Mainz, and Darmstadt.

Bayern Munich defeated Cologne 2-0 on a bittersweet day where they lost their title. German-American forward Damion Downs, 19, went the last 14 minutes for Cologne but didn’t do anything noteworthy. Cologne is four points deep into automatic promotion and things are looking grim. For Downs, however, the 2.Bundesliga would offer a more realistic opportunity to play.

Borussia Monchengladbach lackluster season is nearly over and in its most recent game, the club lost at home to Borussia Dortmund 2-1. This was a terrible game for the club’s two American players. Jordan Pefok subbed into the game in the 75th minute but left after 10 minutes with an injury. It doesn’t seem likely that Monchengladbach will be exercising the option to buy him on the loan from Union Berlin. This will send Pefok into an uncertain offseason.

Meanwhile, Joe Scally did not get off the bench for Monchengladbach and there are some troubling signs about the club’s plans for him and his future there. It’s early, but this offseason could present questions for the Long Island native.

Hoffenheim have lost four of five following an ugly 4-1 defeat to relegation battling Mainz. American manager Pellegrino Matarazzo has seen his club fall to ninth. Also in this game, John Brooks played the last 30 minutes and entered with the score 2-0.

Among those Americans that started and played, Brenden Aaronson had a decent outing despite Union Berlin’s 2-0 defeat to Augsburg. The New Jersey native was active and dangerous. It didn’t always work out for him, but he was among his team’s better players. The big question is what happens with him and Leeds? That is a tough question to answer at this point as Leeds is aiming for promotion.

Lennard Maloney went 90 minutes for Heidenheim in a 1-1 draw with relegation battling Bochum. It was a typically strong defensive performance from Maloney who didn’t do much getting the ball forward but helped limit Bochum’s chances.

In the 2.Bundesliga, Fabian Hurzeler and St. Pauli fell out of first place following a 4-3 loss at home to Elversberg. It’s a second loss in a row and St. Pauli now only has a five point lead on automatic promotion. Five games remain for Hurzeler and company.

U.S. Olympic team defender Maximillian Dietz went 90 minutes for Greuther Furth in a 2-1 win over Kaiserslautern to snap a five-game winless skid (a run that ended their promotion hopes). Dietz enjoyed a strong performance in his push to make the roster for Paris. Meanwhile, Julian Green was out injured for Furth.

Eintracht Braunschweig remains in the safe positions, but only by goal differential, following a 0-0 draw with Hannover. U.S. U-23 forward Johan Gomez went 74 minutes in the draw.


Yanks in Spain


Real Betis defeated Celta Vigo 2-1 on Friday. Luca de la Torre appeared as if he would return from injury for this game but ultimately did not make the bench for Celta Vigo. Meanwhile, Johnny Cardoso went 90 minutes for Real Betis and put in a very strong shift in the win.

Playing in central midfield, Cardoso had 64 touches, was 47/50 in passing, won 5/7 of his ground duels, and drew three fouls. He also had four interceptions.

Cardoso is setting himself up for a big summer where he could have a real role with the U.S. national team as it remains unclear how much Tyler Adams will be able to play. For Real Betis, it is also an exciting time heading into next year after he will have a full preseason with the team. He should be expected to be a big part of the team’s future.

This game snapped a four game skid for Betis, who are in eighth place and are five points out of Europe.

Meanwhile, Celta Vigo can’t find a way to get completely clear of the relegation zone. They are only three points clear with seven games remaining.

In the Segunda, Jonathan Gomez had one of his better shifts in weeks for Mirandes in a 1-1 away draw with Real Oviedo. The U.S. U-23 hopeful played 78 minutes, but his club is just one point out of the relegation zone. It will be tight for Gomez and company.

Eibar moved back into the automatic promotion positions following a 2-0 away win over FC Andorra. The bad news is that Konrad de la Fuente was again not in the squad for Eibar, two weeks after scoring a brace off the bench.


Yanks in Belgium


Gaga Slonina and Eupen suffered a terrible loss that put them into the relegation positions following a 3-1 loss away to Molenbeek. The U.S. Olympic goalkeeper made two saves, including a penalty (where the rebound was scored) but could not prevent the loss. He’s going to need to have a big month ahead to help his club survive. It seems unlikely he will return after his loan from Chelsea is complete.

Westerlo dropped a 3-2 decision to KV Mechelen on Saturday. For Westerlo, there is nothing at stake the remainder of the season but for the club’s two Americans, both are trying to build momentum heading into the Olympics. This game was particularly disappointing as Westerlo squandered a 2-0 lead.

Griffin Yow went 61 minutes for Westerlo and is surging into the Olympics. Not many gave him a chance to make the team, but he has surged since returning from injury in November. He has six goals and five assists in 1600 league minutes.

He assisted on Westerlo’s second goal.

Meanwhile, Bryan Reynolds went 90 minutes for Westerlo in the loss. At this moment, it seems unlikely Reynolds will return to Westerlo given his hefty salary. Meanwhile, there should be a lot of demand for Yow right now. Westerlo will probably not be able to say no to high offers.

St. Truiden played Standard Liege to a 3-3 draw on Friday. U.S. Olympic eligible forward Kahveh Zahiroleslam played 83 minutes in the draw while Marlon Fossey was out with an injury. The former Yale Bulldog struggled to get involved for the hosts, who are only three points out of the Conference League playoff position.


Yanks in the Netherlands


In the Eredivisie, there wasn’t much going on.

Zach Booth went 90 minutes for relegation sitting Volendam in horrible 4-0 loss to Excelsior. Booth, 19, has been in a place where he hasn’t done well, but it might be impossible to do well. The problem is that he probably needs another loan from Leicester. But has Volendam given him the stage to set himself up for something better?

Meanwhile his older brother, Taylor Booth, continues to be out for Utrecht and he missed his team’s 2-1 win over Go Ahead Eagles. He needs to get back soon to earn a spot on the Olympic team.

Finally in the Eredivisie, Anthony Fontana made another late cameo for PEC Zwolle, coming on in the 88th minute in a 2-2 away draw with NEC Nijmegen.

In the second tier Eerste Divisie, FC Dordrecht is in a realistic hunt for promotion following a 4-1 away win over NAC Breda. Left back John Hilton, 22, played 80 minutes and forward Korede Osundina, 20, (on loan from Feyenoord) came on in the 63rd minute and scored a goal two minutes later.

Justin Che did not play for ADO den Haag in a 1-0 loss to Helmond Sport. The same could be said for injured Agustin Anello for Cambuur in a 2-1 loss to Ajax II on Monday. Meanwhile, Den Bosch defeated Utrecht II 2-0 on Monday. Gedion Zelalem went 90 minutes for Den Bosch while Rickson Van Hees went 86 minutes at right back in the loss.


Yanks in France


Folarin Balogun and Monaco had the week off.

Meanwhile, Emmanuel Sabbi started and went 88 minutes for Le Havre in a 1-0 loss at home to Nantes. Sabbi didn’t generate much offensively in the loss.

It’s getting tight for Le Havre who are only two points ahead of the relegation playoff position (currently Lorient), but have played one more game than Lorient. Le Havre have just five games left.


Yanks in Mexico


It was a statement win for Alejandro Zendejas and Club America who earned a 5-1 win over Toluca. There was a lot of hype surrounding this game as it was the top two teams in the league. But this game was noncompetitive and Club America showed that it is the team to beat right now in Mexico. It is hard for anyone to say they are not the best team in North America, and maybe the best team outside of Europe.

Zendejas 90 minutes in the win, and played well. He had a shot saved in the 28th minute on a counterattack. Performances like these well really boost his resume to be part of the Copa America team. He has yet to have breakout performance with the national team, but being a part of a Club America team like this will keep his name in the mix.

Elsewhere in Liga MX, Cade Cowell played the last 11 minutes for Chivas in a 1-0 away win over Pachuca. Fernando Arce Jr. went 90 minutes for Necaxa in a 2-0 win over Santos Laguna.

Brandon Vazquez started and played 70 minutes for Monterrey in a 3-3 draw with Tigres. Vasquez is another player who is looking to get on the inside of the national team picture. Although part of me wonders if taking an overage spot on the Olympic team might also help him get to where he wants to be.


Yanks Elsewhere


There have been a lot of reports recently about Rokas Pukstas, 19, and that he wants to leave Hajduk Split in the summer. This should be of no surprise. Now that he is in his second season as a starter for the powerful Croatian club, it was always going to be time for him to look to make a move. Young players tend to want to move on from the HNL had around this stage. There are reports that big clubs are after him, and that interest is high. That might be true, and you can see that it might be weighing on Pukstas because he is not ending his season on a strong note.

This was the case again on Saturday when Hajduk Split fell to Osijek 2-1 at home. It was the club’s fourth loss in a row and at this point, they are no longer in the title race. They are simply hoping to remain in contention for Europe.

Pukstas is indeed a very good prospect. But he also needs to improve several areas of his game. If a big club is indeed interested in him and makes a move, there might have to be a lone next season to ensure that he plays regularly.

Another big question for Pukstas is on the international side. We know Gregg Berhalter tried to call him up in January, but Hajduk blocked it. There is also the Olympic team, but Pukstas is yet to get involved with that team. And it is getting very late in the cycle before the Olympics for him to take part. He needs to start playing better to make a late push. As for the Copa America, that might be too soon.

In the Danish Superliga, Jonathan Amon made a rare start for Lyngby in a 1-1 draw with Hvidovre.

In Finland’s top tier, Justin Rennicks scored a third minute goal for AC Oulu in a 3-3 draw away at Inter Turku. The former U.S. U-20 World Cup forward played 63 minutes.

In the Irish Premier Division, it was a great four days for former U.S. U-20 World Cup central defender Aboubacar Keita and Bohemians. Keita, 24, started on Friday in a 2-1 away win over league leading Shelbourne and then on Monday started in a 1-0 win over Dundalk.

In Scotland, Celtic defeated St. Mirren 3-0 with Cameron Carter-Vickers going a full 90 for Celtic in the win. Carter-Vickers was solid but not tested much against the overmatched opponent. But on Sunday, Rangers were shocked 3-2 by Ross County and it put Celtic back into control of the Premiership race.

Also in Scotland, Dante Polvara played the last 17 minutes for Aberdeen in a 0-0 draw with Dundee FC. Scott Pittman went 90 minutes for last-place Livingston in a 4-2 loss away Hearts.

In the Greek Super League, Caleb Stanko went the last 90 minutes for Lamia in a 3-1 loss to Panathinaikos.

In the Austrian Bundesliga, Sebastian Soto remains out injured for Austria Klagenfurt and missed a 1-1 away draw with Rapid Vienna.

In Norway, Sam Rogers was unused for HamKam in a 1-0 loss against his former club Rosenborg. In the second tier, Bob Bradley’s Stabaek are off to a strong start to the season with a 3-1 away win over Vaalerenga. Thomas Roberts assisted in the win.

In Hungary, Henry Wingo was out for Ferencvaros in a 3-2 away in over Zalaegerszeg.

Alan Sonora played the last seven minutes for Huracan in a 4-0 win over Atletico Tucuman. Joel Sonora was an unused substitute for Independiente Rivadavia in a 1-0 loss to his former club Valez Sarsfield.

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